How old is too old for light trail riding? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 05-31-2011, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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How old is too old for light trail riding?

Thinking of buying a 17YO gelding and wondering how many years I could expect him to be able to go on light trail rides and stuff once in awhile? Not too experienced of a rider so I wouldn't be running around too fast I imagine. Thought some ballpark figure would be something to take into consideration. Horse looks good, well mannered, shoed all four, seemed to have no problems running or trotting, legs looked good. But again I am pretty new at this. He seems to have a "click" in his front leg, I heard, but I don't think this is real uncommon on some horses? Am having the Vet check him out but was wondering some opinions on age.
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post #2 of 18 Old 05-31-2011, 02:10 PM
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I wouldn't worry about a number, per se. I would listen to my horse and let him/her tell me when it's too much and back off. I know horses still barrel racing into their 20s. Of course, not like when they were 10.
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post #3 of 18 Old 05-31-2011, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I was just wondering how long to expect, 5, 10 or possibly 15 yrs, ??
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post #4 of 18 Old 05-31-2011, 02:33 PM
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Totally depends on each horse & the course of care over their lives. I have 3 oldies that I could take any of on an all-dayer. Mine are a 22 year old mare, 23 year old mare & a 29 year old stallion. None have any arthritis or soundness issues & have been kept fit with regular riding their whole lives.
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post #5 of 18 Old 05-31-2011, 02:41 PM
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As MHF stated, you have to evaluate the horse as an individual.

Some horses are 'old' at 15, while others can still be ridden all day well into their late 20s.

Much of it depends on the care the animal has received over its lifetime, while part of it may just be plain old genetics.

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post #6 of 18 Old 05-31-2011, 09:11 PM
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I ride and jump 2'3"-6" on a 20 year old lesson horse. He does get his hocks done, but only as a maintenance thing.

Years ago, I had a Morgan mare who got sold at 23 to a pair of sisters for their first horse to learn on, and she was full of vinegar.


Let the horse tell you when it is ready to retire.

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post #7 of 18 Old 05-31-2011, 09:36 PM
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I completely agree with the previous posters.

My mare is 26 and has no issues doing 5 minute chunks of cantering intermixed with some trotting and a whole lot of walking while on a trail ride. Of course, I take her age into consideration and don't let her get too tired. I'm also very careful to keep her really fit all year since senior horses don't build muscle as quickly or as well as young horses do.
She's the oldest horse I know that's actually being ridden at all. I really ignore her age for the most part. She doesn't act like she's 26 and she doesn't look like she's 26 so I see no reason to "force" her to be 26 if she doesn't want to, you know? :)

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post #8 of 18 Old 05-31-2011, 09:41 PM
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There was an endurance horse (Elmer Bandit) who was still doing endurance races until he passed away at age 38. Of course not all horses will go that long, but as long as the 17 year old passes a vets pre-purchase exam with no real big issues (let the vet know what you want to do with the horse and he can advise you best on what he sees) I wouldn't hesitate in getting him. A 17 year old can be a wonderful confidence builder, and while no guarantees, you could easily end up with 10 or more years on him.

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post #9 of 18 Old 06-01-2011, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lnds View Post
Thinking of buying a 17YO gelding and wondering how many years I could expect him to be able to go on light trail rides and stuff once in awhile? Not too experienced of a rider so I wouldn't be running around too fast I imagine. Thought some ballpark figure would be something to take into consideration. Horse looks good, well mannered, shoed all four, seemed to have no problems running or trotting, legs looked good. But again I am pretty new at this. He seems to have a "click" in his front leg, I heard, but I don't think this is real uncommon on some horses? Am having the Vet check him out but was wondering some opinions on age.
An older horse can be a great investment. I would get him vet checked first just to make sure there is no major issues going on. Other than that, for trail riding and the like, a good safe older horse is wonderful buy. I was enjoying a 29yr old gelding who enjoyed long trail rides with the occasional quick run. If he's had good handleing, you don't have to spend your trail ride training but enjoying the scenery and friends. There will be some special treatment required as he ages, like joint supplements, but overall, if he's well behaved and vet checks clean, go for it. You could have another 10yrs at least and with the way things are going in animal health, even more. You get a youngster and your spending the first years training anyway, better an older been there done that so you can spend your time riding.
This from someone who use to love the youngsters until she realized she doesn't bouce as well anymore and really doesn't want too either.
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post #10 of 18 Old 06-02-2011, 09:26 AM
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My husband trail rides our 22 year old horse with no problems and I went last year on a ride with my ex sister in law and her horse was 32!
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