Dr. Lydia Gray of SmartPak Answers Your Health Questions: What is the Best Feed For My Senior Horse?
Originally published in the September issue of Show Horse Today.
If this describes your horse, then it may be time to gradually switch to a commercial senior feed, which has high-quality, easy-to-digest protein, increased amounts of certain nutrients (like B vitamins and Vitamin C), and reduced amounts of other nutrients like phosphorus. Some owners like to add direct-fed microbials (probiotics) to their senior horse’s diet to help maintain normal intestinal function. Of course, high-quality hay is still an important part of your horse’s ration, as long as she can safely chew it. As horses get into their teens and twenties, I generally recommend increasing the frequency of dental examinations to twice a year instead of just once, to catch problems earlier.
Dr. Lydia Gray is the Medical Director/Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak Equine where she networks with veterinarians; provides print and electronic media content, and guides food, supplement and pharmaceutical selections. Dr. Gray has earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and a Master of Arts focusing on interpersonal and organizational communication. After “retiring” from private practice, she put her experience and education to work as the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s first-ever Director of Owner Education. She continues to provide health and nutrition information to horse owners through her position at SmartPak, through publication in more than a dozen general and trade publications, and through presentations around the country.