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I have a 24 year old gelding who recently foundered. A recent bloodtest has indicated that he may be insulin resistant. It has been 6 weeks since his initial symptoms and is improving daily. I would like to know what would be an appropriate diet for him. I currently have him on alfalfa and rice bran (1 lb daily) mixed with a small amount of rolled oats. I am concerned about any sugars or carbohydrates in his diet. I would appreciate any information you could provide


Your concerns about limiting highly digestible carbohydrates in your horse's diet are well-founded. An insulin-resistant older horses should be fed a diet low in starch and sugars. The alfalfa/rice bran diet that you are feeding may be appropriate if your horse is able to maintain his body weight, but you may need more rice bran or some other source of fats and oils to maintain adequate body condition. If this horse is also overweight, then this is not a problem. You should also not neglect the horse's mineral needs, and should supply a salt/vitamin/mineral block that is specifically designed for horses, not other livestock species.

As an alternative to feeding hay, rice bran and free-choice salt and vitamin/mineral supplementation, you might choose to buy a high fat and fiber senior horse feed that is also supplemented with vitamins and minerals, that you can feed as a complete feed or in conjunction with some hay. You might try this alternative feeding strategy if your horse does not continue to improve on the diet that you are currently feeding.

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