Are you questioning if your horse has reached that Senior stage in life?
Not sure of the signs or conditions that classify a horse as Senior?
Then read on for some tell-tale tips on spotting a Senior horse!
One question I am frequently asked by horse owners is “when should I switch my older horse to senior feed?”
It is interesting to note that 30-35% of the current horse populations in the US are “Seniors”. Surveys show 54% of all horse owners own at least 1 “senior” horse. By age definition “senior” horse has been defined as 15+ years of age.
Due to improvements in veterinary care and nutrition, horse routinely live 25-30 years of age, some into their 40’s. It is not uncommon to see horses in late teens and twenties performing at high levels. The key is that we need to treat horses as individuals. So when is a “senior” feed required?
WHEN YOUR HORSE CAN NO LONGER MAINTAIN GOOD BODY CONDITION ON A NORMAL HAY AND GRAIN DIET.
Signs that your senior horse may need a senior diet include:
As the horse ages, nutrient absorption and utilization decrease due to breakdown of the digestive system with age. Research has shown that senior horses experience poor nutrient absorption, which occurs particularly with phosphorus, vitamins and protein. Enzyme production may also decrease.
When we look at a senior diet there are some key points to consider. You want to choose a feed that is:
Below are the results of a recent feed trial. Cleo is an 18 year old Quarter Horse mare. We changed the diet from a maintenance level feed to senior feed. The results after 6 weeks were impressive!