Caring for a senior horse?
I might be getting a 23 year old horse soon, but need a bit of advice on caring for an older horse. He is an AQH, Western Pleasure, 15.3 hh, and has a very swayed back. So ANY things involving caring for an older horse please comment!
I have taken care of a few senior horses in my time... ranging in age from 19 to 35.
With my oldest mare cheyeene (who just turned 35 last April) some of the tips that work with her is
- she cant chew hay and very rarely chooses to eat it anymore so we give her a special diet... Also since she cant chew as well we soak all her feed for about 10 minutes till it is a nice mash
- also with the senior ones you need to get their teeth checked every year... my mare only needs them floated about every 2 - 3 years but she gets them checked every year.
- my mare has some arthritis that really only bothers here when it is cold... so when the cold weather moves in we just give her STP in her morning feed and she is fine.
- we also make sure to put a blanket on her when it is cold out so that she can stay warm and toasty.
I would suggest a senior feed, check out how many teeth the old one has and what shape they are in. (my 28 year old only has a few left). I like to give my guy compressed hay because he can actually eat that. Otherwise he'll chew it into a cud and then spit it out.
pay attention in the winter because sometimes they have a harder time maintaining their body heat and may need a blankie earlier then the others, also in the summer they may need a hose down quicker then the others.
I also have to monitor water intake in the winter. When it gets really cold I'll bring warm water down from the house because mine won't drink it when it's really cold and he's prone to colic when the weather changes.
You may consider adding a joint supplement to the diet.
That's all I can think of for now...
i have and i love my seniors. i have Doc, AQH out of Doc Bar, he is 35. I have Hickory, AQH out of Doc Bar, he is 31. both are sway backed and have become "harder" keepers as they have aged. but i still ride both weekly. prolly a couple times a week max. i give regular (daily) massages to both. You need to keep up with their teeth floating, watch for hay or feed "balling" up as a sign, if you arent clear. I keep mine on a scoop of senior, a scoop of sweet feed, half cup or beets, and a splash of corn oil. plenty of treats and loving rubs! they keep weight on in the winter and in the summer as well. i have found that as horses age they tend to go to the water trough less, so to keep them hydraded (their rears will suck in when they arent getting enough water) i add a little orange flavored gatorade mix to their trough and have found they do much better. Hickory is a still a lil funny about getting enough water in the summer so i soak all his feed in water, and up the amount of gatorade mix in the trough. another thing is they typically dont heat as good as younger horses. my seniors are the only ones i keep blanketed.
when i ride i ride bareback, for multiple reasons, one is less weight, second is with their sway backs, its much more comfortable to them. i also dont ride with any kind of bridle or halter, they know by now what to do. they love the attention and dont feel liek they have been "turned out to pasture". i dont force em to ride, when i come out, they are by the gate and i've been saying "wanna go ride" for two decades to both and they both know what follows and i say that now and they are both standing at the gate ready!
I have a 18 year old mare and the pony I borrowed was 23 years old, I gave them as much good quality hay she want's. High in protein and low in sugar.
I would feed them a senior feed or a stud feed, depending on the analysis of the hay. I often soak the feed in water, just to make sure they get some extra water.
I also give them multivitamins.
And, when my mare's not in foal, I give her a joint supplement called Congrogen and it's a mix of hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine sulphate and manganese sulphate - work miracles on old horses. (lol not sure I got the translation right...)
Make sure to give the horse extra proteins right before it starts to shed it's winter coat.
I think old horses need some light exercise every day. Perhaps a little walk for about 30 minutes.
Check the teeth often, at least once a year. Mine get her teeth checked more often then so, but we rarely do anything with them, just get a checkup to see if everything is on order.
My mare, (230 days pregnant.)
My old pony, 23 years in these pictures. He competed in the biggest competitions you could here in Sweden until he was 25.
Stopped competing at age 26 and nowadays he's keeping the youngsters company. :-)
Thank you! I am going to get him on Life Design Senior Horse Feed by Nutrena and I'll soak his feed and crush it and soak his hay(: Boston is his name hes my dads horse, my horse is 12 and we have her on Purina Strategy( :
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