Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
It would depend very much. I wouldn't be against it outright, but I would be very careful.
First of all, why is the horse being sold for so much less money at this point in time? Is she already starting to show problems and the seller is trying to move her on before it becomes really expensive?
In that context, a really thorough PPE is a must. You will pretty much never get back 100% clean x-rays from a 16 year old, so a vet with experience is important.
Let's not fool ourselves, for any horse the time will come when they are unrideable and expensive to maintain (unless you put them down at that point).
Sure it can happen to a three year old, but the chances are much higher it will happen at 20+. Sure there are horses that can still be ridden into their 30s, but the majority can't.
When you buy a 16 year old, chances are quite high that you won't be selling the horse anymore.
So I feel strongly that anyone who buys a horse, especially an older horse, should have an idea what they are planning to do when the horse becomes permanently lame or otherwise unrideable.
For the same reason, I am always a bit wary about recommending old(er) horses for beginners and first time horse owners. Sure, they are often calmer, and beginners don't need the high performance, but at the same time, it's not all about riding.
Beginners tend to get really attached to their horse, and with an old horse you are always running the risk of setting someone up with complex health issues that they might not know how to deal with.
So in conclusion: no, I don't think a horse is old at 16. BUT I would take precautions (PPE) and have a solid plan in place what's going to happen when the horse can no longer be used.
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