One of the harder things about owning an older horse, amongst all their individual complications and need for additional support, is their teeth!
Bodie (aka Nanny McPhee as she is known to some on the yard) has the unfortunate combination of an active body, but her mouth as quoted by one of her dentists is like 'a bomb has gone off in her mouth'. This has made things really difficult, particularly when it comes to getting the right amount of nutrients in her.
Bodie has all of about 5 working teeth, she finds grazing difficult and she struggles with long fibre forage. So I am stuck in a conundrum, my horse has the brain of a 10 year old but stuck in the body (and mouth!) of a 30 year old. It is hard keeping veteran horses in good condition, when so much of their diet requires fibre and without the ability to chew, rapidly decreases chances of having a happy, healthy and stable gut.
Bodie's teeth are loose, wobbly and need very little encouragement to fall out! However with advances in horse feeds it has made it much easier to be able to give her the nutrients she needs. This comes in the form of slop! It takes Bodie roughly an hour to eat her breakfast and dinner, I then also give her time to eat Dengie Performance Fibre (which she seems to be really enjoying and managing).
I am currently on Keyflow's Pink Mash - due to start trying their Golden Oldie mash alongside. She also has Allen & Page's Soothe and Gain. These two products are her main sources of feed, plenty of fibre and within 10 minutes it turns into the same consistency as baby food. I also feed her Dodson & Horrell's Competition Mix (upped nearer competition time for a bit more power, but otherwise she is on a small amount) and Saracen's Equijewel. I often change this around, I am always keen to try new feed solutions for her, however this mix of feed seems to be working and she is lapping up the slop. Potentially in winter when she starts being stabled again, I will need to have a rethink.
As a word of warning, this slop gets absolutely everywhere! All over the stable floor, walls and even the roof. Bodie has the habit of putting loads in her mouth, lifting her head up and then the slop falls out of the gaps in her mouth and ending up all over the floor. Bodie is not a clean eater, she will bury her head into the feed bowl so that it is practically going up her nostrils and whilst I patiently wait for her to finish eating, she sometimes comes over to me, so I get it down my arms, down my legs, down my shoulder, in my hair. It's quite a look that's for sure!
So I guess my final message is that it is manageable, it's not quick or easy to feed the older horse but I guess you only get out what you put in.