Senior Horses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 11-23-2012, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Senior Horses

Is there a thread dedicated to senior horses? Their specific needs, possible or common health concerns, requirements, abilities and limitations, etc.? My husband and I are looking into adopting (through a rescue) two senior horses as companions only. I would love to talk to other owners about the "over 20 crowd"!
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post #2 of 19 Old 11-23-2012, 10:25 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
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I have a 23 year old rescue. And let me tell you, he is absolutely amazing. He is so in tune to everything. Sweetest horse I've ever had.
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post #3 of 19 Old 11-23-2012, 10:26 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Minnesota
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How about going on 20? I would love to join in. My girl will be 20 in march and is also a rescue. I halter broke her this past January and she has been under saddle since April.

She has turned into a money eating monster but we click so well.
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post #4 of 19 Old 11-23-2012, 10:27 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Tennessee
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I have a 20 yr old. He's just as great as he was when he was 5. Maybe a little less manners now lol. I'm actually looking into starting to teach him a few tricks, to keep his mind young.
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post #5 of 19 Old 11-23-2012, 10:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
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I have a few oldies here. Hondo is 30, Jana is 25, Buttons is 23, Missy is 21 and my sister's quarter pony Stubby is 21. The first 3 were all born here. All of them are completely sound and pretty easy keepers aside from the old man who is a bit of work to keep weight on.
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Life is like a camera. Focus on what's important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives and if things don't work out, Take another shot.
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post #6 of 19 Old 11-23-2012, 10:53 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Northern Michigan
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My Sorrel QH, 'Star' is 21, and was my first horse - she's a strong alpha, and so smart! My bay Morgan is 19 and will be in the '20's set' this spring. I got her just this past August, and she's also a very smart, sweet girl. (She was trained in Natural Horsemanship from the age of 2.) We feel as if she's been with us forever! Both of these 'young seniors' have done incredible things in their youth, and are still vibrant and healthy. They are pleasure horses for me, and I love them with all my heart :)
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post #7 of 19 Old 11-24-2012, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2008
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This is so great to hear. Obviously some of the most difficult horses for a rescue to place are the older, non-broke or companion only horses, but my husband and I want to look out to our pastures and see some horses, and know that they are going to be cared for properly for however many years they have left. Can anyone talk to me about senior feed, if you use it, any teeth issues? Does anyone recommend soaking feed or is that more of an individual need? Also, do you blanket and/or find they are harder to keep through the winters?
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post #8 of 19 Old 11-24-2012, 01:02 AM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Tennessee
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I don't feed a special senior feed. I feed a low starch low sugar pellet in the summer, and soaked beet pulp in the winter. This is the first winter I noticed him dropping weight when it got cold, but as soon as I started the beetpulp he gained his weight back. I do notice him dropping his feed, but I think that was just a bad float job, and am going to have a different vet do it again soon. I don't blanket mine, but as I said, I've been successful with the beetpulp. If he drops weight later in the winter and seems to not want to gain it back, I would consider putting one on him as long as he is otherwise healthy.
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post #9 of 19 Old 11-24-2012, 02:34 AM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Georgia
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My Appaloosa named Shadow is 27 and I got her emaciated last year. She has put on weight really good especially for an old lady. When she was finally able to ride I was really nervous but that girl is an angel. I feel so good about her that I let my 9 year old deaf daughter ride her around the yard by herself. She does not act her age at all! She is the best behaved horse I have ever met.

I do feed her Senior feed and beet pulp that I soak because she choked when I first started feeding her grain. I feed her the beet pulp because she still needs a few pounds. I blanket her every night and that is again because of her weight. But she is gaining weight very well. I have friends that stop over ever so often and every time they do they comment about how they can't believe that is the same horse I got a year ago.
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post #10 of 19 Old 11-24-2012, 03:21 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Oregon
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My Lacey girl is turning 28 in the spring! As far as "special needs" go, my girl's only major special need is that she's mostly blind due to ERU (Moon Blindness) so she needs special things (limited mud, she gets "stuck" sometimes in her pasture and can't find her way back to where she wants to be so she's stalled at night to prevent that sort of thing, doesn't do well with other horses, etc) that way. As far as limitations due to her age, I haven't come upon any yet.
I mean, she is much "easier" to deal with than a younger horse since she pretty much knows the rules, she's not too interested in just making trouble, that kind of thing. However, she's never had her full vision in the time I've had her (I "rescued"/got her when she was 23) so I'm not really sure how much is vision-loss related behavior and how much is just her.

I do blanket her when it rains, at night, and when it's below 40*F since her ERU can be triggered by getting chilled and because...well, she deserves the cushy life!

I don't feed her anything special, she does have insulin resistance (like diabetes, for horses) so she is on a low starch-low sugar diet. She gets a pound of alfalfa pellets in the morning and a pound at night mixed with 4 oz of flax seed (they help her eyes and make her coat really soft) and 2oz MSM (also for her eyes but helps with her joints too), soaked. And she gets free-choice grass hay plus 5lbs of alfalfa per day. She has all her teeth so the soaking is really just to make sure she actually eats her supplements. She also prefers it soaked so who am I to refuse!
Her "thing" is being stupidly obese all summer, then dropping weight like crazy in the winter. So she wears a grazing muzzle all summer plus no hay (her pasture is more than sufficient in the grazing department) and as few pellets as possible to get her supps in her, then in the winter, she gets lots of pellets, lots of hay, and alfalfa. The alfalfa in the "ticket" to keeping weight on her in the winter - every other solution just fails.

I think the worst part of owning an older horse is the question of when they'll go. I adore my girl and I can't imagine my life without the old lady but I know that at nearly 28, ten more years is not super likely. And that's hard. At the same time, knowing that, every morning I see her gallop, bucking, out of her stall is all the more special.
I figure that if she can have that much exuberant joy, who am I to complain that my train is late or that I didn't get an A on a test. WHO CARES, I'm alive and that's the best thing ever!

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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