watching for signs of pain in older horses - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 4 Old 08-14-2014, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Texas
Posts: 90
• Horses: 2
watching for signs of pain in older horses

My Arabian mare is around 25 years old, she's always been an easy-keeper, she's been ridden for the past 7 years with no issues. She looks really good for her age, and she still has plenty of energy and that "go" attitude when I ride. At one point, she was on MSM in powdered form on her feed as a joint supplement, but I took her off it after realizing she really didn't need it and it was just an extra expense. That was about three years ago, she's been fine ever since - hasn't shown signs of discomfort or stiffness.

The other day I was bringing her in from the pasture to ride and I thought she might have been lagging in her hind legs a little. I felt down her legs, picked out her hooves, poked around on her back with no issues (other than some confused looks from her ). She didn't react in any way that indicated pain, so I went ahead and rode, but tried to keep it light. I try to only ride in the evenings because it's so hot, and we don't do anything too strenuous. I w/t/c, sometimes we go on trails, and last week I worked her over some 6-inch cavalettis.

My problem is, it's difficult to tell sometimes when I'm riding if she's holding her tail that way because she hurts, or if it's just because she's an Arabian. When I trot her on a lunge line or she's running in the pasture, she holds it up, but is there a way to differentiate between the two?

That being said, I don't want her to be in pain, but she still likes to work. I certainly don't want to quit riding, and I don't think she would either but obviously her health and comfort come first; I know that Arabians are sometimes known for having a big heart and wanting to do more than they really can (but why hold her back if she's still capable?).

Part of me feels like this is all dreamt up in my head, but I just want to be aware, as she continues to age. What are some other signs I could be looking for? I don't really notice any stiffness in her joints, although once it starts getting cold again I may put her back on MSM just for good measure. Any help would be appreciated...thanks!
elisie is offline  
post #2 of 4 Old 08-15-2014, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Texas
Posts: 90
• Horses: 2
bump - anyone?
elisie is offline  
post #3 of 4 Old 08-15-2014, 10:29 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3,347
• Horses: 0
If she isn't showing any signs of discomfort or reluctance to work I wouldn't stress too much.

I would ditch msm though. If you really want a joint supplement I can not rave enough about Omega Alpha SinewX. Its all natural, vegan and its made of products that a horse can actually digest.

BB ~ 2014 Trakehner Bratty Mare ~ 1993 CSHA Em ~ 2007 Standardbred
NBEventer is offline  
post #4 of 4 Old 08-15-2014, 10:34 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gallant, Alabama
Posts: 2,474
• Horses: 8
I have an older mare myself and she let's me know when she's in pain.

Over the past year, she's been walking stiffer and stiffer, but when she first started getting that way, it was hard for me to see.

I am a good judge by the way my horses walk, if they are in pain or not... well, on the fronts, at least... I look at their neck and head-set and whether or not they are tense in the shoulders (or hips)...

It's sometimes hard to judge... sometimes taking a video and looking back over it helps a lot! I took a video of my mare walking the other day and when I looked back at it, I noticed just how bad stiff and tense she was, and just by watching her, I couldn't hardly tell.

Horseshoe Loop Farm: Home of Gypsie (22 y/o TWH mare), Dakota (10 y/o TWH gelding), Codie (18 y/o Walkaloosa gelding) & Harlow (9 y/o APHA mare)
Britt is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
STUDY: Younger Horses Appear Able to Learn by Watching Corporal Horse Training 10 04-11-2014 09:33 PM
Mare showing signs of pain, any other thoughts? minihorse927 Horse Health 14 03-04-2012 03:41 PM
Will you still be watching it? Horses die filming 'Luck' DuffyDuck Horse Talk 8 02-12-2012 08:08 AM
Stall Signs/Bridle Hang signs and more ShutUpJoe Tack and Equipment Classifieds 5 02-01-2010 11:39 PM
Signs for Barns--Horses, etc--clipart now on website! daveengraves Tack and Equipment Classifieds 0 04-30-2009 09:18 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome