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Chickenoverlord 10-06-2013 11:47 AM

Is my horse to old?
My horse is a 14 hand, 18 year old Arabian (that's what he was sold as) gelding. I am 5'5 116 lbs. he needs conditioning, but is in great health, the vet told me I had no limits to what I could do with him other than jumping high, because he is so short (duh). He is barefoot, with really good feet but ouchy on large gravel. He is very spirited in the arena, but calms down in the woods, and I swear I have never tired him out (the closest I came was a crazy gallop uphill through the trails in 100 degree heat, and he just needed a few minutes of walking and he was back to being perky). Is he too old to condition for some LD rides, or maybe a fifty mile if he does good at the shorter ones? My dressage and eventing friends think it would be dangerous to make a horse his age work that long. What do you experts think?

Dustbunny 10-06-2013 11:58 AM

Well, personally I would not start an 18 year old (it sounds like he does not have papers as the age may be in question) out in endurance. It takes time and many miles to condition even for limited distance. I know horses that age compete but the ones I have seen had been at it for some time.
What about some sort of competitive trail? A slower pace and maybe a good place to start. Just a thought.

Chickenoverlord 10-06-2013 12:02 PM

Ok, I'll check it out! And I had two different vets age him, and they said that he was 16-18, so I'm saying he is 18 just to be safe.

Chickenoverlord 10-06-2013 12:04 PM

Oh, and of course anything I do with him will be for fun, not trying to win.

Cat 10-06-2013 12:57 PM

18 really is not that old for a healthy Arabian as long as he does not have any arthritis or anything. I would take it slow and easy on conditioning him, watch him like a hawk and have a vet evaluation before trying a race. And of course start out with one of the shorter races available. I believe endurance races have vet checks throughout so if issues arise at any point during the race he could easily be pulled before any serious issues arise. It's always important, but will be more so for him due to his age, for you to be in tune with him and notice if anything is off. But really - you could easily have another 10-20 years with this horse considering his breed.

There is one Arabian a few years back that was still racing in his late 30s. I think 38? Arabians tend to be long-lived and hold up well over time compared to many other breeds.

Kato 10-06-2013 01:00 PM

I'd think you would be fine if you condition him slowly for LD. I got my girl at 13 and started doing LD style rides with her this year (she is 14 now). She is a champ and sure she could do endurance if we conditioned a bit more. If she were to show signs of not enjoying it or it being too much for her we would stop. As it is now Blaze sees the trailer hooked up she gets excited and if I let her loose she would run & jump into her spot, she loves going placed so much.

I also just got a 17 year old gelding. He too is ouchy on gravel. But he is also under weight. I have no plans to push the old guy into anything he doesn't want to do. I've noticed as he had gained weight he has shown more spirit and energy. Once he is up to a good weight we will stretch our rides a bit longer. My hope for him is to be able to do 10-15 mile rides with walk/trot so that my daughter can ride with me when I am working my girl. I don't expect him to be able to do 30 let alone 50 miles....but he could surprise me yet.

All in all it really comes down to the horse. No matter what you do as long as you both enjoy it, that is the most important thing.

Chickenoverlord 10-06-2013 01:20 PM

Ok, good to hear that older horses do it! I tried dressage with him, but he doesnt like it and only seems happy when out on the trails. If I could do a 15-20 mile one on him and finish, I would be happy. If I wanna go farther, I will get a younger horse :)

Chickenoverlord 10-06-2013 01:23 PM

He is also possibly the only horse out there that gets angry if he isn't ridden. I was out of town, and apperently he was VERY upset when the he saw some horses in the ring without him. He was apparently running up and down the fence line and pawing at the gate (o.0) and he does this if I am even a little late tacking him up.

Sharpie 10-06-2013 01:45 PM

His age may or may not be an issue for endurance. It depends on what you want to do yourself- if you want to ride LD and maybe eventually 50's and complete, with good slow work and conditioning, he may very well be happy and sound doing it. If you want to race and win, I would get a different horse. I have a QH, which is not an endurance breed typically, but we can still DO endurance and finish. I don't expect to place top 10 (ever), but that's okay as my only real goal is to enjoy some long rides with my horse. Look at yourself and your goals, be honest, and see if you can honestly and fairly expect your horse to be able to meet them.

The only way to know if he can do and finish is to start conditioning and see how it goes. Take it slow, be alert and on the lookout for pain, soreness or him just not being 'right,' but go out there and do it. It takes a year to three to really get a horse thoroughly conditioned, but if he's going well, happy, sound and you all are enjoying yourself, there's no reason you couldn't try a LD or two next summer. Just remember that the big 'problem' with older horses is that they're not going to heal or condition as fast as youngsters, so if you over-do it, it will take longer for him to get back to being sound and healthy, so it is even more important for you to be conservative, mindful, and pay attention to how he is doing.

Age is a number, not a disease, and healthy well-exercised horses are going to live longer than out of shape pasture puffs. Get out there and ride. :)

Chickenoverlord 10-06-2013 02:08 PM

Ok! Yeah, I'm not planning to win anything, just get out there and have fun with it. If I really like it, I will get a younger horse that I can compete with, but right now I just wanna enjoy myself. I was also considering putting him back to some barrel racing, as he loves it (and is trained for it) and I like doing it as well. He was only retired from that a few years ago because his previous owner outgrew him.

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