View Full Version : What do u do with your older horses?

Sam n
30th March 2011, 04:57 PM
My little mare has been struggling with her back legs recently slower on hacks, reluctant to have them picked out etc. Got the back last week who found no problems other than arthritis. She's 17 years old and has a tendon injury RF and her diagonal LH is worse with the arthritis. She's been on superflex for years but it has been suggested to add some devils claw for pain relief. I will try this and if this doesn't help I will obviously consult the vet for further pain relief suggestions.
She's hacked out every other day and schooled once a week for half an hour.
Does this sound ok? I'm worried about overdoing it but I'm sure exercise is good for arthritis.
I've just realised she's getting old bless her :(.

30th March 2011, 05:44 PM
I don't really know what to do with older horses but my lovely boy is getting on now (he is 16 and an ex racehorse so has had a hard life). I can feel him slowing down and I don't know how best to deal with it. He enjoys going out but it takes him a long time to warm up. I've tried cutting down his work but he gets super grumpy so maybe I should just up his work and he might get a new lease of life?

30th March 2011, 06:27 PM
If she's finding it too tough, then you could drop the schooling, and stick to just hacking.
My TB was fine upto about 20 and then she seemed to find work harder but she still enjoyed going out. So I gradually reduced her workload until we found a level that was comfortable for her - you just get to feel what is right for the individual horse. I gave her devils claw then and it did help.
By 23 she really wasn't happy being ridden anymore, but we did do some inhand walkies to let her have a change of scene from time to time. So she really was completely retired from 23 to 26.

Boo's mom
30th March 2011, 06:30 PM
Have to say I'm really lucky with my 24 year old, as yet he's not really needed any supplements and is worked as he was when he was younger :o.
But I'm a great believer in natural remedies where possible. Give mine rosehips and brewers yeast cos heard they are both good for the coat, but read that rosehips are meant to be good for joints too.
Would definately give the devil's claw a go and see how you get on. Ooh and cider vinegar meant to good for joints too. I think keeping up the exercise is a good idea, keeps the joints from stiffening up.

The Little Magician
30th March 2011, 09:52 PM
Magic is 21 now and he is still going strong. Because he has breathing issues, as he gets bad sinus problems, I find he is alot better when he is kept fitter. I am the one having health issues at the moment, so I am finding it hard to keep them fit.

30th March 2011, 10:37 PM
I have a 38 year old and a 25 year old who are both in light work (mostly because of lack of riding over the winter they lost a lot of fitness ect) I’m hoping to get them fit enough to do a bit of basic dressage and showing out and about.

The 25 year old was hammered jumping at his old home and has various leg problems that get much much better when he’s doing something. It’s just a question of when sort of exercises he needs on a day to day basis. He also has arthritis but we work on the basis of the more muscle he can develop the more it’ll help support the rest of him and take the pressure off of areas that shouldn’t be taking pressure.

Oddly the 38 year old is much fitter! The only problem with him is that he has wobbly knees and stumbles a lot, so he needs work on getting off the forehand.

I think you need to work with what you think is best for your horse. Maybe cut the school work until she’s feeling better with her legs, or minimise it so that she’s just doing walk work and plenty of bending to help keep her supple? You could then increase it as you feel she's ready. I do agree that it's good to keep them moving or they just stiffen up!

30th March 2011, 10:56 PM
with school work i do purely suppling work with my 21 year old. she would be fine to do more and i would do more except she has an old tendon injury
i think the work should be kept constant and built up graduallly-loads walking work is excellent.
older horses dont tend to cope with extremes of work
also keeping them gently active as much as possible is best-ie plenty turnout....
also keeping feet very well balanced very important

31st March 2011, 07:27 AM
Ferds is 21 this year and he copes fine with light hacking. Mainly in walk, but the odd trot/canter if/when the ground is soft enough. He takes a good 15 mins to warm up, so i let him take it at his own pace until he is more supple!

He is on a glucosamine supplement and i feel this has really helped his joints. He lives out 24/7 also. I do not do any trotting on roads or hard ground as this puts too much pressure on his joints. I also do no small circles/lunging etc as again it is too much strain on his joints.

31st March 2011, 07:38 AM
The problem with older horses when it is time to slow things down is what do YOU do? This is the problem I am facing. I have a horse for my enjoyment and enjoy competing and jumping, xc etc. When my lad can no longer do this I will not be able to afford the money or time to have 2 horses. Do I sell as a happy hacker? loan as a hacker? Give away as a companion? None of the options I like but a decision I may have to make in the next coupe of years.
I don't have my own land so it is difficult to have 2 horses.
I'm sure there are others on here in the same predicament?

Ambers Mum
31st March 2011, 04:27 PM
My 38 year old was still doing light hacking and a few veteran showing classes right up until she died in December. She loved her work and never suffered with any stiffness or problems with her health until the day she died of colic.

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/5772_1228953083070_1206377093_30675114_692646_n.jp g

My 23 year olds gelding goes for walks regulary but he is fully retired due to ill health. He just has flax oil and Thinkitch.

Mon-ami is 30 years old and still does loads, she gets stiff if she doesn't work so I hack her out and my children show her regulary, she has qualified for several big championships in the past couple of years. I know she will retire at some point but she will tell me when she is ready. She has Superflex and flax oil in her feeds.
I also have a 15 year old nf who is no where near what you would think a 15 year old should be. she is a nutty mare who is extremely hyper and even when she gets as old as mony she will never retire like an ordinary pony lol...like sov I see Star being active until the end.

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/190535_2853043684320_1206377093_101454946_3921336_ n.jpg

1st April 2011, 09:52 PM
Dancer is 18 this year and not really feeling or showing her age at all. People ask whether she is actually 4 or 5 lol. the only trace of her age is some grey hairs in her forelock now! *sob* But today the riding instructer actually commented on how active her hind legs are and that most younger horses would struggle to achieve that! She only competes in dressage schooling elem and touching on some medium elements. we do do a bit of jumping and xc as well but havent for about a year but now we have transport it can all commence again!

1st April 2011, 09:59 PM
I think it depends on the horse - type, size etc. Stan is 14 now and I have heard that Haflingers can happily work to the age of 40 so I think I will wear out before him. When he is 24 I will be 65 so I think we will be growing old disgracefully together.

Sam n
2nd April 2011, 10:42 AM
Thanks everyone. It's nice to hear that most older horses are still going strong. I've just added devils claw to her superflex so I'm hoping to notice a difference in the next couple of weeks. She's living out for the summer now and the warmer weather will certainly help.

2nd April 2011, 08:45 PM
It's great to hear of all these older horses that are still in work. I used to jump my friends horse and she was atleast 24 years old and she was still really fast against the clock and out on the xcountry course. I only stopped competing on her because my friend started to have time to do it again herself.
My oldest horse, Danser, will be 20 in a few weeks and i'm in 2 minds about retiring her now, only because she injured a ligament a few years ago and she looked a little sore on it a couple of days ago. If she stays sound for the next couple of weeks then i will continue to ride her out on hacks, i can't do any schooling with her as she goes a bit lame if i do any circles with her if her bad leg is on the inside of a circle. The only reason i am even considering carrying on riding her is because she adore being worked.

16th April 2011, 03:54 PM
exercise is definitely beneficial when they've got arthritis as it stops them stiffening up - let us know how the devils claw goes, i want to try it with one of ours!
all our horses are getting to the stage of being old now - buttons, the little welsh pony, is in his late 20s but you'd never know unless someone told you, he's constantly galloping round the field like a loony and he's alarmingly fit considering he was "retired" a couple of years ago! so he exercises himself really! - he gets lunged a bit to keep the weight off him, and i take him for walks / he takes me running as a change of scenery - he's still too insane for my little brother and sister to even think about learning to ride on but maybe he can take them out in about 30 years time when he may have calmed down a little ;) i've only just started noticing some stiffness in his front legs when he comes out of his stable in the morning, so i'm looking into finding him a supplement to help with that - he can't stay out 24/7 because he gets fat just looking at grass so he has to have limited turnout!
my mums horse just turned 20 but you wouldn't know with him either, he's never had anything wrong with him, fingers crossed. he gets ridden most days, mainly hacking but he loves to jump as its something he's only recently found out about so he does a couple of ones, and he loves to run as soon as he sees grass, bless him. he's still fit & healthy enough to do fun rides and things (racing everyone else), hes like buttons in that i can't see him ever slowing down.

bailey is technically the youngest of the lot at 15, but he has the joints of a much older horse and he's pretty much retired now, sadly :( we rescued him without knowing his past, but have since found out that when he was younger he was competed at quite a high level every week, did lots of jumping etc, then went to endless bad homes who either took advantage of his talent and thrashed him or were just plain nasty to him - so his joints are terrible now and i can only really walk him on hacks when he's in 'good health' - which is rare because he has so many medical issues and has recently had to spend a lot of time on box rest - which luckily, he seems to absolutely love - for some reason he's always hated going out in the field and now he gets to sleep all day in his stable with classic fm (his favourite) in the background, and just gets groomed in the evening and comments from all visitors on how pretty he is!

4th November 2011, 12:20 PM
Don't stress over your horse aging, we have an irish sport ex-racer who just turned 27 and he loves to keep going. Give him a day or two in a paddock at weekends and a lil' while to get going but he's still going :)
If you are worried about horses who are 16-18 you need stop (I know all horses are different) but they will be fine for a few years yet. If you don't believe me :-

4th November 2011, 12:32 PM
So sad how many of the horses mentioned in this thread are no longer with us :(

But at least they were all active and happy until the end.

RIP lovely ones xxx

Ambers Mum
21st November 2011, 01:33 PM
So sad how many of the horses mentioned in this thread are no longer with us :(

But at least they were all active and happy until the end.

RIP lovely ones xxx

I was just thinking this Liz. Mony has gone down hill since her accident in the field and I dont think she is going to go through the winter now xx