When is it time to stop riding an older horse? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 37 Old 01-24-2020, 04:20 PM
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I don't know if i would ride him until he's up to optimal weight. And I agree with blanketing in colder temps to help him save calories.

But i do believe it is a good idea to keep working older horses (within reason). Even handwalking down the road, etc or ponying for a short ride - I think they really enjoy getting out and about. It probably does wonders for their mind, not to mention their bodies.

He looked great last year - extremely good for a horse his age!!
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post #22 of 37 Old 01-24-2020, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for everyone’s replies. I think what I might do is limit riding until I have a consult with the vet and proceed from there. I am concerned about his weight and loss of condition on the top line. Even though he gained a bit of weight since I started supplementing.
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post #23 of 37 Old 05-22-2020, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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An update! Montana has been gaining weight over the last while and now is looking much better. He has a ton more energy and we started riding him for short distances and make sure he’s good with it. He seems to take it all in stride and we have to keep asking him to slow down as he keeps wanting to go faster. He def got some of his spunk back.
Last week I turned him back to the barn after about 4km while the other rider continued on. He was not a happy camper having to return.

If he keeps wanting to go, how do I know he actually is? Anyone do pulse checks as a way to gauge if they’re being overloaded and it’s time to stop?
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post #24 of 37 Old 05-22-2020, 02:37 PM
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His eagerness to go faster may be an attempt to stay with the other horses. Not to be unkind but he still looks border thin in the above pic, if this is an older picture I apologize, but wanted to caution about too much work and working off any weight he has gained. I have a friend that rides her 25 yr old all over and you would never know Misty's age until she is asked to do a lot of hills etc. She is then obviously very tired, so when taking Misty out we stick to flat trails and walking and Misty does perfectly well.
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post #25 of 37 Old 05-22-2020, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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That’s a recent pic, and yes he’s not where I want him to be yet. But we’re getting there 🙂. He does t get ridden much at all and it’s 98% flat and at a walk. Just want him to have some condition without overworking. When left behind he’ll run like crazy the whole time.
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post #26 of 37 Old 05-22-2020, 08:15 PM
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I'm afraid he still looks really thin to me. I'd be giving him hemp oil or camelina oil, and either a senior feed or a similar type product. Our Harley is 21 and had a harder time gaining weight over the winter, but he still looks much fuller than Montana (sorry, I know you're doing your best, really). Harley is my daughter's horse and she will be competing with him in dressage and low fences again this summer. He is ridden about 5 times a week by her (a 100 lb 15 yr old in a light cc saddle) and has tons of energy, but I still feel he needs extra calories (even moreso with that schedule), so I've just put him on Elite Equine Evolve by Elite Three. Also, Harley was diagnosed with arthritis in the hocks last summer, but the vet said we should keep working him. We put him on Previcox (Equiox) for a few months, but when we ran out and couldn't get more because of the pandemic, we realized he wasn't moving differently without it. So we are now assuming his hocks have fully fused and he isn't in pain. We aren't planning on putting him back on the Previcox unless he shows us he's hurting. So even arthritis isn't necessarily a reason to stop riding a horse. Movement helps them stay healthy much longer.

I don't think you need to stop riding him since he appears to really enjoy it, and is full of life in that wonderful photo, but I do think he needs calories asap. If he is gaining weight, then keep at it, you're doing something right! If not, definitely add something else. Hemp oil and camelina oil are anti-inflammatory so those are generally considered better than other oils.

I think that with the right diet, he can still keep going on for a long time.
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post #27 of 37 Old 05-22-2020, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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He does need more weight, and with the fresh grass he’s gaining much faster than with any supplemental feed I was giving. I’m hoping by mid summer he’ll be back to being a butter ball. I’m just happy as he’s visibly gained weight from winter months. I just hope he doesn’t start dropping it again come next winter. Time will tell.
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post #28 of 37 Old 05-23-2020, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saigold View Post
He does need more weight, and with the fresh grass hes gaining much faster than with any supplemental feed I was giving. Im hoping by mid summer hell be back to being a butter ball. Im just happy as hes visibly gained weight from winter months. I just hope he doesnt start dropping it again come next winter. Time will tell.
Yes, access to grass makes it so much easier for them to put on weight. Harley is the same (Ijust started transitioning to grass about a week ago). For Harley, it's because his teeth are worn and he's not efficient at grinding hay. He'll eat it, but slowly. Grass doesn't need to be ground up as much. Let's hope our seniors keep plugging away for a very long time still!

But next winter, consider Evolve by Elite Three if he's dropping weight. Or some other similar type product that will give lots of calories, none of the extra energy, and no sugar or fillers. Evolve is also well priced.
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post #29 of 37 Old 05-23-2020, 08:04 AM
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Something to consider is that he may be feeling more insecure because of having pain and not feeling as strong due to aging. This can lead to a horse getting very upset at being left alone, because instinct tells them that is similar to being left to die by the herd because an old horse can't keep up anymore. That does not mean a horse enjoys going out and being ridden, but would be more a sign that the horse feels very insecure to be left alone at an age and in a condition where a predator would pick them off.

My 29 year old mare has been retired for several years now. She maintains a good weight but arthritis in her back began to show up as stumbling a bit and then one day without warning she went down flat on her face with a rider, giving the rider a serious concussion. I'd advise if your horse stumbles at all and is not in great condition, you may be putting a rider at risk for an injury. My mare has been feeling more insecure about being left alone for the past year, and I think it is due to what I mentioned above. What I do since I can't ride her is either lead her along when we go for rides or take the horses for walks together to get her exercise. If I have to leave her behind I put her where she can see other horses so she doesn't get upset.

In your case I think leaving your horse to worry, stress and run is probably worse than a short ride at the walk, and will also keep him from gaining weight. More ideally you would leave him with a buddy, or pony him instead of ride.
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post #30 of 37 Old 05-26-2020, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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With summer being busy I don’t always remember to check this forum.

I also hope that he’ll be able to maintain his weight into and through winter. I guess that will give me an idea wether he lost it because he got pretty depressed after losing his buddy last February or if age and other factors had more to do with it.

They have access to 5 acres of pasture. So he gets his exercise by walking on his own just to graze and get to water. He has a ton of neighbors horses right across the fence. But he’s at the bottom of the totem pole and whoever he bonds to is the one he wants to be with. Running the fence isn’t new to him. I’ve had him since he was 15 and in excellent shape and he just always did it if I took the other horse out. So don’t think this is happening because he’s aging. Also no stumbling for him. Anytime we ride we usually just walk. And sometimes trot.

He’s been trying to get in front of the lead horse too. Which to me is a sign of energy.

Keeping fingers crossed that he keeps gaining and feeling his oats.
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