The winter weather is in full swing here in the UK and the long, cold months can be daunting for any horse owner, but caring for a veteran equine can prove to be even more challenging at this time of year. Scientific Nutritional Products takes a look at caring for the veteran horse in our latest blog…
The phrase “long in the tooth” to signify old age came about for good reason, so make sure that your veteran equine has their teeth checked regularly, particularly in winter time when they can loose condition quickly and easily. Keep an eye on their eating habits as struggling with long stemmed forage can be a telltale sign of teeth problems and watch out for quidding, when the horse drops their food whilst chewing.
Feeding the veteran horse little and often is ideal, providing a natural trickle feeding approach and ensuring the older horse or pony is not over-faced by a large quantity to eat. For horses of all ages, fibre should form the basis of the diet. Provide your horse a good quantity of fibre, and if hay or haylage is more difficult to eat than it used to be, add short chop fibre to their diet or a fibre which can be soaked.
Weighing concentrate feed for the older horse is wise to monitor carefully how much they are getting to eat and in order to keep it consistent. The majority of older horses will benefit from a higher level of protein in the diet as protein provides the building blocks for tissue maintenance and repair. It is also essential they are provided the right amount of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals play a multitude of roles within the body including supporting the immune system, bone and teeth structure, benefiting eyesight and assisting nerve and muscle functioning. Horse & Pony Multi-vitamin Supplement from Scientific Nutritional Products includes over 25 essential horse vitamins and minerals providing equine's everything they need for health and well being.
A common culprit of loss of condition in older horses is worm infestation, and while this is more common during the summer, a high worm count can have a greater effect during the winter when horses are using more of the energy from their food to generate body heat. In addition it is important to protect your veteran horse from the winter weather with appropriate rugs so they can maintain an ambient body temperature. Don’t forget older horses are more sensitive to the cold than their younger and sometimes, more active counterparts!
Finally Arthritis and other joint conditions that often accompany old age can become more pronounced during the winter, so ensure that you do everything you can to keep your horse moving comfortably and free from stiffness. Horse Joint Supplements can help with this such as Horse Joint Right Supreme from Scientific Nutritional Products which contains optimum levels of Glucosamine for Horses, Chondroitin, MSM, Hyaluronic Acid, Green Lipped Mussel and Omega 3 to promote healthy mobile joints!
Risk-assess your fields and stable yard to ensure that any obvious hazards are removed, and check your veteran horse’s limbs carefully on a daily basis too!