Senior Drafts

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Senior Drafts

This is a discussion on Senior Drafts within the Draft Horses forums, part of the Horse Breeds category
  • Senior draft team horse
  • Draft horse aging

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    10-06-2009, 03:05 PM
Senior Drafts

Two weeks ago, I adopted a Percheron gelding who I was hoping was in his mid-20s. The dentist confirmed that he is closer to 30, if not 30 already. This is the oldest horse I have ever taken care of, and my first draft that I've owned. Overall, his health is fantastic. All his teeth are there and none are loose (although they are like little chicklets!). No problems eating. His weight is already starting to look better (less ribby but still hippy). He has cracking in his joints so I am starting him on a joint supplement this week. He doesn't show any signs of stiffness. Although he is slow, he still loves to get out and work, even if we just walk around the ring or around the fields. I didn't intend to do much more with him than easy trail rides and light hacking around so this isn't too much of an issue. I just moved him to a barn where we can learn Parelli games to give us something to do when his riding ability does become more limited.

What other health and well-being issues should I watch out for? What kinds of feeding programs do you have your seniors on? Any advice is greatly appreciated. He will spend the rest of his days with us (I'll never take a chance on getting rid of him and risk him ending up at the auction), so I want to be sure that we are doing everything we can to keep him as healthy as possible.
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    10-06-2009, 03:08 PM
This is sort of an insignificant thought, but Noah is my engagement present. We know that he knows how to drive, and I'd really like him to be at the wedding next year so he can pull me up to the ceremony. Is it too much effort for him at this age to even think of hooking him up to a cart?
    10-06-2009, 11:45 PM
I believe that as long as a horse is comfortable being worked, then he should be worked. It is movement that keeps those joints lubricated and often it is when a horse is retired and turned out to pasture where he walks from feed to water then stands around the rest of the time that they really start to go downhill. I don't have much experience with senior drafts but have been around my share of senior QHs. Just make sure that he is on a well balanced diet. Solon knows of a book that is like a Bible for draft owners, you might PM her about that. Other than the joint supplement, so long as he is keeping his weight, I really don't think there is much else to do. Of course, watch for signs of colic and founder like you would with any other horse of any age. With as good of shape as he seems to be in, he should be up for almost anything. And if the Amish trained him to drive, then he should be VERY broke. At least all the horses trained by the Amish in my part of the country are.
    10-07-2009, 12:27 AM
Congrats on your new boy! This gives me hope that my gelding will live longer. I was thinking he was like a great dane-big dogs don't last as long, you know :)

He is so lucky to have found you :) Hope he works out for your wedding. I'd say as long as he is willing, he should be fine.
    10-13-2009, 11:56 AM
That is so sweet about the wedding, im getting a draft for my fiance also. She wont be in the wedding but that would be cool if you could get him in yours. No advice sorry, im a noob at the draft horse thing but I do feed my senior arab purina equine senior, might be too much protein check w/ solon
    10-15-2009, 12:48 PM
No way! I know 30+ year old horses that are still working commercially downtown pulling carriages for 6 hours a night. As long as he's sound, there's no reason why he can't pull one for your wedding. I would definitely drive him before hand, though.

Carriages really aren't that heavy; I drive a 1600 pound one downtown that I have to pull out of the carriage house and park every time I drive it. I also own one that's around 600-800 pounds and I'm confident that I could pull that one along the entire route that we do, which is about a mile. I'm a 21 year old, 135 pound woman, by the way.

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