Adopting An Older Horse--Opinions Appreciated - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 25 Old 03-29-2010, 07:16 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Watertown, MN
Posts: 5,540
• Horses: 3
He does look good. A little swayed, gray, and maybe a little ribby, but good.

I own a 30 yr old right now. Besides a "joint" supplement (basically just to take the edge of pain off in the winter) she has very little extra care. She is probably more arthritic than this guy and due to some pretty major scarring from an accident last spring isn't rideable at all.

In terms of "extra" expenses you need to keep an eye on.
- pain relief: light bute, maybe some sort of pain relief supplement (that's what I'm using, although they call it a joint supplement)
- 2x yearly teeth check ups: important to catch anything right away due to the difficulty of putting weight on older horses
- better quality hay, possibly an alfalfa mix (check for Cushings and other metabolic issues first)
- initial vet work up: If I were to get an older horse I would probably do some initial testing for Cushings. If you know they have a slight issue a lot of times you can prevent it from getting worse by simple and cheap management. It's when you let it get really bad that it gets expensive to fix.
-Senior feed: This isn't a for sure thing. A lot of senior horses don't need it and it can aggravate any metabolic issues. Usually they need it when their teeth just can't do the job anymore. My mare isn't on anything other than hay and a ration balancer... the problem is keeping her from getting too fat!

Besides the aspect of him being calm and an ex-theraputic riding horse in my experience older horses are great because they usually really appreciate ANY attention you give them. I've had a 27 yo, 24 yo, and now my 30 yo and all of them just loved any sort of petting, grooming, etc. I'd go out in the pasture and they'd come ambling up just to hang out. A lot of them are just really peaceful (in my experience) and relaxing to be around. I really like older horses. I might even look into getting another oldie when Flame passes on to keep Soda company.
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post #12 of 25 Old 03-29-2010, 10:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ontario
Posts: 6,166
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Lots of great advice about taking in an older horse, but I haven't read where anyone suggested that you ride him yourself. Maybe that's just understood, but regardless of his age and what anyone tells you about his past, you need to have more assurance. You should arrive unannounced or early in case the owner has any tricks up her sleeve. I'm being pessimistic here, not trying to knock her or your relationship with her. She may have learned a few tricks over the years to keep the horse happy and energetic that to her are just part of a regular day, but to you would not be.

Lots of horses at 25 are still great to go, happy and looking to please. I hope it works out for you.
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post #13 of 25 Old 03-30-2010, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 537
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Thank you for all of the advice and information!

What sort of tests would a horse need to determine if they have Cushing's Disease? For your dental check-ups, do you use your veterinarian or a specialized equine dentist? I have always used my veterinarian to care for my horses' teeth--do senior horses need a specialist?

I'm planning on visiting, and hopefully riding, this Appy on April 10. I believe his owner's parents are currently caring for him. As I said earlier, this Appy belongs to a close family member, so I highly doubt any tricks will be pulled. Nevertheless, we almost always arrive early to our destination...hopefully I will get to spend lots of time with him and find out more about him from his owner.
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post #14 of 25 Old 03-30-2010, 06:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Watertown, MN
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If your vet is good at teeth and you trust them, stick with them. He might not need anything done, but it's good to keep on top of it with the older guys.

I can't remember the exact name of the test for Cushings but your vet should know what you mean. Honestly I wouldn't be surprised if he does have some mild form of pituitary disfunction (true Cushings) it is very common in older horses, but it isn't a death sentence by any means. Especially if you are forewarned.
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post #15 of 25 Old 04-12-2010, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 537
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On Saturday I got to meet the Appy! He is an amazing horse--friendly, trusting, smart, energetic, obedient, and fun. I got to ride him for 45 minutes, and he was great--very responsive to leg and rein cues (When I was riding him I accidentally gave a wrong leg cue, and he started doing a dressage half-pass thing. Pretty neat!), and seemed to actually LIKE being ridden. I learned that he has been ridden by hundreds of people in his life, placed in English Saddle seat, barrel racing, and reining when he was a young buck. Most importantly, he felt safe and relaxing to ride...I wasn't afraid to get on him. It has been awhile since that happened!

He is on a Glucosamine/MSM supplement now from Valley Vet and eating senior feed. I got to watch him get his spring shots and a womer, and I loaded him into a trailer by myself. Nothing phases him!

As of now, I am planning on going ahead and bringing this beautiful appy boy home. Thanks again for all of the advice everyone, and I will keep you posted! :)
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post #16 of 25 Old 04-12-2010, 07:15 PM
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Location: Watertown, MN
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Congrats! Good luck with him!!
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post #17 of 25 Old 04-13-2010, 12:48 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 2,266
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Gratz...those older horses have a lot to offer IMO. I brought a 25 year old horse home for my daughter on thursday. My daughter took her on their first trail ride together tonight and she did fantastic. She didn't spook at a anything. She hasn't been rode in at least two years (except for the couple of times my daughter rode her around the barn). Those old horses have years of experience to offer us, we should thankful.
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post #18 of 25 Old 04-13-2010, 12:56 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,348
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Sounds like a good idea for where you're at. I'd recommend Legend and/or Adequan to help with his arthritis, but definitely talk to your vet about it first. A thorough PPE is a must.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are certain and the intelligent are full of doubt"
-Bertrand Russel
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post #19 of 25 Old 04-13-2010, 03:50 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Pennsylvania
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I'm so happy you're going to take the appy. I got a 21 yr old saddlebred 7 yrs ago. She was my very first dream come true, and she was so awesome. Bomb proof! She was in pretty bad shape when we got her and I wouldn't have picked a saddlebred, but when I saw her, I couldn't let her where she was. Anyway, she was great with beginners and experienced riders! She really taught me a lot! Have fun!
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post #20 of 25 Old 04-13-2010, 06:58 AM
Join Date: Nov 2009
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I think we need an update!
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