Help Your Old Horse to Live Longer

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Older horses and senior horses are some of the best equine partners around. But as horses age, their needs and activity levels change. While you may be looking at younger horses for sale to find your next competition partner, don’t forget that there are many things that you can do to help keep your senior horse healthy and happy into his golden years.

Give Him A Job

Many senior horses do not do well in full retirement. Boredom can turn a normally happy horse into an unhappy and destructive horse. Additionally, your horse may become overweight if he is suddenly retired and finds himself with nothing to do.

If your senior horse is still mostly sound, he may be happier with a low-intensity job. Instead of retiring him fully, try to find a different career for him. Perhaps he could be leased a few days a week by a young rider looking for experience. Or if he enjoys trails, maybe he can go out on trail rides on occasion. Some “retired” horses make excellent mounts for therapeutic riding programs. Get creative in finding a new job for your older horse – there are many jobs out there that younger horses for sale are not ideal for, giving your senior horse an advantage.

Provide Him with Quality Feed

Just because your horse’s activity level has decreased doesn’t mean that you can decrease the quality of feed that you’re giving him. The feed you provide has a direct influence on horse health; if you feed low-quality hay and grain your horse may run into issues with digestion, weight, and poor body condition. Ultimately, poor health will make your senior horse more susceptible to disease and illness. Work with your veterinarian to determine your older horse’s specific nutritional needs.

Provide Regular Maintenance Care

It may seem that since your horse is not being ridden as frequently, that he won’t need maintenance work such as shoeing and dental visits as often as he did. This is not true: Your senior horse requires just as much work as a younger horse, and sometimes even more. Your horse’s hooves will continue to grow, and whereas regular training and riding sessions may have helped to naturally control the length of his hooves to a point, now he will need farrier visits just as frequently as he did before.

Additionally, as your horse’s body ages, his health and maintenance needs will change as well. It is important for your senior horse to receive regular dental care to keep his teeth filed down so that he can get the maximum amount of nutrition out of his diet. Many older horses have arthritis – working with your veterinarian to keep your horse’s arthritis under control can make your horse healthier and more comfortable during his later years.

Senior horses have given us their younger years as competition and riding partners. By carefully caring for your older horse, you can help him to live a better, longer life.

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