Equine nutritionists discuss a variety of feeds and feeding practices to help horses cope with the problems associated with growing old.
As horses grow older, their nutrient needs change. This might be due to bad or missing teeth, changes in metabolism, or less efficient digestion. Some horses become thin, while others gain weight and become prone to laminitis. Some develop problems such as Cushing’s disease, insulin resistance, failing kidneys, or impaired liver function, and they need a special type of diet.
Importance of Balance
Amy Gill, PhD, an equine nutritionist based in Kentucky, says it is important for an older horse to have good-quality protein with the right amino acids. "Make sure the diet is highly fortified with vitamins and minerals, and very digestible sources of fiber," says Gill. Don’t feed overly mature, coarse hay that’s hard to chew and does not contain adequate nutrients.