joescheyder asked in PetsOther - Pets · 1 decade ago


My 23 year old Quarter Horse is gradually getting skinnier. We have him on hay, grain(just recently switched from reg. to senior)two coffee cans per day, and he is always out in the pasture grazing. Is there anything else I need to do?? Is this normal for an older horse????

18 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It is common for horses as they get older to be harder to keep weight on, they don't absorb nutrients as well. Here are some tips

    -have his teeth floated!!(if they are sharp he won't be able to chew well and will loose food out the side of his mouth)

    -as soon as it starts to get cold, put a blanket on him, don't make him waste calories shivering

    -Keep up to date on vet and worming, older horses have weakear immune systems so its easier for them to catch something and not be able to fight it off as easy as a young horse

    -Check for a thyroid problem...

    good idea switching him to the senior, it may take a couple of weeks for you to really start seeing the benifits so don't give up. Also, depending on how the rest of his health is (any joint problems?) you may want to consider a joint or other supplement. They do make weight gain supplements but you should talk to your vet first to see if it is nessissary.

  • 1 decade ago

    If he was dropping weight fast, then that is when should get worried. However, since he is gradually getting skinnier, then I would just keep an eye out on him and get him vet checked more often for health check up.

    Quarter Horse's adv life spanned is 28 years. It is around 24 to 25 when they start to have their withers start to prompt, sink in at the spine, causing more rounded barrel and start to sink in at the hips-exposing the hip bones. Some horses can be as young as 20 showing age signs.

    I have a 29 year old Quarter Gelding. He started to have it noticeable at 26. Healthy and maintaining his weight is the key. However, it is natural to have their weight decrease. You can maintain it by doing what you are doing.

    You know your horse more than we do so, can't give exact of what to feed him and how much. That depends on him. Reason why a vet check might give you of what to start and you adjust it to how the horse reacts.

    We put down our 38 year old appy a few years ago who decreased in weight over time. The older he got, the harder it got. We put him on straight pellets with his supplements. Then we had to grind the pellets since he no longer had teeth to chop the pellets.

    Good to look for "hay balls" or "glops" of wet hay that the horse has been un-successful in chewing due to teeth.

    You can supple in hay cubs or pellets at least 5 pounds a day with his normal feed. It will be a lot for him since he is grazing etc. But through out the day he can munch on it and you can adjust it by his activity and interest. Him having free way of walking/running/playing can increase the burning of calorie intake. So, feeding a little extra will help maintain that.

  • 1 decade ago

    there are sme very good points that have been made above,

    there is only one thing that No one else metioned that plages older horses

    this is sand collic, This is when a horses stomic and digestive track get ladden with dirt and sand,

    It is a comon problem in older horses that spend a lot of time free grazeing,

    It also something that is fairly easy to prevent and or cure, all you have to do is add sellinum to there water and the corn oil metioned above helps also.

    If a vet gives your horse a clean bill of health after his teeth are checked, andd floated if needed this should help put weight back on him

    ( can refures to a 3 puond coffie can.)

    1/2 can burmuda pellets

    1/4 can of rice brain

    1/2 can beet pulp (soaked for 2 hours in warm water.)

    1 cup red brain

    1 scoop of wheigh gain

    1 ounce red cell

    1 small scoop of M.S.M. Helps older horses keep joints in shape.

    1/8 cup of corn oil

    feed once a day in the evening, in about 2 weeks you will see a diffrance in his weight. but you need to stay away from oats and sweet feeds unless you are working this horse hard, this will hipe the horse up and will cause wheight loss.

    Source(s): run a horse rescue with the local livestock inspector and own breed and train quarter horses as well as paints, roping,penning and cutting events.
  • 1 decade ago

    Older horses do often lose weight, but this is not healthy for their bodies and often compromises their immune systems. First, see your vet. Weight loss, especially in horses, is often a symptom of disease. If the vet gives your QH a clean bill of health, try switching hays. What type of hay is he currently getting? Orchard grass, timothy, and most mixes are fairly low-calorie; alfalfa and oat are more rich. Sometimes even swithcing from a grass hay to a grass-alfalfa mix is enough.

    You can also add about a half-cup of corn oil to his grain with each feeding. Don't go overboard on this, though, because corn oil is strictly calories, not nutrients, so if your pal is not getting the nutrients he needs from his grass, corn oil with not improve his health.

    There are also commercial calorie supplements that you could try. I know one is called Weight Builder (I think it's by Farnam.)

    Good luck!

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  • 1 decade ago

    Horses over the age of 16 tend to suffer from weight loss, dental problems, pituitary/thyroid dysfunction, kidney or liver failure and arthritis. But with special care, elderly equines can live long, healthy, productive lives.


    1. Have your senior horse checked out by a veterinarian. Check for dental problems - teeth should be checked twice a year in horses over 20 - and get a blood test to screen for kidney and liver problems.

    2. Watch your senior horse for changes in body condition, behavior and attitude, the first signs of aging. Provide food that is easy to chew and swallow.

    3. Do your best to keep your horse in a clean, dust-free environment to prevent or lessen the impact of allergies or lung disease.

    4. Provide plenty of protection from the elements. An older horse may require warmer blankets and even a heat lamp for cold weather, and a fan and shade in the summer.

    5. Have your older horse shod regularly whether you ride it or not.

    6. Groom your older horse frequently to promote circulation and skin health.

    7. Look for any new or unusual lumps; these may be tumors.

    8. Give your horse essential vitamins and minerals. Calcium and phosphorus in the proper ratio and vitamins C and B complex are all important. Talk to your vet.

    9. Realize that hormonal and metabolic changes affect your horse's ability to digest, absorb and utilize essential nutrients, especially protein, phosphorus and fiber.

    10. Feed your older horse a diet especially designed for it. Special complete rations formulated to address the nutritional needs of older horses are available. Older horses should get 12 to 16 percent protein in their diet and additional fat to help keep weight up.

    11. See that your older horse gets plenty of exercise.


    Your horse has given you years of good service and care, make sure you do the same for it.

    If you have any questions or concerns, contact a veterinarian before engaging in any activity related to health and diet.

    Source(s): animal expert-future vet; experienced pet owner
  • 1 decade ago

    Talk to the vet about things he could be on to help him with his older age. Some older horses need a suppliment to help them with there weight. He could also need to have his teeth floated or be wormed. Make sure you have a good vet to float your horses teeth. My friends elderly horse died because the vet broke her jaw with the thing they crank there mouth open with. I'm not trying to scare you but just make sure you have a experienced vet help you with your horse. Older horses need special care because they're bones are more brittle and they are more fragile.

    Source(s): Horse owner
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    is he wormed on schedule? they could be the reason. also his teeth may need floated. i was thinking that their was a kitchen item that would help him keep weight on, like vegetable oil or something like that, but I cant remeber. Talk to you vet. the horse, being the age that he is, may just be naturally losing weight due to old age. your vet will know of anything else you can try.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Thats not real abnormal for a horse that age...I would call my vet if it continues...worms maybe?? what kind of hay are you feeding him?? Alfalfa is def. better to put some weight on him You could also add some bran and oil to his feed...Best of Luck

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    you need to contct your vet immediately. it bcould also be a dental problem. in my 4h club a girl brought in the skull of an 8 year old haflinger pony they found in the creek and we think it died because the bottom teeth went in as the upper teeth went out. and when the horse was no longer able to chew its food it starved together.

    didn't mean to scare you if i did!

  • 1 decade ago

    Have a vet do a blood profile on him.He shouldnt be too skinny neven at that age.Then youll know whats up and have him checked for parasites.

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