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How old is an old horse?

This is a discussion on How old is an old horse? within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

     
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        09-09-2008, 09:05 PM
      #11
    Yearling
    I think it really depends on the horse. Ponies seem to slow down faster and I've seen thoroughbreds who were like six year old into their mid-twenties.
         
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        09-10-2008, 09:02 AM
      #12
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Supermane
    I think it really depends on the horse. Ponies seem to slow down faster and I've seen thoroughbreds who were like six year old into their mid-twenties.
    You really think about the ponies? I had no idea... I always thought ponies lasted way way longer.... hmmmmm.........
         
        09-10-2008, 11:50 AM
      #13
    Weanling
    I have a twenty year old TB who acts/looks about eleven. And I know of a large pony who just passed away last summer at the age of FORTY. Her QH friend is stiff, but still easily moving about the pasture.... in her thirties.

    The best gauge of a horses age is when their feed requirements change. Some feed considers a horse "senior" at eight or nine years. But senior does not mean old and broken.

    For myself personally, I would consider a late teen/early twenty year old as older... and late twenties as old.

    Edited to add, part of this is perception. What do YOU consider old in a person? If you are, say fifteen, you may think of a forty years old as ready to keel over. I think of a forty years old as a mature. LOL
         
        09-10-2008, 05:54 PM
      #14
    Foal
    In general I would consider mid to late 20s old but it depends on the horse/care/feed/work etc
         
        09-10-2008, 06:10 PM
      #15
    Foal
    Im so glad someone brought this up because I have been thinking about this too because I actually am on the other side of the issue. I think people consider older horses babies when they aren't.

    As far as age goes, I go by U.S. Based show industry standards (AQHA/APHA) and I believe a horse is a "senior" at 5. Does this mean he is old? ABSOLUTELY NOT... but it does mean he is at prime age to really begin showing, working, whatever.

    I think the best age for a gelding is between 6-12. Mares: 4-11 (keeping the option of breeding in mind here).

    I also believe that the terminology of "old" is based on the horse.

    For example, my gelding is 15. Normally, I would consider this "getting up there" or "late middle age" but with him because of his lameness issues for the past 10 years, I think it has aged him further and so I call him "old."

    But does he get treated like a pasture pet because he is "old?" No. He still gets worked hard :) and still looks good, but like the one poster said I have to more carefully consider diet, workload, things like that.

    And that's amazing to me that y'all wait till age 4 to start them!!! LOL

    What do they do before then?? Do you lunge, ground-drive anything? Just curious about that. :)
         
        09-11-2008, 08:53 AM
      #16
    Weanling
    Correct me if I am wrong but I was of the understanding that the spine and joints of a horse are not fully developed nor is their mental state-(dont know the correct term) until age 4-5 years depending on the breed-naturally a mustang will develop faster due to environment-drafts develp later -
    Tons of work goes into a horse prior to physically riding them to end up with a balanced healthy and mentaly stable horse. Hand work-lead, voice command, lungeing, ground manners in all areas-
    My opinion.
         
        09-11-2008, 05:00 PM
      #17
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kirsti Arndt
    Correct me if I am wrong but I was of the understanding that the spine and joints of a horse are not fully developed nor is their mental state-(don't know the correct term) until age 4-5 years depending on the breed-.
    And Solon tells us that drafts are even later than that.

    Perhaps we should try to get the industry to define 'senior'? In the AGHA I assumed that senior was the step after junior. Junior basically being 3-5 y/o. Not senior as in old/people senior. More like a high school senior, would be a good comparison. ??

    Hmmmm. Kinda like
    Foal
    Yearling
    2 y/o
    Junior
    Senior
    Aged
         
        09-11-2008, 05:31 PM
      #18
    Foal
    In saddleseat we always seem to retire earlier. They start showing at 3. 3&4 yr olds have an age division, then there are just 5+ classes. [these are in exception to just rider specific classes.]. There prime is about 5-9. Sometimes more if they are really good or their performance is consistantly as good as it was in their prime, when they were at their best. Stallions are bred lighly through show careers,sometimes, then are heavly bred when theyre retired. Mares will be bred until they just arent capable anymore.The "prime age" includes youth classes. The gelding Im showing at the International show will be retired afterwards by my trainer unless I can buy him :). He isnt that old,only 9, he just isnt quite as good as he used to be. Poor thing reminds me of that Toby Keith song, "I aint as good as I once was".

    I wonder why saddleseat tend to have different prime ages? The horses arent broke down, just when their performance begins to waver.
         
        09-11-2008, 05:31 PM
      #19
    Foal
    There are absolutely some breeds that don't mature until later but stock horse standards (again AQHA/APHA) are that horses are started under saddle as 2 y/o.

    Generally, however, these types of horses (if fed and exercised correctly from birth) resemble their "senior" counterparts at 2.

    We have a 2 y/o red roan QH filly right now at my trainer's place that I swear looks like she is 6. (but that is what good feed and LOTS of exercise will do)

    Horses that are weanlings and yearlings that are kept in little small pens with not a lot of grain.... have their growth stunted. Seriously. I've seen it. We have it right now at the boarding facility I am at. There are like 3-4 2 y/o that I think look they just came off their mama's a few months ago!!!!! It's sad really... their owners think they are going to get like 16.2-17 h!!!!!!!!!! Ay, ay, ay....

    And the whole mental growth thing? Well.... let's just say we don't keep toddlers out or preschool or daycare or not teach algebra or something because minds arent ready for it (mine was never ready for algebra... LOL LOL!!!)

    This is where patience, going slow, and LOTS of time comes in. To make sure that you don't blow their minds (or their legs) when starting them as 2 y/o.

    Stock horses are able to show in the following classes based on age:

    Weanlings (halter classes only, obviously!) lol
    Yearlings (halter, lunge line, and in-hand trail)
    2 y/o (green horse, 2 y/o futurities and Junior)
    3 y/o (green horse, 3 y/o maturities and Junior
    4 y/o (Junior horse or green)
    5 y/o (Senior horse)

    In fact, I remember way back in the day when it used to be Senior horses were considered that way at 4.

    All the terminology means is that the horse should be "seasoned."

    That is trained, going in a curb bit, and VERY competitive.

    I hope that sheds some light and helps!!!!
         

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