Ever wondered if your horse’s diet is doing enough to support him through his senior years? Dodson & Horrell’s Head of Nutrition, Dr Courtney Miller, is on hand to set your mind at ease
Much like in people, age in horses is just a number. Many horses compete into their late teens or even twenties, but it’s up to us to ensure they continue to be fuelled by the best nutrition possible. With that in mind, here are a few key questions to get you on the right track, plus some product solutions to guide you.
What is your horse’s current body condition?
Excess condition can put unwanted strain on your horse’s joints, meanwhile loss of condition can take longer to overcome than in younger years. Balancers like Dodson & Horrell’s Senior Support Balancer are excellent options for good-doers, and Sixteen Plus Mix and Cubes can offer much-needed support for those who are still in regular work. These products contain a host of supplements targeted for the mature horse, including holistic herbs like turmeric, and scientific support supplements like glucosamine and Actisaf yeast.
How are his teeth?
Regular checks by your vet or equine dental technician (EDT) are important to help prevent any issues occurring. If you haven’t had your horse’s teeth checked but notice him quidding or dropping balls of feed from his mouth when eating, setting up an appointment is advisable. Where there are known issues, speak with your vet, EDT or nutritionist to discuss the most suitable diet for the situation.
Feeds that can be soaked, like Dodson & Horrell’s Sixteen Plus Cubes or Mix, Senior Support Balancer or Kwikbeet, can help ensure your horse is able to eat easily and receive the nutrients he needs to support his wellbeing.
How much organised exercise is he getting each day?
No matter his age, when a horse is working hard, he’ll need more calories. Trends in body condition score will help flag whether he needs a bit more or a bit less energy, as will his behaviour. Bear in mind that a horse who’s uncomfortable can sometimes show signs similar to one who’s hot headed. If your body condition score trends aren’t moving but your horse’s attitude is, it might be time to speak with your vet and a nutritionist.
For more information or further advice, visit dodsonandhorrell.com or call 01832 737300 option 3.