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Top Tips for Feeding the Veteran Horse

Top Tips for Feeding the Veteran Horse

As our horses get older, it’s important that we pay even closer attention to their health. Naturally, as horses age, their bodies will start to slow down and maintaining normal function of body systems may require support. It may be that normal circulatory and lymphatic functions start to slow down; liver and kidneys may be affected, and the immune system may not be as efficient. Often their dietary requirements will change to require more protein, more or less oil depending on whether they’re a good or poor doer, and sometimes a pre and probiotic which can help the older horse to enhance digestion.



Fibre and Feeds

A common issue facing most horses as they age, is the condition of their teeth, which can have a significant impact on their ability to chew, particularly long stem fibre. In time, this can lead to weight loss, along with health implications as a result of insufficient fibre or a deficiency in some nutrients if they are lacking in the diet. Due to this, it is important to have regular dental checks for your veteran horse, but also to closely monitor their weight by body condition scoring and using a weigh tape.



If it becomes apparent your horse is struggling with long stem fibre, including hay and/or haylage, consider a hay replacer. Fibre Blocks are an ideal choice as they provide 1kg of compressed fibre which, when soaked in 5 litres of water, will swell to fill a bucket with soft, easy to chew forage.



Similarly, you may notice your horse or pony struggling to chew his hard feed. If he has a pelleted feed, try soaking this to form a mash which will be easier for your horse to eat, but do check the manufacturers advice. Some feed companies market ‘veteran feeds’ as developed specifically to suit the aging horse, but it is best to seek the advice of an equine nutritionist who can advise on the most suitable diet for your horse. Additionally, ensure that the horse’s diet is always balanced, so provide him with a vitamin and mineral supplement if necessary. Vitamins and minerals are essential for all body functions, as well as energy transfer between cells and the condition of skin and hooves. Read more about vitamins and minerals here.



Some older horses will benefit from extra nutritional support. In the wild, horses would be able to self-select from various herbs and plants to support body systems which may become a bit less efficient as they age. Domestic horses generally don’t have a wide variety of supportive plants at their disposal, so it can be beneficial to source these and add them to their diet.


Veteranaid is a 100% herbal supplement, providing seven helpful tonic herbs which are useful for supporting the lymphatic, circulatory and immune systems.


These herbs include:

-          Milk thistle seeds, proven to support the liver by the active component Silymarin

-          Dandelion supports kidney function

-          Clivers aid the lymphatic system

-          Echinacea is well known to help the immune system

-          Burdock is thought to support respiration

-          Nettle supports circulation

-          Ginkgo is renowned for its ability to aid cognitive function


Veteranaid can be fed long term and is particularly beneficial for the older horse, however, it can be fed to horses of all ages as a general tonic and “pick-me-up”.