The saying that you’re only as old as you feel can hold true for horses as well as humans. Opinions differ about what age a horse is considered a senior, with 20 years old being the average. But age doesn’t always determine how a horse functions.
If your older horse has reached the point where s/he is not maintaining body condition, it may be necessary to supplement the diet with senior feed.
However, before you make any changes in your horse’s diet, have your vet complete a thorough examination. Your horse may have joint problems and pain that could be the cause of any weight loss. The same is true if there is a dental issue or some other reason that will not be fixed by changes in diet.
If there are no underlying problems, it’s possible that your horse is not effectively using the nutrients from the present diet and will need a boost from supplements advised by your vet. Your senior may require a bit more protein and/or a vitamin/mineral supplement.
Often senior commercial feeds are complete and no added hay is necessary. But always check labels to make sure the proper nutrients are present.
If your horse is able to chew forage, a partial addition of senior feed may be all that is needed. Just make sure the diet is balanced and your horse is getting the right diet to maintain good health. Always consult with your vet before making any changes.