Feeding the Seniors

by Mary

We have a twenty year old standard bred. He was free leased for eight months and returned under weight. He stepped on a nail which I removed from his hoof. Then three of his ankles swelled up.

The vet said it was due to malnutrition but since he returned we have been supplementing his diet with beet pulp sweet feed protein ration biotin vitamins. Now he is on senior feed oats beet pulp.

My friend and I are at opposite sides of this debate. If there is no nutritional value in beet pulp or oats why do we feed them. Just asking


Hi Mary,

You have a good question! And how great that you are working so hard to get him healthy and happy!

I have a lot of senior horses here (some in their late 20's) and keeping them looking good is an ongoing job.

My best advice for you would be to contact your local feed supply. Most of these places will have a trained equine nutritionist that can help you-usually at no cost.

My own experience with beet pulp is that it is just liquid filler--and the minute you stop feeding it they "deflate". Oats are good but that is not a complete feed.

If you are feeding a complete senior ration that should cover his nutritional requirements. The best thing to add to that is good quality free choice hay.

If you are feeding a complete feed it may not be necessary for you to supplement with extra vitamins and biotin--you might be providing too much since it will be included in the complete senior feed. It is even possible that over supplementation of vitamins or protein can cause that swelling in his legs. I am not a vet and I am not there looking at your horse but this has been my experience.

Hope that helps.

Any other questions don't hesitate to contact me!

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