Items

Forums
Five Things The Older Horse Needs
 By mosquito   •   14th Aug 2011   •   4,859 views   •   18 comments
Owning a horse is a big responsibility, and it doesn’t end when your horse starts to age. If you have an older horse that is winding down, isn’t able to go riding very much (or at all), or even is deep into his twilight years you have a duty to provide him with the care that he deserves. Horses give us many years of love, fun, and even hard work, and they earn a comfortable retirement. That goes further than just feed and shelter – and old horse needs some extra special care, and here’s what he needs most.

Five Things The Older Horse Needs

1.

 

More health checks


For an older horse, if something goes wrong, it’s a lot harder to put it right. That means if he gets ill, his feet deteriorate, or he starts to lose weight, getting him back to health will be a lot tougher than with a younger horse. That’s why it’s critical that you don’t let him get into poor health in the first place. Older horses will need to see the farrier more often, will need to get their teeth checked more frequently, and generally if you sense something is wrong then don’t wait to get the vet out. Get to know your horse’s condition closely, so you spot quickly if something doesn’t seem right. If he doesn’t finish a meal, doesn’t seem to be drinking, gets a chip in his hoof, or generally looks a little dull, then get him checked out before you have a problem.

2.

 

Protection from the elements


An older horse will have more difficulty staying warm and keeping cool. In hot weather, make sure your older horse has plenty of shade and fresh water in easy reach. If your horses have to negotiate a steep bank to drink form a river your older horse may not want to make that effort and avoid drinking as much as he should, so make sure there are plenty of buckets or a trough of clean water. In the heat of the day, make sure he’s protected from flies with repellents or fly sheets, and sponge him off if it’s really hot – a quick dab on his head, around the girth area, and between his hind legs will cool the main pulse points and make him feel refreshed and comfortable. In cold weather, older horses can’t move around as much as younger ones to stay warm, so make sure he is adequately protected. If his winter coat isn’t coming in like it used to, make sure he has shelter from wind and rain, and use a rug if necessary. Digestion really helps to keep a horse warm – provide your old horse with plenty of hay if grass is sparse in the winter because the process of digesting that fiber will help to keep his temperature up.

3.

 

Peace and quiet


Many older horses find new careers as ‘babysitters’ for young or lonely horses. That’s fine if you are sure your old horse is suited to that kind of job. Some older horses get a little grumpy in their old age, and don’t appreciate the antics of younger, more playful horses. Your horse may enjoy their company for a little while, but offering your horse some time with more mature company – even if it’s different animals other than horses – may give him some welcome peace and time to rest!

4.

 

Empathy


Try to think about how your old horse feels. Sometimes he will be stiff and sore, he may not be in the best mood, or he may be annoyed with the other horse sin the field. Respect how he feels. It may mean you need to walk a little slower when you lead him, you may need to be gentler with brushing and grooming him, and you really need to be on the lookout for signs he is hungry, too hot or too cold, or otherwise uncomfortable. Treat old horses with extra care; be aware that they may have aches and pains or fatigue, and that they will have good days and bad days. Being able to see how your horse is feeling through his eyes is of extra importance to older horses, especially if they become very tired or less expressive in their old age. I rarely say to tolerate misbehavior from a horse, but if your oldie snaps at you or is otherwise grumpy, take a moment to think about why – he may have a very good reason.

5.

 

Love


You may not be riding your old horse anymore, or at all. But don’t forget about him. Take some time every day not just to give him a good check over for any warning signs of ill health, but set aside a little time every day to just be with him. Have a chat, scratch him in his favorite itchy spot, or bring a special treat. Old horses can be wonderful companions for you, and they are usually very happy to listen. Even five or ten minutes to let him know he’s still special can make all the difference to an old horse!
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  mosquito
Simplicity  
This is a great article
  Aug 14, 2011  •  3,249 views
 
ImaCoolCowgirl  
Very well written as always.
  Aug 14, 2011  •  3,251 views
 
FreeRein  
Great tips. Cash is getting old :P
  Aug 14, 2011  •  3,250 views
 
Horses4Ever  
Great Article! I have a 23 year old gelding mself.
  Aug 14, 2011  •  3,286 views
 
All That Jazz  
Great article. :)
  Aug 14, 2011  •  3,254 views
 
Stay Untamed  
Wonderful points and good article :)
  Aug 14, 2011  •  3,278 views
 
lovehorse  
Great article!
  Aug 15, 2011  •  3,249 views
 
Cruisin Past Curfew  
Great post :D We have a horse at our barn, and he is 27 years old! He is so sweet and lovable!
  Aug 15, 2011  •  3,252 views
 
Carpe Diem  
Great article. :)
  Aug 16, 2011  •  3,250 views
 
Bailey825  
Great info!
  54 days ago  •  3,350 views
 
JumperEventer1st  
Very educational. Thank you for posting this!!!
  54 days ago  •  3,266 views
 
Moose  
Good to know!
And very well written
  52 days ago  •  3,263 views
 
BarrelRacer1300  
great job i love this article
  50 days ago  •  3,258 views
 
Breaking Free  
Love this article! Rudy is getting old too :) He is 27!
  50 days ago  •  3,445 views
 
FloridaCowgirl  
Great article! Well-written and full of good info. Thanks!
  43 days ago  •  3,571 views
 
Phyxius  MOD 
Very helpful and informative
  43 days ago  •  3,427 views
 
LastingSmile  
wow very good.
  43 days ago  •  3,419 views
 
Deleted Accounts  
my favourite mare is over twenty years old and is still a brilliant lesson pony, she just needs a bit of extra care nowadays
  Mar 27, 2012  •  3,289 views
 More News by mosquito
Old Joe - Chapter 5
10th Nov 2012   |   General   |   mosquito
I couldn’t believe my eyes. For having been so little there before, it looked like a whole town had been turned inside out. Ben shook his head, and walked down to the trail slowly, carefully, picking out way around what was now de ...
Your Horse From the Ground Up - The Hindquarters
21st Oct 2012   |   General   |   mosquito
We’ve seen how the lower legs and hoof all work together to help the horse move, even without any muscles there. Now let’s start looking at how the muscles of the horse really give him power, speed, and balance. Where better to st ...
Your Horse from the Ground Up - The Lower Leg - Part 2
8th Sep 2012   |   General   |   mosquito
We’ve taken a look at the solid structures of the lower leg – the bones – now let’s see what makes those bones move. First of all, remember that there are no muscles below the knee or the hock, so there’s no actual ‘engine’ to mov ...
Old Joe - Chapter 4
25th Aug 2012   |   General   |   mosquito
There was no shelter, no trees, nothing. Ben called again and we turned further right, angling away from the train. We were going uphill, and that seemed even more foolish to me until we reached the crest. What goes up, goes down, ...
Old Joe - Chapter 3
5th Aug 2012   |   General   |   mosquito
It wasn’t long before Luke rode up alongside us on Snowy. I couldn’t see him for my blinkers, but I could hear Snowy’s little quick hoofbeats and smell his carroty breath. Snowy reached over and gave me a nip on my muzzle; I turne ...
Old Joe - Chapter 2
29th Jul 2012   |   General   |   mosquito
As the sun grew higher in the sky, the dew dried on the grass, and the last few lingering clouds fluttered and disappeared. The bright blue sky – with that deep blue of a cold morning – changed to a softer hue, as a muggy haze be ...
Your Horse From the Ground Up - The Lower Leg - Part 1
19th Jul 2012   |   General   |   mosquito
Now that we have the foundations – the hoof – let’s move up our horse and find out a little more about how he moves. In this article we’ll visit the lower leg. For the most part, the front and hind legs (below the knee and hock) a ...
Old Joe - Chapter 1
15th Jul 2012   |   General   |   mosquito
I heard the rooster crow, and shifted in my stall to try and stretch as much as I could. First he crows, then Farmer Ben comes along, Bess and I have breakfast, and we get to work. Sunday was yesterday, when we got brushed up nice ...
  View All News by mosquito
 
©2002 - 2019   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
162 Members Online 253,169 Registered Members 2,618 News Articles 11,078,553 Unique News Article Views 259,061,648 Website Views