Originally Posted by Elsa
My two cents on age, it's just a number. It's more telling how a horse has been used and if they are built to withstand it. Also even with the best care you can buy a mid aged 8-14 yo horse and it can injure itself in turnout, and then you have a pasture puff requiring 20 years or more of retirement. OTOH you can get a 19 yo and end up not retiring him until he is in his late 20's. Personally I'd rather deal with a 5+ year retirement than a 20+ year retirement.
That's an EXCELLENT way of putting it!
Great example of exactly what Elsa is talking about is my old gelding. Was started to hard and too high as a hunter when he was a long 2yo. When I started working with him as an 8yo, he had bad arthritis in his hocks and rear pasterns already. Now, as a 12yo, he is basically completely retired and has been for at least two years. Every once in a great while his owners can take him on a short, easy trail ride, but that's it.
If they'd just waited a few years, he'd still be jumping strong today, more than likely.