Old Age Problem?

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Old Age Problem?

This is a discussion on Old Age Problem? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Old age problem
  • Problems riden a horse at older age

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    01-19-2009, 07:22 PM
Exclamation Old Age Problem?

I have an American Paint horse that just turned 24 years old. He is used as a lesson horse and only rides 2-3 times a week for an hour each time. The past month or so he has been very moody. When I go to saddle him he tries to bite, kick, spin, and rear. He has never ever given these problems before. I had my vet come out and he gave him a clean bill of health and said that he should be ridden a little more than 2-3 times a week to keep his legs in good shape and to keep arthritis away. Does any one have any idea what could be wrong with him or have a horse that does this? This gelding has never done this in all of his years until about a month ago. He has gotten to where I can't have anyone around when I saddle him, much less let my riding students do it themselves. After he is saddled he is an angel and a dream to ride. He has recently kicked me in the knee and put me out of the saddle for 6-8 weeks, but I can't part with him. He is my baby! Please, if anyone knows anything..it would be taken to heart
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    01-19-2009, 07:29 PM
Check his back...and to be honest it could be time for retirement. My old gelding started this not too long before he passed away. The riding and work was too much for him and he was in pain, and didn't want to be ridden. Once the rider was on, he knew what to do, but just getting ready made him upset. It doesn't mean that your horse is dying....so please don't take it that way. I just think you may want to talk to another vet and have his back checked for pain, and also talk about less riding, or shorter workouts, an hour is a lot for an older horse.
    01-19-2009, 07:39 PM
I had an equine chiropractor come out and look at him. He said his back and legs were all healthy. He told me that retiring a horse should only be neccessary when the horse shows physical signs. I am seriously considering retirement, but when he is left in the pasture he just seems to mope around.
    01-19-2009, 08:01 PM
Have you checked the saddle thorougly for things that could be causing pain as well as checking that the fit of the saddle hasn't changed. Since your guy is aging, he may be loosing some muscle mass along his topline and that can make a saddle that used to fit become uncomfortable or even painful. Also look around at the other things where you saddle---it could be something like a nearby horse that he doesn't like that is causing him to be so moody.

Unless your horse is showing signs that he is painful and just can't work due to deteriorating health, there is no reason to retire him. Heck, I just took my 32 year old out for a bit of a trail ride today--I'm getting him sorta back used to working so that my 2 young sons can trail ride on him.
    01-19-2009, 09:11 PM
Ryle: Thanks! I will definitely look into the saddle. Do you recommend any certain type of saddle for him? And we don't saddle our horses near each other. We have 3 separate places we saddle them.
    01-19-2009, 09:38 PM
I can't recommend a type of saddle--what you need to look at is the fit and that is going to depend on the shape of his back. Put the saddle on him without a pad and then run your hands under it. Do you feel areas where more pressure is applied than in other areas? If so then you've got a fit problem--the saddle should apply pressure evenly at all points of contact with his back.

It may not be other horses that irritate him either---you have to look for anything in his environment while he is being saddled that could be irritating/stressing.
    01-20-2009, 05:07 PM
Ryle: I did evaluate his saddle today and the saddle was fine in all places. I did find out something though. I was able to saddle him perfectly without the saddle blanket. I checked his blanket over and couldn't find anything wrong, but went and purchased a new one. He pitched a big fit with the blanket, but again without the blanket he was fine.
    01-23-2009, 09:19 PM
Interesting..... I have nothing to back this up except what I've seen with my mine. I truely believe their memory is cellular, they never forget something that caused them discomfort. If you can tack him up fine without the saddle pad and he pitches a fit with ANY pad, something happened that caused him pain and he's got it in his head that it was the pad.

At some point there could of been a piece of hay stuck in the pad that poked him or the pad could of slipped back and was causing the saddle to pinch.

I would try a couple of different pads and check the saddle fit with the pad on. Often a saddle seems like it's okay without a pad, but if your using a pad that's too thick or too thin it could be causing pressure points.

Get a light coloured, clean pad and tack him up. Work him till he gets a bit sweaty. Take the pad off and look for any hot spots.
    01-23-2009, 09:31 PM
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I would have thought back pain or saddle fit but since you've ruled both of those out, he may have just gotten ornery in his old age and is just starting to push you around. They do that on occasion... OR maybe he could use a 2 week break... sometimes that will do good.

It really sounds like a back pain issue to me though... I dunno...

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