As our horses get older they all need that extra bit of care. Dentition deteriorates, it can become harder to maintain condition, and they become more prone to health conditions like Cushing’s. We love them more than ever, but circumstances change and so does how we have to look after our horses as they age.
Pure Feed customer Jackie Keene shares her experiences as her beloved Katie grew older.
Katie is a bold, capable and fantastic horse
“I have owned Katie since 2008 and she has been the most fantastic horse: very bold and capable. We have had so much fun together doing things I never thought I was brave enough to do.
I used to feed her on basic coarse mix, chaff and sugar beet. When she got older, I progressed her to a veteran mix as she struggled to maintain weight and condition during the winter. It was a routine vet check that diagnosed PPID (Cushing’s disease) and a complete change of diet was required. No molasses and low in starch – basically the polar opposite of what I had been feeding her!”
Cushing’s disease and other conditions that older horses are prone to
Cushing’s is a disease of the endocrine system where the pituitary gland stops working effectively. You may see weight loss and even a pot belly as the core muscles deteriorate. Fatty deposits often appear behind the eyes, on the ridge of the neck and above the tail. In addition to this, the healing of wounds slows down. Even mouth ulcers can turn really nasty. You’ll need to see a vet, but horses that suffer from Cushing’s will benefit from a diet that is low in sugar and starch as they can be prone to laminitis.
Laminitis is inflammation to the soft tissue that connects the pedal bone to the hoof and is painful for the horse. It can lead to lameness. In very serious cases your horse may need to be put down. As with Cushing’s, a diet that is low in sugar and starch can be beneficial.
What was the answer for Katie?
Jackie said: “There seemed to be an abundance of feeds catering for laminitis prone horses that are “good doers” but Katie isn’t. She needs more calories especially through the winter. So I put her on a “laminitis-friendly” feed and added oil. But during this time she went onto Prascend medication to manage the Cushing’s which can affect their appetite. She completely turned her nose up at this unappealing offering. I was literally throwing buckets of uneaten feed away on a daily basis.
Cue a Google search for a low sugar/starch diet, and that is how I discovered Pure Feeds.
After requesting a diet plan; I was advised to put Katie onto Pure Working as I was still doing a fair bit on her at this stage and this was pre-Pure Veteran days!
Well, she LOVED it! No more wasted feed, she takes her time to eat it which is much better for her. And what you don’t realise until you actually open a bag is how good it smells – really fresh and it looks like something a horse should be eating. Not all sticky and powdery like many of the grain-based feeds. Also, my shelf of additives has disappeared, it’s all in one bag which is fabulous.
I’m so pleased there is now a Pure Veteran, as when my vet gave me a list of all the things Katie needed to maintain condition at her age (now 24) they are literally all in that one bag!”
Two Pure feeding solutions for veteran horses
Pure Feed now has two feeds designed specifically for older horses. Pure Veteran Mix contains elevated levels of minerals and vitamins and a soft chop for easy chewing. It has been designed specifically for older horses who have a higher need for vitamins and minerals. With quality protein and extra slow-release calories, it helps senior horses who are still in regular work or require extra assistance maintaining condition. Click here to read more about Pure Veteran Mix
Our second solution for older horses is Pure Veteran Pellets. These have exactly the same nutritional benefits but come in a pellet form so can be served as a mash for older horses with really bad dentition. For more information on Pure Veteran Pellets click here.
As Jackie knows, both feeds are suitable for horses with Cushing’s, laminitis or gastric ulcers because they are low in sugar and low in starch.
Jackie concludes: “I don’t bother with Google searches for the best feed anymore. My younger horse is on Pure Condition and she looks utterly fabulous. I’m gradually converting all my horsey friends as well. Everyone who has tried it loves it, I can’t thank Pure enough!”