Feeding an elderly horse with Cushings, diabetes, and insulin resistance ??

Hi, I have a 31 year old Morgan that has been diagnosed with Cushings, diabetes, and insulin resistance. He’s not supposed to get any sugar (molasses) or grain. He’s lost a few molars but still eats alfalfa surprisingly well. I do think he needs some sort of senior or complete feed supplement, though. But they all seem to have the stuff in them that he’s not supposed to eat. Any ideas? Thanks!

Insulin resistance is really diabetes :slight_smile:

Is he having any issues now? I mean, is he laminitic, has he already had trouble with that?

Some IR horses can handle alfalfa, some can’t. He likely can eat the alf pretty well because it’s good quality with soft leaves and not a lot of stems.

Alfalfa cubes, or other hay cubes are another option, they just need to be soaked, which can be problematic in the Winter if you’re cold enough.

Triple Crown Sr is a low sugar+starch feed that works very well for a lot of metabolic horses. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you he can’t have molasses - molasses doesn’t make IR issues worse all on its own, you need context of how much there is, and the total NSC (sugar + starch) of the feed, and his whole diet. TC Sr has molasses, but is only 11.7% NSC. There are no cereal grains in a lot of feeds these days. Wheat middlings are as close as many come, and that’s the most nutritious part of the wheat, without all the sugar of the whole grain.

Ration balancers are another option if he doesn’t need a whole bunch of calories.


I agree with JB. I had a Cushings Pony who, as he aged and lost teeth, gradually ended up living on Triple Crown Senior, and soaked beet pulp with no molasses and hay pellets. He lived until 33 on that diet. He lost the ability to chew hay or grass a few years before he died.


Agreed. It’s not necessary to “remove all sugar” from an IR horse’s diet, since grass and hay all have sugar in them. It is a good idea to remove “unnecessary sugar” from an IR horse’s diet, but they still have to eat.

TC Senior is a great feed. If that’s not available there are other complete options with low NSC. What feed brands can you get?

1 Like

If you have access to Triple Crown feeds, you might also check out the Timothy Balance hay cubes. They’re mineral balanced, so you can feed them without any supplements if that’s what he needs. If you need more calorie density, I’ll third (fourth?) the recommendation for TC Senior.

1 Like