Tips for Caring for the Senior Horse
Here are a few guidelines and tips to provide great care for your aging horse. They have given so much, it is time to give back!
Caring for the senior horse includes the same principles as horses of younger ages with a little additional focus or awareness. If well cared for horses can have their golden years as senior horses and have great potential!
Focus on horse health now before it is lost or becomes a concern, not matter the age of your horse. Doing so can reduce the risks of illness and injury.
Proper dental care – It seems as horses age or hit more of a retirement status, owners bypass or stop getting routine dental care done. Annual or at the very least bi-annual dental exams and floats should be done for your senior horse.
Digestive system support – As your horse ages the digestive system tends to need additional support. A properly functioning digestive system is a crucial part of horse health. As over 70% and some suggest more of the immune system resides in the GI tract. Combine that with the weight of nutrient absorption and utilization! To support the senior horse digestive system you can offer slow feeders or a third feeding in the day, offer prebiotic, probiotic, and enzyme supplements. Also allow for grazing live grasses when possible.
Monitor body condition – Regularly monitor the horse’s body condition and adjust as needed. Just because a horse is older and even retired, obesity or being underweight is still a health concern.
Exercise and lymph stimulation – It is important to remember that the lymph system needs stimulation and movement to flow and function. Your senior horse should still get regular exercise as their body can handle. Grooming is also a great way to stimulate the lymph and body, and can be a therapy for the human too!
Hydration – Monitor their hydration and watch for excessive drinking or them drinking inadequate amount of waters.
Joint and Muscle Care – It is often beneficial for senior horses to have some natural liniments applied, use of some therapy products like Back on Track, red lights, etc. to support their joints and muscles. Again the exercise will help here as well, along with a natural effective joint supplement.