What Age Would You Retire A Barrel Racer? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 12-01-2011, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
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What Age Would You Retire A Barrel Racer?

My question is basically the title. If your horse was healthy and sound, at what age would you retire it? Would you just do the ol' "run untill she can't anymore" or do you have a set age that you respect?

I am only asking this because I have a little Morgan that sure has some wheels. She is 20 years old and only does light riding as of now. She is not fat, but does need to get into better shape. (Another summer project.) I was just thinking of letting my smaller friends ride her or leasing her to a kid during for the fair. Just a once a year county show sort of thing, and nothing past that. I know I would definately not ride her in speed as I am about the maximum that she can carry, and I would not want to force her to cary my weight while running.

She does not have arthritis and gets around really well. She by no means would be anything pro seeing as she is a bit hard to handle. If I leased her I would undoubtedly make sure the person knew what they could handle. (I am not mean, I would not strap a child to her and smack her on the butt. I am more sensible than that.)

I just have never seen any twenty year old horses barrel race before, so I just want to know what others experiences are with older horses.
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post #2 of 11 Old 12-01-2011, 04:46 PM
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I knew a girl who had a 42 yr old barrel racer. I saw a video on youtube of a girl running her 38 year old horse. I myself have ridden old horses in the 20-25 age range and won money still. It really depends on the horse's capabilities. Keeping a horse sound is my #1 priority, so I run and watch for signs that the horse is ready to be done. With Jester it came when he started feeling heavy when I was running him. Before he didn't need my help at al, but when I felt even the slightest change in his style I knew it was time.

I wean them off showing slowly. With Jester in particular I bought a prospect with a nice foundation for barrels and started going to less and less shows with Jester and took the filly to more and more. Jester got used to being a babysitter for the filly instead of the show horse, and now he's a trail companion for the others at age 18.

On that note, 18 isn't really that old in the grand scheme of things. He had some soundness issues to begin with that made him need an early quit. My Anglo Arab gelding is turning 19 this year and he will still be hauled because I feel he still loves his job and have some left to give. But soon my mare will replace him too. He probably has two or three more years until he is retired. And even then, I will probably lease him out to a younger up-n-coming barrel racer.
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Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #3 of 11 Old 12-01-2011, 05:30 PM
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My barrel racer is abouuut 22 and he still flies without showing any strain. also, one of my ponies is 27 and she still does good. although i don't push her as much as before but she still is pretty fast :) I think it just depends on the horse. I would like to run my boy till he can't run anymore but if something comes up I'll stop him right there and then.
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post #4 of 11 Old 12-02-2011, 09:44 AM
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I still barrel race and pretty much do everything on my 20 year old mare. I plan on showing and riding her for quite a while longer, if I am able to. The longer you keep them in shape, the better their retirement years will be.
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post #5 of 11 Old 12-03-2011, 12:31 AM
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If the horse is healthy, sound, kept on a regular exercise program, given any needed supplements/treatments..... then there is NO age limit. As long as the horse still enjoys their job and can handle/execute it, there's no reason they have to quit.
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post #6 of 11 Old 12-16-2011, 10:06 PM
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when/if the horse no longer enjoys it.
when/if they get really sour.
when/if they show signs of discomfort/pain.
when/if you can not keep weight on them.

you will know when its time....I don't think there is an exact age.

I say the last thing on the list because I have seen a few horses being shown in different kinds of events that you can tell are up in age and while there is nothing wrong in running an older horse I think once it gets to the point were you can not put extra weight/fat on the horse to even cover its ribs its time to stop running/ridding and tend to that issue first.....you would think this would be a given but I swear I have seen too many to count.
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-17-2011, 08:08 PM
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Here's that 38 year old horse I was talking about earlier. Can't find a video of the 42 year old one, but I saw him run myself and he was still in excellent shape. Believe it or not he died of colic caused my him eating something he shouldn't have, not from old age.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #8 of 11 Old 12-26-2011, 07:03 PM
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I have a 24 yr old Quarter Horse that still runs 16s he placed second in my Nbha district for year end results in the 3D. The age honestly doesn't bother him he has more energy then he knows what to do with. I've never ridden him or had anybody ride him with weight over 175 lbs that's tack and all. I feed him Msm frontline bran and healthy coat every night. I've feed it to him all his life and I honestly believe that's what has kept him going all these years. I have had this horse (Whiskey) checked by some of the best vets and chiros in Texas and they all say the same thing that there isn't a darn thig wrong with him. I don't feed senior feed to him instead I have his teeth done every 6 months. Whiskey is an amazing horse and I plan to run again this year in Nbhas D&gs and jackpots. As for your question about retiring it's honestly up to you, nobody can tell you when to stop you know your partner the best and my advice is get the vet to do a full physical and the discuss the results and figure out where you want to go from there. I can't tell you how may times I have thought about retiring Whiskey only to have myself blow away every year by his preformance. Just know that your descion to retire is yours alone and somewhat of your vet too. But whatever you decided know that it was the best descion at the time and never regret it. Happy new year everyone

Patience is always rewarding in the end
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post #9 of 11 Old 12-26-2011, 07:15 PM
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Horses with a lot of heart will run when asked. One needs to watch it's recovery time after a hard run. By 18 a horse's respirations can take considerably longer than a younger horse to return to normal. This is indicative of his system not processing oxygen as well as the younger horse.ie the heart isn't getting quite enough.
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post #10 of 11 Old 12-26-2011, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Saddlebag View Post
Horses with a lot of heart will run when asked. One needs to watch it's recovery time after a hard run. By 18 a horse's respirations can take considerably longer than a younger horse to return to normal. This is indicative of his system not processing oxygen as well as the younger horse.ie the heart isn't getting quite enough.
Keeping an eye on the recovery is a really good suggestion- horses that are not fit (either due to lack of proper condition or to age) are more likely to have issues with pain and lameness. If the mare cannot recover well despite being properly conditioned, then it may be an early sign that it's time to ease up even if she's still willing to run. I have heard that older horses do take longer to get properly conditioned to start with though, so I would make sure that she has a chance to get back into proper shape before judging too harshly.
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