20+ Years Old
Thanks for new technology, preventative care, and a greater knowledge, horses are living longer and more useful lives than ever before. A horse can easily live well into their 20s and 30s with the proper care and while genetics do play a role in longevity, nutrition also has a major impact.
As the horse ages, the body does not function as efficiently has in its youth. The bones and joints take a toll from wear and tear, the immune system is less dependable, the digestive tract does not function as well as before, and older horses are more prone to respiratory, dental, and eye problems. Senior horses may also have a more difficult time maintaining their body weight in extreme weather conditions.
Due to the special needs of senior horses, the senior diet should:
Be easy to chew and swallow
Have at least 12-16% protein
Be clean and dust free
Provide calcium and phosphorus minerals in the proper ratio
Contain essential vitamin, especially Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), and B-complex vitamins
Be high fiber for easier digestion
Have a vegetable source to provide easily digestible fat
Control pests and parasites in stalls and pastures by maintaining a clean environment
Also have access to clean and unlimited water
In addition to a healthy diet, make sure your horse has its teeth checked twice a year. This will help allow your horse to eat and digest its food more easily. As horse's age, they are more susceptible to developing issues such as tumors, arthritis, reproductive problems, Cushing’s syndrome, renal disease, and other maladies. Proper nutrition and care, regular checkups, and an open line of communication with your veterinarian are vital to the health and longevity of your older friend.
For more information, please contact your veterinarian.
AAEP. “Older Horse: Special Care and Nutrition.” AAEP, 2017,