I have a twenty-one year old ex-race horse (thoroughbred) who I've owned for about 2 years now. He has mild arthritis and his two front knees are big (swollen/build up?). He still has a lot of life in him, he loves to gallop and jump with me, although he takes his time going down hill on trail rides and sometimes seems to toss his head in pain or drag his hooves/limp. He also has a very swayed back. Currently I use cold-aloe-gel on his knees and I feed him senior feed, electrolytes, joint supplements, and treats of course and I ride him with an english saddle and support boots, plus I only weigh 100 lbs. I know that there will be a day when I must put him out to pasture but currently he still seems to love galloping on trail rides with his ears perked up and his head high, but I was just wondering if anyone had any good suggestions or comments on treatments or ideas that they'd use to keep a good old horse in good health? Also if there was anything I should know about riding old horses. (I bought him because his previous owner was 250lbs and everyone at the stables insulted her and shunned her for riding Jake because they said it was to much weight to be pounding on his old back and legs.) Thanks!! :)
Not show jumping, just once or twice over logs and creeks while trail riding. I’m only trail riding currently; in the LA Hollywood Mountains so rarely are the trails completely flat. I give him Platform Joint Formula, Platform’s “Complete Electrolyte”, and Maxum Crumbles (vitamins, minerals, and amino acids). He’s not over weight and he’s fed hay twice daily and about half a bucket of senior feed with the supplements every other day after I ride him in the morning.
I have a 20 year old that is fit enough to be ridden but has white line deciese so can't be any longer.
There are plenty of things you can do to help him. Do you feed oil in his daily feed? If not, you can either use cod liver oil or you can use sun flower oil (the type you buy in the supermarket). I was told by a equine homeopathic vet that sunflower oil is as good as cod liver on a regular bacis.
Have you tried magnetic boots/rug, they are a little pricey but I have seen great results with my 3 horses (none are spring chickens anymore)
There are many suppliments you can try and see which is best for your horse. Have a look at hiltonherbs.com , if you can't see what you are looking for send them an e mail they are great. I use the english ladies regularly, they really know their stuff
Riding is good for most older horses, it keeps the artthritis at bay a lot. If my older boy didn't have the problems with his feet I would still be riding him
Oh, the one other thing I have found with my lad is senior feeds are great, but a vetran supliment is better with a normal feed not a senior. I have found my lad is doing much better on it (you never know what they put in feeds unless they are great feed suppliers.
I know here in france they are terrible, but in england they are fantastic (now wondering why I am here lol)
It *may* be an idea to fork out on some good arthritis treatments now while it is mild as some will actually make a good job of reversing the effects --- I've witnessed the good effects of cartrofen in dogs although I'm yet to see it's effectiveness in horses - it has had good reviews though. Very expensive unfortunately - if it is mild cod liver oil is prob. A better option although it is of pretty limited effectiveness.
Swelling --- how long is he kept in the box for? - does he have time in a field? Lack of exercise is often a large contributor to swelling. When one (any species) isn't exercising the heart rate and strength of beat decreases which means that often there isn't enough pressure (particularly in the older horse) for blood to make a proper circulation - this leads to a build-up of fluid in the extremities which causes swelling. In humans a good example is the long-haul flight where at the end you find that your watch and socks have made a deeper makr on your skin than usual.
This is why a lot of time spent in the field is useful as your horse is constantly on the go.
As far as reducing swelling goes you can cold hose before and after rides; however, this also provides an open invitation to various nasty fungal infections! Care must be taken to dry carefully... luckily you have a TB so you don't have to worry about feathers drying hell!
Jake is turned out with about 4 young horses every weekday for about 30-mins to an hour, and I ride him (which includes walking troting and galloping on trails) for about 2 to 3 hours every two to three days. Also we keep his stall filled with puffy shavings (the thicker, less absorbent kind) which I think cusions his legs so he's not standing or laying on hard dirt while he is out there (outside stall).
What is IN the supplements that are acting as pain relievers and anti-inflammatories?
Being stalled will cause stiffness in all horses. Hills and sharp turns are also very difficult on any joint. With older horses, it is generally more efficient to ride daily with light rides. Long, hard, sporadic rides can easily cause a great amount of stress on joints. Any jumping is jumping. It causes even more deterioration.
Personally, I'd change the amount of time ridden, how often and how strenuous the work is. His body is obviously saying that it cannot endure what is being asked of it. He is likely to already have DJD and his schedule is highly effecting it.
It is good that he is being turned out as grazing will significantly help to loosen up joints as it is basically constant, sustained but not strenuous exercise.
However, I think that it would be an idea to let him out for longer periods of time and to adjust feed accordingly --- I strongly advice getting a vet or some other Suitably qualified person to go through this with you; I obviously do not know what the climate, grass quality etc. etc. is like where you are so it would be a very good idea to get a local person in to help.
I may add that with the cushioning effect of bedding it isn't really relevant in the case of swelling --- it is the simple fact that your horse is not moving that causes the swelling. It is however more comfortable in other ways so I wouldn't stop it by any means.