5 Things Your Senior Horse Wants for Christmas

Here’s what might be on your senior horse’s wish list this year.
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BHS: "A Horse is for Life
This year give your senior horse a gift that caters to his specific needs. | Photos.com

This holiday season give your senior horse gifts that cater to his specific needs. Whether it’s a nutritious diet, healthful treats, grooming, or regular dental exams, these gestures will make your senior horse’s holiday season merry and bright.

1. A High-Quality Diet

As your senior horse ages, his nutritional needs change. This Christmas consider gifting him an equine nutritionist consult to be sure you’re meeting all his nutritional needs. The nutritionist will ensure your horse’s diet is rich in easily digestible fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals. A balanced diet can contribute to better overall health, improved coat condition, and increased energy levels.

2. Mindful Treat Choices

Treat your senior horse to delicious snacks, but be mindful of any underlying health concerns, especially metabolic problems. Avoid treats high in nonstructural carbohydrates (NSCs, a measure of the easily digestible carbohydrates, including simple sugars and fructans) in these horses because they can exacerbate metabolic conditions. Even apples supply sugar that can increase sugar absorption in the intestines; many veterinarians and nutritionists recommend limiting apples and carrots for animals with insulin dysregulation. Consult your veterinarian or an equine nutritionist to identify safe treat options that won’t compromise your horse’s health.

3. Extra Grooming Sessions

Even senior horses can benefit from extra grooming sessions. This holiday season, invest in some high-quality grooming tools and spend time pampering your horse with them. Grooming can help maintain his physical health by preventing skin issues and promoting circulation and can provide you an opportunity to regularly evaluate his body condition. It’s also an excellent way to bond with your equine friend.

4. Regular Dental Exams

Give your senior horse the gift of good oral health by scheduling regular dental exams. As horses age, dental issues such as uneven wear, loose teeth, or sharp points can arise, leading to discomfort and difficulty eating. A thorough dental examination by a qualified veterinarian can address these issues, ensuring your horse’s dental health is in top shape so he is able to digest forage and feed optimally.

5. Winter Enrichment Activities

During the winter months, your senior horse might spend more time in his stall with fewer natural enrichment opportunities, which increase variety in an the expression of normal behaviors, promoting interaction with the environment. Give your horse the opportunity for enrichment for Christmas this year. This can include scratching areas, such as a worn-out broom head mounted safely on the wall, turnout with companions (that don’t have to be equids), toys including stuffed animals or treat licks, and treats placed around the stall in various locations to encourage food-hunting behaviors. 

What are you getting your senior horse for Christmas this year? Let us know below!

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Written by:

Haylie Kerstetter, Digital Editor, holds a degree in equine studies with a concentration in communications and a minor in social media marketing. She is a Pennsylvania native and, as a horse owner herself, has a passion for helping owners provide the best care for their horses. When she is not writing or in the barn, she is spending time with her dog, Clementine.

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