Lizzie is a nutritionist with Saracen Horse Feeds and answers your feed-related queries
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Postby jimama » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:10 am

My Dutch Warmblood is 18. How important is it to feed a veteran feed to a veteran? How do they vary?

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Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:28 am


Postby Expert_LizzieDrury » Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:25 pm


Normally horses are classed as veterans as when they are in their teens, typically at 16! This is usually because at this age their digestive systems do change and are not quite as efficent at utilizing and absorbing some nutrients as well as they did when they were younger. This is also why some veterans become more difficult to keep weight on or start to find it more difficult to chew etc. However, as with all horses it is important to remember that they are all different and I certainly know of plenty of veterans in their late 20's who show no signs of being older in both how they behave and how they look!!!!!!! In fact we tend to now see more veterans that are on the overweight side rather than underweight.

So, the point is that just because your horse is 16+ may not necessarily mean that he has to have a veteran feed. If he is looking well and healthy and doing what you ask of him with no problems then dont change what is not broken. But if you found that your veteran perhaps was more difficult to keep weight on last winter then now maybe the time to consider making a change to a specific veteran feed.

Veteran feeds generally have higher energy levels to help maintain condition or put it on and to support work that may be still being done. They are non heating and many now rely heavily on providing the calories using digestible fibre sources and high oil levels. Micronised cereals are included to increase digestibility but not enough to make temperaments more excitable!

Veteran feeds also contain quality protein sources such as soya bean meal etc to support cell renewal, tissue and muscle repair.

Elevated levels of minerals and vitamins also help to support the immune system, as some older horses maybe mor susceptible to infections or viruses. Important antioxidants such as vitamin E also help to protect the mucsles of working veterans and help to reduce the extent of muscle soreness and reduce recovery rates............ and who knows maybe even helps them to stay younger for longer!!

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