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post #11 of 19 Old 11-24-2012, 08:30 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 3,498
• Horses: 1
My Lizzy dear is a very hard keeper. She also needs to be worked several days a week or she turns into a fire breathing monster. So because of her work her feed is upped even more. But I wouldn't trade her for anything. We are now training to do endurance in the spring. You wouldn't know she is almost 20, most people are extremely surprised when I tell them. She hasn't come up stiff yet but she is also on a scoop of msm morning and night.

She has 5 blankets for the different weather. She cannot get rained on or she instantly shivers. She will run straight into the barn and into "her" stall. She's not technically stall board yet but I would like her to be this winter as we are already getting snow and windchills in the single digits.

I soak all her feed, mixes everything together better and she has a history of choke.
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post #12 of 19 Old 11-24-2012, 08:48 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Valley of the Sun
Posts: 3,003
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Most of our kids are pretty young.
Mona is the old lady of the group at 15. She's starting to get arthritis and having issues with her hips. I want to keep her sound and healthy as long as possible.
How do you guys keep them going and moving? Any tips?

So in lies the madness, the pursuit of the impossible in the face of the complete assurance that you will fail, and yet still you chase.
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post #13 of 19 Old 11-24-2012, 09:03 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Middle Tennessee
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More than once I have thought a section strictly for Seniors would be a good idea.

18 and up might be the starting point, since "things" seem to start happening when a horse hits their late teens - if it's going to happen.

I took my first two Keepers the ages of 27 and 29 (the 29 year old was born on my parents farm when I was 13). That was in the early 80's and, except for a few stitches, they both were extremely healthy until their last 2 - 3 years.

My current Crew of Keepers are 17, 18, 25, 26-1/2. The three Walking Horses are frought with issues. The Arab is 26-1/2 and has some issues, as I rescued him 19+ years ago; at this point he has become the healthiest horse in the barn. I feel like my barn has morphed into a Skilled Nursing Facility for Horses.

On to the OP's very important questions:

Anytime a person rescues, you have to take that horse in with the knowledge that you don't have a lot of knowledge regarding the horse

1) Putting weight back on a horse is the easy part.

2) Giving the hooves proper care might be the next easiest part -- unless the horse has foundered at some point in time, then whomever does the hoof work needs to be well versed in how to managed the hooves.

3) Many of these rescues end up with ulcers - acidic digestive juices keep working whether there's any food to process or not. Stress of abuse/neglect can induce ulcers. The new owner has to be on the watch for the slightest of symptoms. Vets can't determine ulcers with 100% accuracy unless the horse is scoped but, there's enough other indicators (even to the owner) that ulcers can pretty much be determined.

There are two types of ulcers: Gastric stomach ulcers are the most common and VERY common - even in well-cared for horses. Hind gut ulcers are not so common and more expensive to deal with.

4) Not all feeds are created equal -- STEP AWAAAAY FROM THE SWEET FEED!!" If I could lobby to get rid of anything in the horse nutrition world it would be sweet feed. Have a little grain with 50 pounds of sugar. It's like feeding a ten year old boy HI-C and Hershey Bars every day until he's old enough to get his driver's license - provided he doesn't develope diabetes by that time.

4.1) Horses DO get Type II Diabetes except it's called insulin resistance. That is something that could easily be lurking in a rescue horse as it's very common these days in horses that get the best of care.

4.2) Best to feed a Ration Balancer that has all the vitamins/minerals a horse needs. Even though most RB's already have a pre-probiotic in them, I would buy one and it the recommended dosage to the horse's feed pan anyway.

All senior horses will benefit from a pre-probiotic and rescues even moreso

4.3) Feed quality grass hay - stay away from excessively stemmy hay, if at all possible. Senior horses do NOT have the same chewing ability as they did when they were younger, regardless of whether the vet says those teeth "are good to go" or "should be fine". The fluffier the hay the better, you can even wet a down a bit.

Senior horses often benefit from some alfalfa. You could either buy Standlees alfalfa pellets at Tractor Supply or Standlees timothy/alfalfa cubes at Tractor Supply. Cubes need soaked down to much so the horse doesn't choke.

Forage, forage, forage - horses were designed to eat forage not to have their feed pans filled with horse feed - we humans thought up that feed business.

But in this day and age, horses do need vit/min supplements which is why a Ration Balancer is a good idea.

If the horse has trouble holding weight calcium fortified equine rice bran can be added at the recommended amounts on the bag. Tractor Supply carries Manna Pro's Max-E-Glo.

There's also beet pulp pellets that do not require soaking like regular beet pulp does.

5. Watch for stiffness. Even the healthiest of horses develop arthritis. That would be something for a new horse owner to address with the vet. We all have suggestions but consulting with the vet FIRST to get an accurate diagnosis is important.

6. Lastly comes inevitable gut-wrenching knowledge of knowing that, someday, the horse(s) has to be sent on to its ancestors.

What plans will you make for that? Do you have room on your property to bury them - are you zoned in such a way that you're permitted to bury livestock on your property? If not, who would take the horse away once the vet lays it to rest?

I hope I didn't scare you away from your desire to give one or two seniors their Forever Home but these are all "what if" issues you and your checkbook have to be prepared to deal with.

The only absolute you have to think ahead on is #6.

Please keep asking question and good luck on your venture
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post #14 of 19 Old 11-24-2012, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 11,953
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Great post walkin!

I am fortunate to have all but one that are easy keepers and none have metabolic issues. All of them but Hondo get a small amount of ration balancer and good quality timothy/orchard hay. Hondo is a bit more challenging. This year the drought and excessive heat really took its toll on him and he lost a fair amount of weight and I struggled keeping him in fair condition through it. I was quite worried about him, vet & I worked together to keep him in fair shape. Thankfully he is now getting back to where he should be, I'd like to see another 50 lbs to feel comfortable about winter without needing to blanket him. He's a blanket destroying champ so that's a futile battle. He gets a mash (he has very few teeth at 30) of timothy pellets, beet pulp, progressive's pro advantage balancer, pre & probiotics & a liquid fat supplement. He then gets free choice hay - nice grass with no stems, if the grass gets a bit heavy or stemmy I have to chop it for him. Thankfully we have good hay in the barn so I don't have to chop right now.

Originally Posted by flytobecat View Post
Most of our kids are pretty young.
Mona is the old lady of the group at 15. She's starting to get arthritis and having issues with her hips. I want to keep her sound and healthy as long as possible.
How do you guys keep them going and moving? Any tips?
I've been fortunate to have oldies with no real soundness issues. Buttons has a small touch of arthritis starting but has yet to take a lame step. I have her on msm & yucca as a preventative measure. She had a few months off (she went into hormone hyperdrive and was a wench stuck in a permanent heat cycle - ultrasound showed 13 follicles , we joke that the old broodie wanted another baby really badly lol) after we got her straightened out I figured she would be a bit stiff coming back into work, she does have a few pops and creaks now and again but came back just fine.

I'm a firm believer in "Use it or lose it". All of mine have been rode on a fairly regular basis their whole lives. They aren't worked hard these days but do get rode a few days a week by my daughter or lesson kids. They all had long show careers and aside from the old man because of saddle fitting nightmares any one of them could be legged up and back in the show pen with no worries. I think keeping them fairly active plays a huge role in keeping them going. I make a point with them to take a bit more time warming up and do an absorbine/acv rubdown after rides, on legs, back, hips & shoulders and then handwalk for a few minutes before turning them back out to pasture.
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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 #15 of 19 Old 11-24-2012, 11:04 AM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Tennessee
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Keeping them active is def a must. I try to ride my boy twice a week, plus 24/7 turnout. He loves going on trail rides. He's a retired barrel horse so he also loves to run. He knows when we come up on the flat spot on the trail. Who am I to tell him no lol, I give him the reins and let him go. He burst forward with enthusiasm I only hope to have when I get old. He also got certified as a mounted patrol horse in October. He loved going through that class. We had some moments going through that, but it all came together in the end.
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post #16 of 19 Old 11-24-2012, 11:13 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: northeast Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,205
• Horses: 6
I have a 42 year old Arab/QH who is the king of hard keepers, I got him when he was 28 but he acted 5 lol. I have an appy who vet says is in his early 20's he is the easiest keeper I've ever seen, gets fat on air. My "young" horse is a 15 year old OTTB who has ulcers so she can be a hard keeper...when I'm not trying to type on my phones little screen I'll add more :) oldies are well worth the time and extra care they sometimes need!
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post #17 of 19 Old 11-24-2012, 03:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Stroudsburg, Pa
Posts: 992
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I have two coming 20 old ladies, my first pony and my barrel horse. I've had Magic, the pony, since she was three. And Annie since she was 7. Magic is still a little spitfire and bosses my gelding around, runs away when she doesn't want to be caught, goes into the wrong paddock when turned out then gets bratty and trots off tossing her head. I love it, if it were any other horse it'd drive me nuts but since she's my old girl I allow it. Annie is still mentally all there, but her body isn't doing as well. She's cowhocked and arthritic. She had an injury to her knee a year ago that ended her career, and while she's still pasture sound and maybe very light riding, I fear she's only got a few more years. If her knee hadn't blown out I could be trail riding her and keeping her arthritis a little more in check, I think. But we go for walks and she still has a lot of go to her, even with a knee that doesn't bend very well. As soon as the bad days outnumber the good ones, I'll know its time. But for now she's still happy being herd boss and pushing my gelding around. :)
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post #18 of 19 Old 11-25-2012, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Alberta
Posts: 1,856
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My old man Sam is a Clyde x Appy coming up 22. So far, he is still doing pretty well. He keeps his weight on well, has a reasonable amount of energy, and grows a nice thick winter coat (and then loses it in the summer). I had is teeth done in the spring, and the vet said they were pretty good for his age, but we monitor him closely. He does have some arthritis and is starting to lose some muscle tone in his back. In the summer, we try to ride him at least twice a week, pleasure riding only, which helps maintain his back muscles. In winter, it is more difficult with the cold,snow and lack of daylight, but he is in 24/7 pasture turnout. He gets mostly good quality hay in winter along with some complete feed and a bit of grain for a treat. I do give him some supplemental glucosamine and flax. We are fortunate to keep him at home so I can monitor him from our kitchen window.

I don't really have any experience caring for aged horses, so I really appreciate all that everyone has contributed to this thread. I do have to say, although I originally got Sam when he was just 3, I absolutely adore the old man he has become.
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post #19 of 19 Old 11-25-2012, 06:44 PM
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Chicagoland area, IL
Posts: 54
• Horses: 1
I have a 24 year old gelding who is completely blind in 1 eye (due to an accident that happened before I got him) and has a small cataract in the other. He was also a rescue. (Very long, sad story). To put it very simply, he is my soul mate in equine form. I don't care if I never had the joy of riding him again, as long as he's sound and happy and in my life full time, I'd keep him around for another 50 years if I could!
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