Unless the horse is registered to validate his age, find someone who can read his teeth before you get the vet out. You could learn how to do this. Google Galvayne's Groove, where to find it and learn how to read it. It's one tooth on each side. Usually, the groove begins to form in the 10th year. When it reaches the bottom the horse is going into it's 20th year. Midway indicates 15. There are other indicators as well, slope of the front teeth. In youngsters they are almost straight up and down and in time they begin to develop more of a slope.
Our daughter rides/ barrel races a coming 24/25ish quarter pony. Not the worlds best pic. She's usually in the money for ponys. This will probly be the mares last season coming up. But she'll trail till we bury her. Take care of em and they'll take care of you. Posted via Mobile Device
It depends on the horse and what age they were started (if they were started too young/ridden to hard), if they have had proper warmup time/cool down time, etc. You never know what's happened in those 15 years but your best bet is to get a PPE done.
I am buying a 15 year old pleasure mare tomorrow. I plan on her teaching me quite a bit over the next few years. Totally depends on the horse, like someone else said...some can be sound and fine into their 20s...others become lame young. It just depends. Get a pre-purchase exam. Our 27 year old mare was ridden right up until she was 25, now only ridden lightly in the summer and that's because no one took good care of her throughout her life...rode too hard, too young and when she started to have joint problems they dumped her. She's still a spunky old lady though!
If he looks good and is sound I would have no hesitation.
My mom got an 18 year old pinto gelding at a meat auction when I was in 5th grade. Her friends laughed because she paid 800 for him (had to outbid the meat buyer). Found out at my first show with him he was a well known and accomplished show gelding (judge was floored when she found out where we got him). I won tons with him and we trail rode him all over Oregon until I left home for the Navy after graduating from high school. Best horse we ever had, and he lived to 38.