The proper care of a horse begins to change procedurally when it approaches the age of 15. At this age the animal becomes a veteran horse and its needs will begin to change due to the wear and tear it has experienced in its life time like any other living being. Along with taking out equine insurance follow the following guidlines
Proper Nutrition for Long Life
As a horse ages so do all parts of it including it teeth. When a horse reaches the age of 15 it could develop loose teeth or even have some missing. This makes it more difficult for them to eat properly. When there is a problem in this area, it can be noticed that a horse is dropping more food than it is eating or partially chewed food drops out. The term for this is quidding. When this occurs dental care is required so the veteran horse can remain healthy. A dental check up every 6 months for older horses is recommended to help avoid this condition so they can eat the proper amount and stay healthy.
Fiber is essential to a horse’s diet independent of age. The right amount of fiber along with vitamin and minerals can be found in feed developed for older horses. There are many manufactures of this type of feed. The difference is the energy and calorie level of the feed. If the horse is still active a lower energy and calorie feed is recommended. If the horse appears to lack the energy level it once had, an increase in the energy and calorie in the feed is advised so it can maintain proper health.
Hydration of an older animal might be difficult. It is the owner’s responsibility to make sure the veteran horse has the required water intake so it can have a healthy digestive system and overall well being. This also reduces the risk of colic. When an older horse is at times reluctant to drink enough water on its own, small amount of flavor can be added to the fresh water supply. Unsweetened fruit juices have been known to work. Another trick would be soaking the feed with water, just make sure all uneaten feed is removed so mold and fungus does not grow and the horse consumes it.
With proper nutrition and hydration a veteran horse can maintain a proper weight as it grows older. Scales large enough to check the weight of a horse is just not practical on most farms. The alternative is a weigh tape. By keeping track of the size of the horse’s girth,its nutrition and hydration level can be monitored.
Loose of hair
As a horse ages, it will have a tendency to shed hair. This is a natural process just as it is in humans. On chilly nights and in the winter veteran horses should be rugged up. This will keep them warm and prevent them from getting sick.
Noticing physical ailments
Arthritis in joints is common in veteran horses. This causes the horse to be in pain and they will have stiffness when they walk. This can be noticed by looking and feeling the joints in the legs. An ailing joint swells and will be warm to the touch. When this is noticed a veterinarian should be consulted.
Older horses are like any other animal; they must stay active to stay healthy. Just because a horse can no longer pull a cart or be ridden does not mean it should be put to pasture or kept in a stall. Walking the veteran horse will help it stay healthy or recover from what ails it. Activity is the key to a long life.