Senior horses can lead long, active, happy lives with minimal care if thought is given to their specific diet, mental and environmental needs.
Use a consistent protocol and premium products for Seniors: clean water, ample grazing, supplements, quality feed, room to exercise, pasture pals (no bullies!) and covered shelter from extreme weather.
1. Feed twice a day at the same time to avoid anxiety and minimize digestive distress.
2. Serve easy-to-chew clean hay such as flakes of organic prairie grass and alfalfa blends, or a soft crunchy prepared feed such as THRIVE (1-940-465-9836, firstname.lastname@example.org ) that addresses enzyme needs and avoids hard-to-digest grains.
3. Work toward homeostasis:
a) Aid circulation
b) Assist the immune (ex. Echinacea, Garlic, Kelp, Bee Pollen, Ginseng etc.)
c) Worm gently and regularly (Tip: declining withers is common for older horses; worms can be a factor)
d) Flush the kidney and support the liver once a year; more if under stress or signs of stress are visible.
4. Tackle specific issues of your senior:
a) Pain (ex. herbal bute www.herbs4horses.com )
b) Joint distress (ex. Yucca, devils claw, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, MSM etc.)
c) Diarrhea (ex. Diarrhea Aid by Rivas Remedies 1-800-405-6643)
d) Emergencies (ex. Rescue Remedy by Bach www.bachcentre.com )
e) Fly mask and spray (ex. Ricochet by Equilite 866-791-3344, www.equilite.com )
f) Fungus and other dermatological issues (ex. Anti-fungal spray or salve by Zephyrs Garden 1-805-969-7059 www.zephyrsgarden.com )
g) Infection (ex. #25 INF-X by Silver lining Herbs 1-866-543-6956, www.silverliningherbs.com )
h) Digestion (ex. Ulcers/colic-licorice, slippery elm, Meadow Sweet, Milk Thistle)
i) Blindness (ex. Eyebright, billberry, gingo, rosehips)
j) Respiration (ex. Bronchial dilators such as Chinese herbs)
Interact with your old friend often, ride gently if both parties enjoy the activity. Take the time to listen. Honor them as they have served you!
Shari Frederick, BS, NMD, LE, a nutritional educator, assists horseowners in making healthier, more natural choices in horse care. She is an advocate of natural prevention and support for overall health, healing and stronger immune systems for both humans and animals. Shari is an independent author, international lecturer and self-styled naturalist. Visit Shari’s websites, horserescuefaces.com , healthyhorsehints.com