At what age or situation would you retire a barrel horse?
As a NON horse rider i would like to know how many years a horse can barrel race, what age to start them and what age is too old? The reason i would like to know is i see ads on craigslist with something like "17 yo grand champion barrel racer for sale". I gotta think 12 or so years of running and making sharp curves has gonna be hell on a horse after that amount of time. I also see some horses at our stable that look so worn out and hurting, that they have no business running or turning barrels. But it seems these horse owners just keep on running these poor horses!
I guess as someone that knows nothing about horses, maybe i think a horse is hurting or worn out when he really might not be. And it pisses me off seeing owners running the crap out a horse that is maybe past their prime.
It really all depends on the horse..some horses get over run and not the proper care and need to be retired way before hand.
I still barrel race on my 21 year old..she gets good care, and has done more things than just barrel racing.
As horses age their recovery rate of respirations is slower. An horse nearing 20 may take twice as long as a much younger horse. This also means the heart is working harder demanding the oxygen the lungs are trying to provide.
Agreed with Mango. It really depends on the individual. If you take care of your barrel horses you are going to keep the sound longer. And some horses just can't physically handle it like others can. There are so many factors that come into play here. I have had two older horses; being two 24yr old Arabians, Tey-kiro and Jasper. They were only lease horses but they were 1D runners, and three years later are STILL 1D runners, but they have a differant rider now. My Anglo Arabian is 19 and will still be run this year and he is probably the healthiest horse alive. But if any of them had ever looked unsound, I would have never asked them to run.
As it's already been said, it depends on the individual horse and how that horse has been taken care of throughout their career.
So there's nothing wrong with running that 17-year-old champion barrel horse you saw on Craigslist as long as he is physically fit and sound to continue doing so. And most often, and older quieter horse is perfect for someone who is just starting to learn the barrels. The hose is experienced and knows his job so that the rider can focus their attention on themselves and their riding, since the horse already knows what to do.
I too have seen a lot of horses who are hurting that either need vet care for their problems or need to stop running. Unfortunately, it is a free country and people can do what they want with their horses.
But as long as the horse is taken care of properly, they can most certainly be able to run barrels all their life and into their 20's.
When the horse can no longer do his job because of soundness or other issues, or no longer enjoys doing it.
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