What age would you consider a horse TOO OLD to be ridden?
I am considering buying a 21 yr. old mare that doesn't look a day older then 10... she has plenty of get up and go, is very healthy, and just fun to be around... pictured below.
Oh, and she is a registered QH with Two eye'd Jack breeding.
Note; I do have another post on HF asking you to critique her conformation :)
ok, she not really young. but she looks great and with a sweet face. if you like her, go on don't exitate and get her. I'm sure you'll have fun.
There is no set age - some horses are used up/afflicted with injuries or conditions that render them non-ridable fairly young and others are able to move comfortably well into their later years.
I would suggest a good PPE and deciding from there.
I agree, there isn't really a set age, it's different for each individual. I used to show a horse that was 27, and did well.
For me if the horse is relatively healthy, correct weight, sound and WANTS to get out and go, then there is no reason it shouldn't be ridden. Horses that have navicular, ringbone, etc... it depends on how well it's being managed and how comfortable the horse is. Many of these horses have no problems however you do have to have proper shoeing for their condition and take it a little easier on them... no barrels, jumps, 8 hour trail rides etc. If the horse has been used pretty lightly most of it's life (mostly trails, etc) and not barrel raced, jumped, etc then there is a good chance it can go up into the 30's. I'm NOT saying however that horses that have been athletic aren't just as good at older ages, it's just that when you buy at this age an you don't know how the horse was cared for, what preventative measures were taken with it, etc... Unless you have known and ridden with these people for a while then it could have some mild soundness issues that may slip past your vet check but affect your riding later.
I would definitely have the horse vet checked to make sure there aren't any hidden issues and then if the vet passes the horse, go have some great rides on a great horse that knows what it's doing :)
The oldest horse I have ever ridden was 33. We did a lot of walking - but she insisted in trotting quite a bit too. We rode for about two hours.
Then again, I have seen horses who were done at 17. It depends on the horse.
I have also read an article in Equus (YEARS ago) about a man who took 1st in a 50 mile ride riding his 24 year old Arab.
I agree it depends on the horse's willingness, pain level (if any) and their general mental and physical condition. A vet check could probably tell you a lot, and relieve concerns :) Back when I worked on a trail farm, I was shocked when I found out most of the horses there were well into their 20's, and a couple into their 30's! These were horses that still had plenty of go and could do 4 hours of trails every other day (generally one day work, one day rest, we rotated a lot.)
I 100% agree with the previous posters.
I have a 27 year old mare who, though she's finally physically starting to give into age a bit, mentally think she's about 4 1/2.
The things you have to think about with an older horse are:
1) they are yours until they die. After they hit 24-25, it's going to be hard, if not impossible to sell that horse to pretty much any reputable owner and by that point, the horse has really earned a stable reliable life anyway.
2) You're just in time (maybe in a few years in this gals case) for all the age-related expenses. Sure, young horses have unexpected expenses, but in old age, horses often get things like Cushings which require spendy daily medication. Or, she could be like my mare, made it all the way to 27 without issues but was just diagnosed with Moon Blindness in both eyes. That means she cannot go without a flymask when it's sunny, ever. If she has another inevitable Uveitis attack, it'll cost me about $175 just for that time. Then, eventually it'll happen again, etc etc. Then, if she ever needs surgery to remove her eyes (hopefully not), I'm looking a bill of over $300.
My girl would have passed a PPE 4 years ago when I got her and probably still would, except for the fact that she has pretty limited vision. When I bought her, I never even considered blindess as a possibility, ever. I thought she might become old and lame in her thirties (hope not, obviously) but I never considered that she might be looking at spending her thirties without sight...
All that being said, I love my older horse, she's a ton of fun. She's taught me so much and she has a home, no matter what, rideable/blind as a bat/whatever.
There's just a a lot more work and money, not to mention love, that goes into the responsible ownership of an older horses than is "required" for responsible ownership of a younger horse.
As others have mentioned, it varies horse to horse, no one can tell you "too old" sight unseen! As long as you get a "clear to go" from a vet, I'd go for it! She may have many more years of riding left in her, as well as love to give!
I got my horse when he was 28, 14 years later I still have him, I did retire him about 5 years(he was about 37 when I retired him, he would still gallop all the way home from a trail ride lol) ago when I got pregnant, but I have ridden him since and he would be completely ride-able if it weren't for an injury to his hock that happened in October.
it depends on the horse and what horse is used for
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