Feeding the older horse

Find out how PAVO feeding systems have been tailored to the specific needs of our older friends and how Cavalor can help with competition horses.

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Keeping our older horses at their best

A horse’s body starts to change at approximately 18 years of age, just like ours do as we advance in years. The digestive system becomes less efficient and nutrients are not as easily digested or absorbed.

At first this may not be noticeable, as many horses can continue to work effectively while they age. However, the nutritional needs of your horse do start to change. For example, the older horse usually requires more protein to maintain a good topline and muscle tone, and will also be less able to process sugars and starch.

This process will be already in motion before you start noticing changes on the outside. It is therefore advisable to begin feeding a concentrate suitable for senior horses before outwards signs of aging become apparent.

You can’t prevent your horse getting older, but you can determine how he is going to age!

Pavo 18Plus will allow you to take care of your ageing horse’s increasing demands as he ages without burdening the system unnecessarily. Pavo 18Plus can be fed dry or soaked as a mash for senior horses with chewing and dental problems.

This dust-free muesli will help your senior to stay fit, full of vitality and energy. The combination of Pavo 18Plus and SpeediBeet provides the perfect complete, fully balanced feed for your horse’s daily needs.

Perhaps your horse is loosing weight as he gets older

Older horses extract fewer nutrients form their feed. This means that even if you are feeding your senior sufficient quantities, they may nit be able to get enough from it.

Whilst you may not immediately notice this, the changes internally will be happening.

Do not wait for symptoms to become visible – feed them a balanced diet specifically designed for the older horse.

But what if my horse finds chewing difficult

Horses that cannot chew properly don’t obtain enough roughage. Even if they appear to be chewing all day long, in reality they can be ingesting almost nothing. If you fail to intervene your horse could start to starve. This is where a special diet containing a forage substitute can help.

Give 4 – 5 kg of Pavo 18Plus (spread over several small meals per day) in a slobber  with warm or cold water in a  1 : 1 ratio (the same amount of water as feed). Allow to soak for at least 15 minutes prior to consumption.

Mix with a forage substitute, such as soaked Pavo SpeediBeet (up to 400 g per 100 kg of body weight) and/or a good quality hay chaff (as this contains the same composition as good quality hay, you may add unlimited quantities).

Some important nutritional facts

  • Older horses are at far greater risk of weight loss during winter than in summer. Give top quality forage that’s not too fibrous throughout the winter months. Older horses require additional protein phosphorus, zinc, copper and selenium.
  • Vitamin C is necessary for a healthy immune system and thus extremely important for your horse. Whilst horses manufacture vitamin C themselves from glucose, older horses are no longer as proficient at this. This is why vitamin C supplementation in feed is so essential.
  • Horses that can no longer chew forage and therefore survive on beet pulp, bran and concentrates also require additional B vitamins and vitamin K in their diet.
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Rob is a director of Equitain and also Kingswood Equestrian Centre. As a Medical Biochemist he takes an interest in all aspects of performance of the horse from a nutritional and saddlery perspective. Areas of speciality : Nutrition, Bitting, Saddlery

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