Feeding the Senior Horse

Q:  Should the pellets be moistened?

A:  The pellets do not need to be moistened, although it is owner/horse preference. If your horse's teeth are very poor, moistening the pellets will make it easier for them to consume.

Q:  I have a 20-year-old mare which I ride 2-3 times a week. We still school and jump. She can be an easy keeper and will be on pasture. Her teeth are excellent and the vet would not classify her as a "senior" horse yet. I am looking for a feed to meet her nutritional needs, provide some increased energy but not increased weight.

A:  It sounds like Safe 'n Easy™ would be a good option for your mare. It is low in starch and sugar and low calorie, yet will provide enough energy for a horse that still has a job to do. It comes in both pelleted and textured forms, too!

Q:  I have a 26-year-old mare that I have been feeding GRO 'N WIN™ and Ultimate Finish™. She's dropped some weight this summer, so I'd like to move her to a senior food. If I start with the Senior Texturized should I also continue the GRO 'N WIN™ and Ultimate Finish™?

A:  If you feed the recommended amount of Senior, you do not need to add GRO 'N WIN™. There will already be enough vitamins, minerals and amino acids in the Senior, since it is fortified with GRO 'N WIN™. To add more weight, you can still top dress the Ultimate Finish™ for additional calories. You could also look at increasing the amount (or quality) of the forage you are feeding to add calories to her diet as well.

Q:  I have a 40-year-old Appaloosa mare in excellent shape psychically (not arthritic at all), but I am having a hard time getting more weight on her. She used to be an easy keeper, but started having a hard time keeping weight on her the past couple of years. I have been feeding her different kinds of senior feed, with soaked beet pulp and alfalfa meal. I'm trying to feed her three times a day. What would you advise?

A:  Maintaining weight is one of the challenges of caring for our older equine friends. As long as her teeth are in good condition, you can simply add one of our Ultimate Finish™ fat supplements to her daily feeding regime. Ultimate Finish™ comes in three varieties that vary in level of fat and feeding rates. Ultimate Finish™ 25 is an extruded nugget that is 25% fat and has a feeding rate of 1/2 pound up to 3 pounds daily. Ultimate Finish™ 40 is a soft pellet, that is 40% fat and you can feed up to 8 oz daily. Ultimate Finish™ 100 is a prilled fat that is 100% fat and has the same feeding rate as Ultimate Finish™ 40, up to 8oz daily.

Q:  I have a 25-year-old appendix quarter horse that probably weighs about 1200 lbs. He had been on BUCKEYE® Senior texturized for eight years. How long is the feed good for if kept in a closed bag? Also, what could I add for extra calories as he loses weight in winter?

A:  The shelf life of Senior Texturized is 90 days. If your horse will eat the pelleted form of Senior, it has a long shelf life of 180 days. If you want to increase the calorie amount in his feed without increasing feeding amount too much, I would top dress with Ultimate Finish™. We have a 25, 40 or 100 percent fat available. With the Senior Texturized product, I would recommend the Ultimate Finish™ 25. You will start by adding 1/4-1/2 lb and can go as high as 3 lbs per day. I would recommend starting at 1/4 lb per day for a few days, then 1/2 lb per day, and going up to 1 lb per day and see how he responds to that.

Q:  I just started feeding my horse texture senior feed 1/2 scoop 1 x day. Does he need a vitamin supplement?

A:  If you are feeding below 5 pounds per day, we recommend that you provide 1 pound per day of GRO 'N WIN™ to meet your horse's protein, vitamin and mineral needs.

Q:  I have a mare that we believe has EPSM-Equine Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy. I currently feed her 12 oz of GRO 'N WIN™ twice daily. I understand that your Ultimate Finish™ 25 is a good feed. How much of it do you feed and would I continue the GRO 'N WIN™ along with it? She is a 6-year-old Hanoverian that weighs between 1200 and 1300 lbs.

A:  Ultimate Finish™ 25 is an excellent choice to complement our GRO 'N WIN™ product. Ultimate Finish™ 25 can be fed at variable rates depending on the needs of your horse. If you are just interested in skin and coat enhancement, then we recommend 1/4 pound per day. For increased body condition, we recommend a minimum of 1/2 pound up to 3 pounds per day. You will feed GRO 'N WIN™ along with the Ultimate Finish™ to provide all of the essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals she needs. I recommend feeding 2 pounds (16 ounces) of GRO 'N WIN™ per day.

Q:  Help! My 24-year-old Spanish Mustang's teeth are bad. I am feeding him 3-4 lbs of a complete feed, 1 1/2 lbs soaked beet pulp shreds, and 4 oz rice bran 3x a day. Do you have a better plan, especially one for only 2x a day?

A:  Our suggestion would be to put him on a complete feed. Older horses, especially with teeth issues, lose their ability to chew and digest long stemmed forages such as grass or hay. Therefore, he will need to get the beneficial fiber for GI health from another form. Buckeye Nutrition has a couple different options for you in terms of complete feeds: Wrangler or Senior Pelleted.

With both of these products, you will need to divide the feedings up into 3-4 meals a day because you need to feed a minimum of 10 pounds a day, depending on your horse’s weight. You can continue the rice bran or add our fat supplement, Ultimate Finish™. Ultimate Finish™ is extruded, which is a perfect form of feed for older horses with teeth problems and will increase the digestibility of the nutrients in the feed.

Q:  Is there a Safe 'n Easy™ for senior horses?

A:  Our Safe ‘n Easy products are suitable for mature horses of all ages, including senior horses.

Q:  I have a 23 year old QH gelding. In winter I have a hard time keeping weight on. I am wanting to know if I should feed him a senior feed if he can’t eat hay as well as he used to.  Also, he needs help over his back and topline.

A:  Yes, a senior product, such as BUCKEYE® Nutrition's Senior Texturized or Pelleted, would be an excellent choice for your 23-year-old gelding. The highly digestible fiber contained in the feed will provide him with a good source of nutrients as well as keeping his digestive system functioning properly. As with humans, senior horses do lose muscle condition with age. Our senior products are formulated with GRO 'N WIN™, which will help to provide the amino acids your QH needs to build muscle over the topline.

See what other questions our experts have answered.