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Caring For The Senior Horse

Our older horses are loyal horses and many of them are still eager to hit the trails or even compete at a local show. Some have been retired to their pastures to live out their days in equine luxury. If you plan on keeping your senior horse until the very end, then you will want to attend to his special needs as he ages.

A geriatric or senior horse is typically twenty years or older. There are a lot of health differences in these horses that appear as they age and they often require specialized care throughout this part of their lives. This is because, just like humans, parts of their bodies simply begin to wear out. The horse’s teeth, eyes, joints, liver, gut, and kidneys all begin to lose their regular functionality. These are the parts of the older horse that horse owners should pay close attention to.

Older horses may have a hard time breathing and walking if they are becoming arthritic. They may not be able to get around as well, so it is harder to walk back and forth to the barn to get a drink and then go back out to pasture. We can make life a little easier on our horses by providing them an extra water source in the pasture so that they don’t have to do so much traveling. As their gut begins to wear out we need to consider what we can do to make it easier on them absorb the nutrients that they need.

Begin by having your vet check the horse’s liver and kidney function. They may need to do some blood work on the horse to see if anything is malfunctioning. They will also check for diseases in the blood. These horse’s teeth should also be checked at least once a year. If there are any problems, your vet will prescribe new medication and a diet for your horse.

Switching to a senior feed can do a lot for these older horses. The nutrients are designed to be easier to absorb and they contain higher amounts of nutrients because it is easier for the horse’s digestive system to miss out on them as the feed travels through. The best forage for a senior horse is grass. Grass contains seventy percent water and ninety percent dry matter. Most horse owners will rely on hay of the horse’s forage, so you may need to find a higher quality hay for the senior horse. It is also important to be sure that you maintain the same deworming schedule that the horse has been on his whole life to keep the parasites at bay. Making some simple changes such as these will make life much easier on your dear old friend.

Happy Horsing
Jo Thompson

Submitted by:

Jo Thompson

At www.gifts-for-the-horse-lover.com find out about carousel horses and painted ponies.




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