Tips for the older equines

We all too often gets called out to malnurished ponies to hear the excuse “they are just old”, there is no excuse for a malnurished pony, not even age, they may hold their weight a little different but if they have bones sticking out, you are doing something wrong, older ponies need their teeth checking more regularly and cant digest certain foods like they did when they were younger, even quite often Veteran mixes and nuts are designed with an age of 15 to 25 in mind when actually, from 20 years upwards the ponies digestive system and other organs will go through some pretty big changes, meaning they cant digest a lot of what is in Veteran feeds so time to think again, this is when lots of people reach for mashed foods which have their place but will give the teeth less work to do (and teeth need to work to keep healthy) and also will encourage the food to pass through the gut too quickly, increasing the risk of colic, its a mine field.

We tend to find, for maintenance, high fibre cubes with a balancer such as Lo-Cal the best option, you can add a little water to make it a mash if we have no teeth left, we feed speedibeet alongside for weight gain, all of these being great feeds for oldies as Laminitis safe, considering those oldies with cushings are more likely to get laminitis, its important to feed the recommended amounts for your ponies size and work rate, or you may as well just burn your money, also no hard feed will ever be of any benefit unless the basic forage is in place, buckets of HiFi senior make a great hay replacer for our gummy bears. Don’t forget feed little and often, 3 or 4 times a day if possible.

Don’t watch them waste away get some help, get the dentist out, vet if necessary, a cushings test and subsequent medication could be the answer, but most of all a nutritionist, when it comes to feeding it is their area of expertise, they don’t charge to come out, you just have to make a phone call, our original rescue that started all this was 33 years old when rescued and skin and bone, within 4 months he was a different pony, Herbie had 4 happy years with us until he was sadly put to sleep as we couldn’t get control of his laminitis he had suffered with his whole life, see pictures of him on arrival and when recovered below xxx

HorseSense Wirral's photo.
HorseSense Wirral's photo.

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