Follow Dengie nutritionist Tracey Hammond’s advice on how to replace hay in the diet of an older horse who struggles to chew.
When older horses start to struggle to chew long-stem forage, the first step it to try a short chop fibre feed such as a senior feed designed specifically for the older horse as a hay replacer. Not all fibre feeds are suitable as a hay replacer and so it’s best to check with the supplier which of their fibre feeds are suitable.
If your horse struggles to chew and also needs help to maintain weight, an un-molassed sugar beet product can also form a useful part of the hay replacer ration.
If your horse struggles to chew even short chopped fibre feeds, then high fibre cubes may be fed soaked to a mash to totally replace hay.
If your horse already receives a balanced ration from his bucket feed, then choose a high fibre cube with no added vitamins and minerals to avoid over-supplementing.
A horse that’s permanently stabled should receive at least 1.5-2% of his bodyweight daily as a forage replacement, for example a 500kg horse should receive 7.5kg-10kg of feed.