The Veteran Horse

These days just like us, our horses are living longer as a result of better healthcare, diet and a deeper understanding of science but there are some inevitable signs of age which will affect our horses and dictate their needs for some level of specialist care. A horse over the age of fifteen years old is in fact classed as a veteran, but many of our equine friends go on to enjoy an active, healthy life well into the their 20's! So in our latest blog Scientific Nutritional Products takes a look at caring for the needs of veteran horse!

You only need to look at the Eventing and Dressage world to see many horses not reaching their peak or prime, so to speak, until their mid teens proving both the importance of training but also how far we have come in terms of improvements of equine welfare. This is great news! Nonetheless for the majority of our equines as they age some health problems such as stiffness, dental issues and optimum digestive health will come into play. This doesn't mean your horse's ridden career is over but they may need their workload lightened or their diet may need to be managed differently.

Exercise

Older horses do benefit from regular exercise where possible as it allows for joints to remain mobile and their musculature to stay toned and strong. However the stresses and strains of high level Dressage and jumping may become too much and incorporating regular low key hacking days is wise.

Diet

Breaking up your older horse's feeds and feeding the veteran horse little and often is ideal for promoting good weight and condition and ensuring optimum absorption of nutrients. This mechanism provides a natural trickle feeding approach. 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 to stop elderly horses dropped weight.

Weighing feed and forage 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 particularly if they are still in regular work. 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.

Management

Your older horse may be less able to regulate their body temperature due to thinning skin and they are often less inclined to move around in the field to keep warm if they struggle with stiff joints. With the colder weather on the horizon protect your veteran horse from the elements with appropriate rugs so they can maintain an ambient body temperature. Conversely if your veteran struggles with Cushing's Disease; tumours of the Pituitary Gland they may as a result of the disease grow a long, thick coat and in fact struggle with overheating!

Joint Care

Finally Arthritis and other joint conditions that often accompany old age can become more pronounced so ensure that you do everything you can to keep your horse moving comfortably and free from stiffness. Offering daily turn out and regular exercise, if suitable is ideal in order to keep stiff joint supple. Horse Joint Supplements can also help such as Horse Joint Right Supreme from Scientific Nutritional Products. The beneficial supplements contains optimum levels of Glucosamine for Horses, Chondroitin, MSM, Hyaluronic Acid, Green Lipped Mussel and Omega 3 to promote healthy mobile joints! 

For more information on our horse supplement range or to receive one-to-one advice specific to your dog and dog joint supplement contact our nutritional specialists on FREEPHONE 0800 032 7774 or Tel: 01377 254900 or visit our website www.horsesupplementsdirect.co.uk.

We love sharing our expertise - to see a range of horsey articles videos and reviews concerning lots of other equestrian and countryside matters, visit Horse and Countryside Online. Keep an eye on our Facebook page or website for next weeks’ educational, informative blog!
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