The equine population is ageing and – with improved veterinary care and management – many horses and ponies are now living well into their twenties or even thirties. Diet plays an important role in this management and by identifying the best way of feeding horses as they age, we can help to ensure our much loved seniors maintain a healthy and active life for as long as possible.
We are therefore excited to announce that The WALTHAM Equine Studies Group which provides the science behind the SPILLERS brand, has partnered with the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center; an internationally recognised equine research facility. This partnership will support our ongoing work in senior horse nutrition and we hope the findings will soon be benefiting the lives of the many senior horses and ponies in the UK and around the world. In the last few years The WALTHAM Equine Studies Group has led or collaborated globally on five major studies in senior horse nutrition and has already published key papers with many more in the pipeline – the results of which we look forward to sharing as they are published.
Feeding Senior Horses
One thing that is already clear is that not all seniors are the same! For some senior horses age really is just a number, and those who are clinically healthy may not need any additional dietary management. However for others, ageing horses may be also bring with it a number of clinical, nutritional and in some cases social/behavioural challenges including:
- Dental disease
- Compromised immune function
- Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) or ‘Cushing’s syndrome’
- Insulin dysregulation (all horses seem to become insulin resistance with age, regardless of whether they are prone to/suffering from laminitis or PPID)
- Changes in herd dynamics – older horses may be at risk of bullying
The most suitable nutritional management for individual horses and ponies therefore depends on their clinical and metabolic status and their ability to maintain condition.
For advice on feeding your senior horse or pony visit our information pages or contact the SPILLERS Care-Line on 01908 226626.
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