How old is an old horse?

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How old is an old horse?

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    09-09-2008, 08:07 AM
How old is an old horse?

I've been wondering this one for a while now. At what age does a horse become 'old' to you?

I was surprised to learn that horses are regularly started between two and three years old in the US. In the UK, I know breaking-in is usually done around four years old with only light work until they're five or so. So in my head, three and four year olds are still very young. I'd consider a horse to be in his prime at around eight or nine, but that a horse wouldn't reach 'middle age' until at least sixteen or so! Perhaps it's the horses I've been exposed to - e.g. Many of the lesson horses I ride are well into their twenties. I wouldn't consider a horse old until they're in their mid-twenties or later ...

I do know that when competing there are different requirements, but I do kind of get the impression that anything over eight or so is considered to be an old horse by many people! That just baffles me; surely that would be when the horse is maturing into its best performance?

So what would you consider an old horse to be?
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    09-09-2008, 08:58 AM
I don't think a horse is totaly mature or at prime until 8-12 years in agreement with you Claire
I think old is in late 20's depending on care. We have a 30 year old at the barn who is drop dead gorgeous and in fabulous shape. Breeding, life style, care are all going to factor in-just like us.
    09-09-2008, 09:01 AM
Green Broke
I'm in the southeastern US, and I have the exact same thoughts as you - - mid to late 20's, or when they start showing signs of "slowing down".

I think that horses are started waaay too young here...sure does make for a short career. But it makes sense - they're started before they're fully developed, worked hard in many cases, and by the time they're 8-10, they're all used up.
    09-09-2008, 09:06 AM
Super Moderator
I think if you are talking about caring for a horse, you should consider them "old" in there late teens - what I mean by that is you should start considering their diets carefully, ensuring proper medical care and etc. As far as riding and health is considered.. "old" to me is about the mid-late twentys. I have one that is 29 and just started showing his age over the last year or 2. I have one that's 24 that hasnt' really started showing his age yet...

I always beleived you should start a horse at 3 but my baby, we started at 2....
    09-09-2008, 10:41 AM
I agree with Farmpony. I like to start a horse under saddle at about 3 but that really depends on the horse.

I like a horse that is between 9 and 15 for an all around horse. They are what they are by then. At about age 16-20 I will monitor them for signs of joint problems and by age 20 I'll add some supplements, if I hadn't already, and slow their work somewhat.

I had a great horse that I retired to a therapeutic riding academy and he turned 30 in April. He is still being used regularly and has even won some blue ribbons for his riders this past summer.
    09-09-2008, 12:45 PM
I agree with Iride & Farmpony.
    09-09-2008, 04:26 PM
Like most of the others above me, I consider a horse that's 25 or older to be "old." However, old definitely doesn't mean useless. I consider any horse under 10 to be young.
    09-09-2008, 05:35 PM
^I agree. I consider a horse to be 'old' at ages 23+. Hehe, sometimes you can't tell if a horse is old if they're in great shape!
    09-09-2008, 08:17 PM
I consider old to be about 25+. :)
    09-09-2008, 08:24 PM
Green Broke
I consider old to be like 18 (depending on if the horse looks 18 or not) to 20+

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