Feeding The Competing Senior Horse
Can one successfully compete an older horse? Absolutely yes, with the correct exercise program even older horses can compete. Now the question arises – what do I feed my older competitive horse? Are there any special considerations in the conditioning of an older horse?
There is information that suggests that older horses (more than 15-20 years of age) make up a large proportion of the horse population. Now, more than ever, horses are our beloved companions and we would like to ensure that these relationships last for as long as possible.
When is my horse old? “You are only as old as you feel” also applies to your horse. Some horses are old in their late teens, others only in their mid-twenties. Old really is an individual concept based on breed, genetics, diet, exercise and medical history.
Older horses, competing or retired, can tend to have somewhat of a compromised digestive system, purely due to age. Old age unfortunately also means old dentition and horses with dental problems (overly worn teeth, loss of teeth or a parrot bite) suffer even more problems and weight loss. For the digestive system to function effectively, digestion needs to start in the mouth with properly chewed food. It is therefore crucial to provide top quality, easily digestible nutrients for the older horse.
Spurwing Senior provides these recommended nutrients for the older horse and has energy levels to sustain top performance and condition. Spurwing Senior is a highly palatable grain free ration rich in full fat soya, essential for tissue repair and maintaining muscle tone. Vitamin E is often depleted in hay after prolonged storage, and older horses may not absorb Vitamin E well. Full fat soya provides an easily digestible form of Vitamin E. Spurwing Senior also includes premium quality Lucerne, providing the much-needed fibre source which has been cut fine to help the older horse with its ability to chew and digest fibre. Fibre digestion provides a lot of energy and is absolutely essential to maintain the health of the large intestine.
Some older horses may still have difficulty maintaining their body weight, especially during the winter. Adding extra energy-dense, digestible fats and oils to their diet during these times as well as during times of intense competition can help maintain their condition. Spurwing Energy Supplement provides exactly this as well as the correct mix of fast and slow release energy sources.
Finally, joint health is paramount in competing a Senior horse and it is recommended to add a joint supplement that contains Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM. Spurwing MSM gel (applied topically) also goes a long way to reduce pain and inflammation and serves as an excellent post work-out leg rub.
It also goes without saying that feed quantities should be monitored and over feeding should be avoided. Good quality roughage and fresh water should be available ad lib. Abiding by this, there should be no reason you can’t successfully compete your older horse!