Would you buy a senior horse maybe 22 years old? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 04-11-2013, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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Would you buy a senior horse maybe 22 years old?

I am just wondering if people would actually buy a senior horse that is in their early 20s if they were sound and had no major problems other than the normal senior equine problems that come with age like senior feeds, chopped hay, joint supplements, etc?

I am looking at a horse that would essentually be for me and I am an beginner to advanced beginner. I am in my early 40s and will not show. I just want a horse I can enjoy walks, trots, on, working in a ring on skills and some trail riding but nothing heavy. I just want to sit on the back and enjoy a nice ride down the road smelling the green grass and flowers...very simple.

People say that older horses can make some really good first horses or horse for people that don't have goals that involve heavy work like jumping, cross country, barrel racing, etc.

I would love to hear some of your opinions. I don't want to overlook a horse based on age if they would be perfect for what I am looking for.

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post #2 of 33 Old 04-11-2013, 07:19 AM
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I may take some flack for this, but a 22 YO Horse is way too old.

How many years of riding will you get 2,4?, before old age Vet Bills, etc.

We had a student who bought a 22 YO and he passed at 24. While that is not normal, it does happen.

We had several students who purchased 10 to 12 YO and they were great beginner Horses.

Yes, a Horse can live to 30 or longer, but for an adult rider not many can be ridden past 25, of course there are exceptions.


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post #3 of 33 Old 04-11-2013, 07:31 AM
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I wouldn't think twice about getting a 22 year old for what you are looking for as long as they are sound and healthy. One of my favorite horses to ride was a 26/27 year old I borrowed from a friend. He passed when he was in his 30s. And the type of riding you are talking about does wonders for the older guys. Typically if they can get a home with that type of riding put on them on a consistant basis they will thrive much longer than if they are tossed out to the field for retirement.

They are great beginner horses and while, yes, they may not give you as many long years as a younger horse, they can lay a great foundation in your riding confidence - especially as an older beginner - your not going to want to hit the ground. I know I don't. And even with younger horses there are no guarantees. I had one 4 year old who developed EPM and a 5 year old I lost to colic 2 months after I got him. No guarantees at any age for the length of time they will be in your life.

Just be aware that cost of care could potentially be higher as they may need extra calories to keep weight on (not always) and maybe joint supplement.

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #4 of 33 Old 04-11-2013, 07:59 AM
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I would not hesitate to buy a 22 yo for the kind of riding you describe. We have a 28 yo old who is still ridden regularly. She was my husband's trail horse & we don't expect her to do that kind work (4-5 hrs carrying almost 300 lbs) any longer, but she is an excellent horse to throw a beginner up on. She is very well trained & will give a more advanced rider an enjoyable ride as well. One thing to think of....what will you do with this horse once you have outgrown it and want to move on or it becomes unsound? I am in the position to keep my geriatrics, and the horses I currently have will die here, God willing. Many people don't have that luxury and a horse in its late twenties or early thirties has virtually NO resale value.
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post #5 of 33 Old 04-11-2013, 08:24 AM
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I would never buy a 22yr old horse. But, I show and do hard trails (lots of VERY steep hills).

I'd say go for the 22yr old you saw if you're fine with only doing as much as he can and can afford to keep or put him down when he's done.

You can find a good beginners horse in as young as a 5-7yr old horse though, so don't let anyone tell you that you'll only be safe on an oldie. I'd throw anyone I know up on my 7yr old ottbs back right now. She turns, stops, and goes with no issues, I love it. She's definitely going to be one I can sell relatively quickely. Each horse is different. I think it's the personality and experience of the horse, not the age.
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post #6 of 33 Old 04-11-2013, 08:28 AM
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We gave two old horses at my barn, 41 and 37. The younger does etc, older only walk trot. Older horses are a bigger gamble then younger horses though.
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post #7 of 33 Old 04-11-2013, 08:42 AM
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For me it is a 50/50 chance. My husband and I picked up an older gelding (believed to be 17 to 20) who is an absolute doll. But I worry about him constantly. It may be because I can't narrow down his exact age and I am always worried that we put him through to much stress with riding etc. but he is healthy. My biggest deal is that with older horses is you are not going to get many years of riding from them and keeping them when they are unridable is expensive. I personally would look for one around 10-15....
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post #8 of 33 Old 04-11-2013, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by SouthernTrailsGA View Post

I may take some flack for this, but a 22 YO Horse is way too old.

How many years of riding will you get 2,4?, before old age Vet Bills, etc.

We had a student who bought a 22 YO and he passed at 24. While that is not normal, it does happen.

We had several students who purchased 10 to 12 YO and they were great beginner Horses.

Yes, a Horse can live to 30 or longer, but for an adult rider not many can be ridden past 25, of course there are exceptions.


I agree 100%,
Not saying you may not want to give an old guy a retirement home, and yep many old horses make good beginner horses, however there are quite a few under 10 you horses that are great. MY GF daughter has two 7 yo's she puts kids on, and she herself is only 12.
My first horse was 19 when my X stuck me with him, a year later I started riding, got divorced, was pretty lonly , horse became my best friend. Rode snot out of him, worse week of my life was the 5 days I watched him die without explanation at around 24, I know horses can live longer but seems like most start going down hill around 24. I know it will always be painful to deal with and all horses eventually die, but If I am gonna start that process I would prefer a good ten years of so of good times.
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post #9 of 33 Old 04-11-2013, 09:54 AM
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For me, it depends more on the horse and less on the age.

I was given my mare when she was 23 (I was told she was 21, of course) and now, nearly 5 years later, we're starting to hit some VERY mild "old age expenses". She doesn't require a joint supplement, she's an easy keeper, she's perfectly sound, basically like a young horse in the body of an old horse. :) She's only now starting to have a few very mild tooth issues that aren't causing any problems, just require watching. But that is it. She has other health issues that are not age-related and are expensive...but they add to her charm.
We do/did (she just had 6 months off for a suspensory issue but we've recently been ok'd to start riding again so we're starting to build fitness and muscle back) ride some pretty intense trails very extensively - very steep, etc, and she does fine. When she was really fit, she gave no thought to going out for a 3 hour w/t/c/g ride over really varying terrain. If anything, she loved it!
Of course, I do pay special attention to how well she's cooling out and I don't expect her to trot/canter/gallop for longer than maybe 3 minutes each set before giving her a short walking break (she could handle longer sets).

The one caveat in your, the OP's, situation that might be an issue for an older horse is the issue of weight. My mare does great but I weigh about 145lbs and that's pretty much the top of her "comfortable limit." Any heavier and it's really obviously too heavy for her to be comfortable. Depending on your weight, a younger horse might be a better option. Of course, some older horses still have great backs (my mare's back is her biggest flaw - it's really long and "weakly built") and that could be something to add to your "wanted" list.

Personally, I really love owning an older horse, I know that one day I'll be her retirement home and that's my favorite. Riding her takes on an extra bit of happiness because I know that her riding career is pretty finite in terms of a horse's life ling riding career.

Personally, I think an older horse is a GREAT first time choice, but, that being said, a younger well trained/very broke horse could also be perfectly acceptable. I would focus on looking for well broke horses and pick the one you have a connection with - old or not, riding is more enjoyable with a best friend!! :)

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post #10 of 33 Old 04-11-2013, 10:04 AM
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My 22 year old is awesome and never shows her age.
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