Saturday, November 18, 2017

Senior horsekeeping in the winter

As we head into winter, I've noticed some more signs that P is really feeling her age. During some of the short cold snaps that tell us winter is on its way, I've noticed that she moves a bit more stiffly. In my last post, I was considering putting P on a senior supplement to help with joints, digestion, and overall health. But when I actually started looking at supplements, I discovered that there are so many choices out there! I have to admit that I became overwhelmed and haven't actually tried any of them yet. So I need to be more decisive and get P on something soon. I know there are a lot of claims that senior supplements don't work - I plan to give one a try, and if it doesn't work, then we'll either stop or try something else!

I've also been trying to bed P's shelter with a thicker layer of shavings to help her get up and down more easily. I have to say that P is quite good at using it as a bathroom, so it's more expensive and it makes cleaning more difficult for me, but she also lies down more - and of course, it's all about her comfort!

P has also been quidding her hay a lot. The dentist did check her teeth this fall, and they're still okay but wearing down quite a bit. Therefore, I've been soaking more mashes and trying to find the softest hay and hay alternatives. We tried one brand of alfalfa/timothy hay cubes - and according to P, they were ABSOLUTELY NOT ACCEPTABLE! P wouldn't touch them! So recently I tried a different brand, and so far, so good. Let's hope P keeps eating them!

Winter is a tough time of year for any horsekeeping, and I think that keeping senior horses happy and healthy during the winter is an even tougher job! Keeping them comfortable and well-fed often involves a lot of extra work and expense - and I honestly can't imagine doing anything else during the winter! Keeping P happy makes me happy, and I hope we'll both get through this upcoming winter in good shape.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The senior supplement junkie

Hello, blog world! It's been ... well ... a really long time. I hope all of you and your horses are doing well.

P is doing great, although I have to admit that she has really continued to age over the past year (yes, that's probably how long it's been since I've blogged). She is still happy and healthy, but I do feel like there's a bit more stiffness in her on those chilly mornings, and her muscle tone and topline aren't quite what they used to be. (Don't worry - she gets routine vet care, and this is just normal aging.)

As I've mentioned before, her teeth also aren't great, so she eats a lot of soaked, soft food. Sometimes she also has loose manure which tells me that she isn't always digesting her food well either. So lately I've been considering adding some supplements to her diet. I have to admit that I've been perusing the SmartPak catalog - and WOW! - there are a lot of senior supplements out there. SmartPak even has quite a few combo supplements that are supposed to address everything from joints to digestion to vitamins to hooves to skin/coat to just about anything else you could think of!

Honestly, as we age, our diets change. We ourselves may even need supplements! So it's not unreasonable to supplement our horses' diets, too, especially since we have so many products available. I would like to add a digestion supplement and a vitamin/mineral supplement to P's diet to make sure she is getting all her nutrients as she ages. Are there any supplements that you would recommend, whether SmartPak or another brand?