I am very fortunate to still own my very first pony who is now 18-years-old. We have done everything together and he is a massive part of my life. During the winter he has lost some weight can you help.
The Equerry Nutrition Team answer…
It’s completely understandable that you want to provide your first pony with the best nutritional care now that he is a veteran. Weight loss is a common problem for older horses. However, if your pony is dropping weight on a diet that once kept him in ideal condition it’s important to firstly rule out any underlying clinical condition. We recommend that your vet carries out a full equine MOT to rule out any problems such as Cushing’s or liver disease.
One of the most common reasons for weight loss in older horses is age-related deterioration in their dental health, which can make chewing forage difficult or even impossible. Your vet will be able to diagnose any dental problem. However, useful checks that you can carry out yourself are to monitor for any signs of quidding or evidence of larger quantities of longer stems of fibre in your pony’s droppings. If poor dental condition is the root of your pony’s weight loss then this can easily be addressed by feeding Equerry High Fibre Nuts as a soaked gruel, instead of his normal forage.
Provided your pony is not suffering from any underlying clinical problem Equerry Veteran Mix is the ideal bucket feed. It is specifically formulated for older horses and is flavoured with spearmint to tempt even the fussiest feeder. Equerry Veteran Mix will provide your pony with higher levels of calories and quality protein to help him maintain condition and muscle tone. However, do remember that if your pony is retired he will not have the same well-developed muscles as a horse in work.
Research has suggested that as horses’ age they may become less efficient at extracting nutrients from their feed. To help maintain digestive efficiency and support a healthy hind-gut Equerry Veteran Mix contains added yeast. Evidence also suggests that the older horse’s immune system may be compromised and this can increase the risk of illness. Choosing a feed that contains raised levels of antioxidants, such as Equerry Veteran Mix, is thought to benefit the older horse by helping to maintain correct immune function.
Equerry Veteran Mix is fully-balanced and when fed at the recommended rate will provide your pony with the correct levels of vitamins, minerals and trace-elements. As a guide a pony weighing 250kg would need 1-1.5kg Equerry Veteran Mix daily. This should be divided into at least 2 small meals, fed at least 4 hours apart.