Horses - Diet and Nutrition/senior horse


QUESTION: We are getting a 20 year old quarter horse gelding. He is at a fairly healthy weight. You can see his ribs, but not too much. I was thinking about Purina senior horse feed. If I feed him this how much? We will be riding him maybe 1-2 hours a day.

ANSWER: Hi Elizabeth,

Thank you for your question.  The Purina Senior feed is a good concentrate for older horses, especially for those having age-related digestive issues.  It is meant to replace other forages in the diet either in part or in its a lot like a forage replacement.  If you plan on working your horse 1-2 hours a day, the Senior feed may not be the best choice and may not be energy dense enough to support the workload.  

If you have access to good quality grass and/or hay I would first and foremost recommend that you provide as much of it as your horse will eat.  Then consider Purina's Strategy Healthy Edge as a supplement to help support the amount of work you're doing.  It will provide energy in a form more suited to older horses. Without knowing the quality of hay I can't give an exact feeding rate for the strategy but the feeding directions on the bag are a useful guideline.  The only way to know for sure how much grain to feed is to analyze your forages and calculate a ration from that. If over time you feel he's not maintaining body condition I would suggest adding beet pulp to the diet, it will help with body weight and acts as a forage.

I hope that helps.

Thanks, Corlena

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Yes we have both grass and hay. He gets both. He is going to get an hour a day of grass until he's used to it, and then move up from there. He may be ridden ebb more just light work though. Where could I get beet pulp? Thank you!

Hi Elizabeth,

You can usually find beet pulp at your local feed store and is sold in 25kg bags.  It is available in pellets or shreds and should be soaked in water before you feed it.  The only difference between the two is that shreds will soak up water and make a mash faster than the pellets.  

Thanks, Corlena

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Corlena Patterson


I can help with any of your horse nutrition questions and concerns. I have been involved with horses for closing on 40 years, with a B.Sc in Animal Science and currently working on an M.Sc in Equine Science with the University of Edinburgh. I have owned my own feed store, consulted professionally as an equine nutritionist, and lectured in the fields of equine and dairy nutrition at the University level for 5 years. I have developed and currently market 'Ration-X', a ration formulation program for horses...designed for the everyday horse owner. I am happy to help in any way I can.


Experienced in developing and implementing feed programs for horses of all disciplines, creating custom horse supplements and managing inter-disciplinary equine facilities. Specialize in equine nutrition consulting.

The American Society of Equine Appraisers

'Stable Management' Handbook, Equine Canada.

M.Sc (Equine Science-current), B.Sc(Agr) Animal Science, Equine Sports Massage Therapy Certification, Farrier Certification, Equine Consultant Certification, Certified Equine Appraiser, Certified in Emergency Equine Rescue.

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