Monday 29th of June 2020

Signs of Old Age

A horse or pony would normally be classed as a veteran once they reach the age of 15, however with advances in veterinary care and better education, horses and particularly ponies are living much healthier, active lives well beyond this milestone.

Some horses will start to display the signs of old age much earlier than others, with the aging process being very individual to each horse.

So, what are the signs to look out for that age is catching up with your horse, indicating they might need a little extra support?

Body Condition

One of the most common complaints of old age is weight loss, as the body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients declines and the digestive system slows down resulting in reduced fibre digestion. Failing to maintain condition can also be attributed to a number of other age related issues.

Winter can be a particularly difficult time for veteran horses and ponies who struggle to maintain weight, so it is important to take steps early, ensuring he is warm, with appropriate rugs and adequate shelter. Feed must be tailored to maximise fibre digestion helping to keep the horse warm from the inside out.

Deteriorating Dentition

Horses’ teeth are primarily designed for the tearing and chewing of fibrous material, such as hay and grass. Over time they become worn away at the surface making it difficult to chew effectively. Efficient digestion and fermentation of fibre is very dependent on the effectiveness of the molars and cheek teeth. Loss of condition, quidding and choke can all indicate dental problems. An annual visit from the equine dentist is vital to the overall health of your elderly friend.

Degenerative Disease

Reduced mobility due to the onsite of arthritic conditions is common in old age. This is characterised by a gradual loss of cartilage resulting in the formation of bone spurs and fluid filled joints.  This is characterised by stiffness in the joints and lameness.

There is a distinction to be made between the ‘healthy’ older horse and one that is in poor condition or health and feeding, exercise and general management regimes should always be tailored to the individual horse.

Lifeforce Focus, the supplement from Alltech is specially designed for leisure and companion horses and those that may spend more time grazing, helping to create a healthy digestive environment.

Studies have shown that Lifeforce contains yeast products that optimize digestive health and address challenges related to body condition, a common problem among veteran horses and ponies.

A 5kg tub of Lifeforce Focus retails at £60, for a three month supply.

For further information please visit or telephone 01780 764512.

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