Nutrition is the cornerstone of rehabbing a senior horse. Without proper nutrition, all the other work you may do will not be nearly as effective.
Several years ago, I started rehabbing senior horses with one horse who was a hard keeper. My intention was to bring about a fully alive, thriving senior horse. I started with evaluating his diet.
I decided to feed him the highest quality hay I could find, and not skimp. Yes, it was more expensive, but I wanted to give him the best diet possible, so I might just have a chance at improving his health and well-being in his golden years.
That first year I owned him, I had $1000 in vet bills. I still stuck with my plan of feeding him the best diet possible, with the cornerstone being high quality eastern Washington hay and a mineral supplement to balance the nutritional profile of the hay. Six years later, I haven’t had any vet bills since that first year, other than routine maintenance. My horse feels great, is thriving, and is going on 33 years old. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
The better food you feed your horse, the better your horse can maintain itself and the lower the vet bills will be. I figure I’m going to spend money somewhere. I’d rather have it be on high quality hay.