Choosing a Senior Horse Feed
Many senior horses tend to put on weight over the summer when easy-to-chew grass is readily available; they then lose weight once the grass stops growing. This is fine—it generally won’t harm your horse’s overall health—but we have some suggestions to ensure your older horse gets the nutrition he needs year-round.
Senior Horse Feed Nutrition
As a horse gets older, he produces less of the stomach acid needed to digest protein. Therefore, his forage intake should be supplemented with a feed with increased protein content. This gives the horse a better chance of absorbing enough protein to fuel his needs. The best feeds for older horses tend to be made with around 14% protein.
Older horses also have a harder time absorbing essential vitamins and minerals. This is due to age-related deterioration of the intestinal lining. To compensate, make sure to choose a nutrient-dense equine senior feed.
Older horses still need plenty of fiber. While grass is easy to chew, many other fiber sources (like hay) prove to be a challenge. When choosing a senior horse feed, look for one that includes a higher percentage of fiber—at least 12%. This fiber should come from easily digestible sources, like beet pulp and soy hulls.
To help maintain body condition, choose an equine senior feed with at least 4-6% fat. Ingredients to look for include plant-based oils.
As important as the nutrients in an equine senior feed are, they won’t do anything to benefit the horse unless he actually eats it. Therefore, feeds for older horses need to be extremely palatable.
Senior Horse Feeds from Hallway Feeds
At Hallway Feeds, we recognize that a senior horse has specific nutritional needs. We often recommend either Distinguished or Fibrenergy; both are nutritionally sound, extremely palatable feeds that benefit older horses.
Distinguished is one of our newer feeds, and it was created especially with the needs of senior horses in mind. This formula is made with 19% fiber, which comes from beet pulp, soy hulls, and premium chopped hay. We blend that fiber with high-quality oil to give the horse a slow energy release and a significant boost in calories. In addition, we’ve fortified it with Stamm 30, to ensure enough key nutrients, added aspergillus oryzae for increased feed efficiency, and boosted the vitamin C levels for its antioxidant and rejuvenating properties.
Another Hallway Feeds option for older horses is Fibrenergy. We created this formula with 20% fiber, which comes from ingredients like beet pulp, soy hulls, and the highest quality chopped timothy and alfalfa hay. Like Distinguished, it’s fortified with Stamm 30 for enhanced vitamin and mineral supplementation. The fat level on Fibrenergy is 12%, which really helps keep the body condition at an ideal level and the coat with just the right glow.
For Senior Horses Who Have Trouble Chewing
No matter how palatable a feed is, a senior horse may not be able to eat it. By the time a horse reaches his golden years, he could be suffering from tooth loss and/or a worn-down biting surface. This can mean he isn’t able to chew his food properly, and it may be time to consider supplementing his diet with a mash.
Hallway Feeds recently introduced HandiMash. Although we didn’t create it specifically for senior horses, it’s an easy-to-consume formula that can help boost nutrition. HandiMash is a very palatable mash that entices horses to consume and rehydrate, and an easy means of medicating if necessary. We recommend using it to supplement nutrition, not as a feed replacement.
What’s the Right Feed for Your Senior Horse?
All horses have individual needs, and we’re always happy to discuss which equine senior feed is best suited to your horse. Just give us a call at 859-255-7602, and we’ll help you out!