When looking at your senior horses diet there is a few things to check & rule out first.
– Dental care
– Worm burden
– Pain issues (bodywork)
– Environment (companion or availability of feed/pastures, low stress)
– Health (Cushing’s disease or arthritis are common in horses over 18 years old & can affect younger horses as well – seek veterinary advice on diagnosing these conditions).
– Regular feeding 2 (to 4) x a day depending on situation. Ad-lib hay or grass 24/7. Guide is 2% of your horses body weight per day (10kg for a 500kg horse).
If you have addressed and checked all of the above, then you can look at adjusting the diet to fit your horses age, situation and horse’s health. The poor gut function along with teeth issues can contribute to poor condition and the need to feed larger quantities of feed to an aged horse.
We have several older horses here, Beau (in photo – has no front teeth left, molars ok) is 39 years old this year (2020), we also have a 23 year old retired broodmare (that’s is insulin resistant, has arthritis and mild Cushing’s symptoms), 22 year old stallion (healthy), and a few miniature ponies in their late teens.
Winter coat and condition on Beau 39 year old pony
This is what I feed to my old horses & it varies during the year depending on the availability of pasture and pasture quality. I will give you a couple of options that I adjust during the year.
Winter feeding for older horses
Quality pasture over 5cm in high available 24/7 if your horse can not eat / chew hay. Or ad-lib soft type hay like mixed pasture hay. If your older horse needs weight management then use a large hole slow feeder hay net.
Winter hard feed – fed twice a day
Copra & maxisoy (soaked to a mash with warm water)
Chaff selected on your horses requirements (my old horse has oaten chaff & option for Cushing’s low sugar chaff like rye Straw chaff or wheaten chaff
Whole lupins (soaked till soft)
Canola meal (to add fat)
Belinda’s Amazing Minerals Plus dose in feed & also Belinda’s Loose Lick ad-lib. Note; BAM+ will help with nutrient absorption, gut health and the availability of the vitamins and minerals in the supplement – great for older or growing horses.
That’s it, balanced and keeps weight on during winter – KIS (keep it simple) is my feeding belief. This diet will also apply in Summer when we have no green grass & may add lucerne chaff as well. Please note some old horses or Cushing’s horses get scours or cannot tolerate lucerne (some will get colic) so be careful.
For Spring and times of adequate grass – only feed once a day if your horses weight is good
Chaff – oaten
Belinda’s Amazing Minerals Plus in feed & Belinda’s Loose Lick ad-lib
This is what works for my horses in my situation and amounts are adjusted depending on body condition.
Photos of our 22 year old stallions top line and shiny winter coat & 23 year old broodmare that’s IR (suspected Cushing’s)
For customised diet advice, book a nutrition consult today. Full natural affordable diet plan tailored to your needs just $110 – you may just save $100’s off your feed costs & have a healthy horse (less vet bills).
One of the major concerns for horse owners, especially in Springtime, is laminitis and founder. If you can recognise the early signs and address the condition as quickly as possible, all the better for your horse.
As an animal homeopath this is the most common ailment I successfully address for clients horses on a daily basis.
Laminitis and founder are extremely painful conditions. If not addressed promptly, laminitis can result in rotation of the third phalanx (coffin bone) through the sole of the hoof. Inflammation occurs in the sensitive laminae in the horse’s hooves, restricting circulation in the hoof. Separation of the laminae – founder – can also result in seedy toe and abscesses which can also be extremely painful for the horse.
Laminitis episodes can be triggered by many different circumstances, including:
- An overload of sugar and starches in the diet, possibly from grazing on lush pastures. This can cause an imbalance in the gut bacteria and production of an endotoxin that triggers inflammation in the hoof laminae
- Poorly trimmed feet – long toes
- Mineral deficiency and poor gut health
- A secondary reaction to an infection somewhere in the body, such as a uterus infection in broodmares
- Insulin resistance (ponies with hard crested necks) and horses with Cushing disease
Here are the symptoms you should look for to spot an acute case of Laminitis:
- Heat in the coronary band and the hoof – the horse will stand ‘underneath’ itself leaning weight on the hind end
- Tenderness of the hooves, obvious pain when walking on hard surfaces or not wanting to move at all
- A strong and bounding digital pulse ( felt behind the pastern)
- Obvious pain, anxiety, sweating and increased respiration
Other symptoms found in chronic laminitis in horses include:
- Separation of the sensitive laminae
- Third phalanx displacement or rotation
- Sole of hoof becomes flat or dropped
- Abscesses and seedy toe (these can also occur with acute laminitis)
Keep your horse or pony in the correct weight range. Exercise your pony regularly as this increases circulation. Feed a balanced diet (using a balanced vitamin and mineral supplement). Do not feed your horse or pony sugars, and do not feed grain or lucerne to fat ponies. Do not lock fat ponies up in small yards without exercising them.
A number of natural remedies are useful in addressing laminitis.
- Homeopathic remedies can be used to reduce pain and inflammation in the hooves, and can help resolve laminitis promptly. Homeopathics can also be given two to three times a week, to prevent laminitis.
- Rescue remedy can help reduce stress.
- Herbs can reduce inflammation, particularly Chamomile & Rosehips. Herbs for easing pain (include White Willow and Devil’s Claw).
- Correct hoof trimming should be an ongoing part of your care regime.
New studies have found that applying ice water around inflamed hooves can prevent the onset of laminitis if caught in the early stages. Running cold water over the lower legs and hooves can also help reduce the inflammation.
Prevention is better than cure in laminitis cases. It is comforting to know there are safe, fast, natural solutions to address this condition if it does happen to your horse.
For a consultation or for more information on natural therapies, remedies and solutions, please call or email Belinda.
Getting your horse or pony’s diet right with a case of laminitis is an essential part of their care and recovery. Here’s what you should be feeding:
Grass or pasture hay – preferably older hay (low sugar – no clover or rye) that is not mouldy
- Wheaten chaff (small amount of Lucerne chaff or oaten chaff- for flavour), with no grain
- Copra meal (coconut) – soaked in warm water
- Minerals or mineral lick, but with no molasses
- Add dose of Belinda’s Custom Loose Lick for your area
- Vitamin C powder can also be added as a valuable supplement
- Suitable herbs, as recommended by a herbalist, can be made into a tea – Chamomile and Rosehip are useful
- Rescue Remedy can also be added to the horse’s drinking water to help with stress.
Here’s what not to feed during a case of laminitis, or to a horse or pony which is prone to laminitis:
- Limit feeding of Lucerne hay or lucerne chaff
- Clover hay
- Molasses or feeds containing sugar
- Any grain or feeds containing grain such as oats,
- Pellets or bread
- NO apples or carrots
- Do not let your horse or pony graze on lush green pastures – especially at night or when it is frosty or extreme heat.
Exercise during laminitis
When your horse’s condition improves and it is able to move around, ensure your horse has adequate exercise. Begin with a five to ten minute walk twice a day, and increase this over time as your horse improves.
It’s important that your horse or pony is not confined in a stable or small yard for long periods at a time. A horse with laminitis should not be kept in a concrete floored stable. Correct bedding is essential – use rubber or deep sawdust or sand on floor, at least 10cm thick to ensure your horse’s comfort and recovery.
“Greetings Belinda, I am so pleased to inform you that our donkey Christma (born on Christmas day 8 years ago) is now up and walking with NO limp or signs of pain. Our furrier Robin diagnosed our donkey had laminitis in the front left hoof and that I should contact you regarding this matter. Even though I had never had dealings with a Homeopath in the past, I took Robin’s advice because of his list of successful treatments. He told me that you had in the past from every day horses to race horses, why not our pet donkey? After contacting you by phone consultation, 2 days later I received your remedy pack which I read thoroughly and started immediately. Within hours a difference in donkey stance was noticed. Then days 2 and 3 were the most noticeable improvements. Our donkey now stands and walks with her ears slightly forward (a sign of a happy donkey) without any limp at all. I have also stopped feeding the (bad) sugars like carrots, apples and molasses, and their treat is now oaten chaff. Once again Belinda, I thank you very much for your wonderful work in returning our donkey to good health.”
Yours Most Sincerely,
John D. Dowd. QLD
“Good Morning Belinda,
Well what progress we have had with Nelly. Thank you for those Pain Eze drops. They worked well for Nelly and gave her a little extra comfort. Nelly is coming along fantastic. She is so mobile now and nearly back to being a normal horse. Her time on her feet has extended out to only lying down twice a day !!!! She no longer feeds and lies down, she now stands after she feeds
Her hooves are growing out well. Steve is trimming them short and we are still 3 months or so away from being fully grown out, but every week we see progress.
Nelly is still on the skinny side, however she is feeding well and her bowls are normal and she eats her Maxi soy on its own. I’ve also been giving her Flaxseed oil every second day.
Her coat is shiny and she is happy. She desperately wants to be out with our other horses but we still feel she is still too weak to be with them. The last thing we need is for her to be picked on.
All her wounds have cleared up as you can see by the picture.
Thanks again for all your help. We have been talking with our Vet Sandy and keeping her in the loop with Nelly’s progress.”
Steve & Jo – Central QLD