Yesterday, as I was preparing our Thanksgiving repast, my Yankee-Irish horsewhispering boyfriend commented on the feast we were going to serve the 33-year-old horse who boards with us.
He gets the same feast twice a day, after the pastures are retired for the year: McCauley’s Longevity, McCauley’s Alam, Nutrena Empower Boost and McCauley’s (unrefined) rice bran oil, with enough hot water to make a mash.
He has some trouble chewing these days and even our best equine dentist can’t do anything to help him on that score. But he nibbles on grass and grass hay and polishes off every leaf on the two flakes of alfalfa that he gets fed in a big tub at night, leaving a sculptural lacework of stems for us in the morning.
His owner says that he looks half his age. When he came to board with us two years ago, she thought he might last a year. Now, we’re wondering whether he’s going to take one of us to The Century Club (he can still do a beautiful half pass on a good day).
As anyone who’s cared for a senior horse knows, it’s hard to ensure that older horses get sufficient nutrition, enough calories to keep weight on, and as much as possible, a steady stream of fiber and water to keep their guts in good working order.
My “secret ingredients” are the rice bran oil, which I think is better than any weight gain supplement out there (I must have tried them all, when I had my far-end-of-the-bell-curve hard keeper) and the plain old water that makes the mash.
Whenever I hear that someone’s aged equine has stopped eating, my recommendation is to add McCauley’s rice bran oil. I’ve never known a horse that won’t start eating again once he gets a taste of it. It makes any meal a feast.