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Or at least not working him as vigorously?

So I just saw a thread on here about someone thinking of retiring their 17 year old horse and it got me thinking whether or not I should be doing the same thing?

My horse is 18 years old, and I know that's getting up there in the years. So what are your thoughts?

He's in perfectly good health, still has the get up and go he's always had, still is a pain in the butt to catch (he does it on purpose!) and he keeps up with the other two in our pasture just fine. He's the oldest, the other two are 15 and 10. He doesn't show any sign of aging -no grey hair, no muscle loss, and he keeps weight on just fine.

He was bred to be a barrel racer and he's admittedly slowed down a little bit (hardly noticeable) in his later years. But I haven't run him in an event in two years so he might just be out of practice. When I first got him we clocked him (just at a straight run, not on barrels) at 47 mph not at totally full speed, and now he's more around the 45 mark. Still fast enough for just messing around though.

When we trail ride we always race each other at one point or another (there's a mile long wide open stretch of sand we run on) and he still keeps up with the other horses - even beats them every now and then :)

It's mainly his age that has me considering this. Can you still work an 18 year old horse like a 6 year old if he acts like it? Should I go easier on him when we ride? Maybe not run him as fast or something? He loves loves LOVES to run though. It's like he sees an open field and all he wants to do is run. It's like he was a race horse in another life lol.

We don't have him on senior feed yet although we're thinking about it just because of his age. He doesn't act like he needs it though.

I don't know, you might think these are all crazy questions but I might just be being a paranoid crazy horse lady lol.

Just interested to hear your thoughts.



This is him from a week or so ago. I know it's not the best for conformation or anything, but it's as good as I have right now. Just curious about your thoughts? Should I ease up on how I ride (less running) or if he's healthy and strong, can I still work him like always?

Again, I may just be being crazy. I would just like to hear your thoughts. Thanks :)
 

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18 really isn't that old, I see no reason to retire him or even slow down his work unless he starts getting sore/lame. Horses stay healthier the better shape their in. Keep riding and exercising your boy until he tells you he needs to be retired and he will live longer and be happier.

I ride my friend's 24 year old gelding in small gaming shoes a couple times a year still and take him on long trail rides where we race if there is a safe place. Whenever someone finds out his age they are surprised because he doesn't look or act it. A big part of that is due to him staying exercised.
 

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don't worry about it. You might want to put him on a joint supplement, but otherwise keep riding. you'll know when he starts having a hard time keeping up, or when he starts getting sore after a ride that its time to slow down. until then, ride him like you always have.

you don't need senior feed unless he starts having a hard time keeping weight on.
 

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I think as long as he's sound and healthy keep him in work. 18 is not that old. My mare's about 18 or 19 now and we still go on gallops quite frequently, trail ride, and do all the stuff we did when she was 10. Heck I'm teaching her how to drive for when she's not sound to be ridden. IMO it's good for horses to be worked if they can be, with the past older horses I've worked it's kept their joints healthy and not stiff or having any typical problems for their age. Right now we ride a 22 year old morgan who's still going strong (albeit we're a little bit more easy on him). I'd say let him tell you when to stop pushing. When I run my mare I find out what pace she's most comfortable in and then just stay at that pace and don't push, they're pretty smart about what they can and can't do.

As for senior feed and supplements I'd wait until he needs it. My mare's still not on it, and neither is the 22 year old (as for supplements my girl used to be on msm but once she was in work we stopped that and have never needed it except for this coming winter). They both take in their food well enough that it's not needed, and our vet told us if they don't need it - don't feed it. Saves money and time in the long run. :wink:
 

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If he is not in pain or showing no signs of discomfort why change anything ( I'm not talking about food or supplements). If he is still happy being ridden on the long trail rides then take him, don't worry about his age, it's just a number, he'll tell you when it's time to slow down.
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Add long as they are happy I ride them as long as I can. My horse is about to turn 25.He galloped flat out while jumping the other day. Who am I to tell him no :)
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Or at least not working him as vigorously?

So I just saw a thread on here about someone thinking of retiring their 17 year old horse and it got me thinking whether or not I should be doing the same thing?

My horse is 18 years old, and I know that's getting up there in the years. So what are your thoughts?

He's in perfectly good health, still has the get up and go he's always had, still is a pain in the butt to catch (he does it on purpose!) and he keeps up with the other two in our pasture just fine. He's the oldest, the other two are 15 and 10. He doesn't show any sign of aging -no grey hair, no muscle loss, and he keeps weight on just fine.

He was bred to be a barrel racer and he's admittedly slowed down a little bit (hardly noticeable) in his later years. But I haven't run him in an event in two years so he might just be out of practice. When I first got him we clocked him (just at a straight run, not on barrels) at 47 mph not at totally full speed, and now he's more around the 45 mark. Still fast enough for just messing around though.

When we trail ride we always race each other at one point or another (there's a mile long wide open stretch of sand we run on) and he still keeps up with the other horses - even beats them every now and then :)

It's mainly his age that has me considering this. Can you still work an 18 year old horse like a 6 year old if he acts like it? Should I go easier on him when we ride? Maybe not run him as fast or something? He loves loves LOVES to run though. It's like he sees an open field and all he wants to do is run. It's like he was a race horse in another life lol.

We don't have him on senior feed yet although we're thinking about it just because of his age. He doesn't act like he needs it though.

I don't know, you might think these are all crazy questions but I might just be being a paranoid crazy horse lady lol.

Just interested to hear your thoughts.



This is him from a week or so ago. I know it's not the best for conformation or anything, but it's as good as I have right now. Just curious about your thoughts? Should I ease up on how I ride (less running) or if he's healthy and strong, can I still work him like always?

Again, I may just be being crazy. I would just like to hear your thoughts. Thanks :)
your guy at 18 is in his prime! if he's sound and still looks great(seen in the picture), you should definitely keep riding him! This is a great way to keep him in good health and in good shape and keep him around even longer than if you just allowed him to be a pasture pet. Unless you find a reason he can't be ridden anymore, you should definitely continue riding him.
 

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I know of several horses in their mid to late 20's still winning at playdays and barrel competitions. He has more years of use in him so ride him and if you ride him more often he might regain that speed. He is probably out of shape.
Good luck. Shalom
 

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My gelding is 17, and my daughter's pony 22. Both are still in flying form and showing no signs of slowing down. They will continue to be ridden until my gut... or vet.. tell me otherwise.

Every horse is different, just yesterday I was told of a 16yo hunter being retired because he is a struggle to keep sound after years of hunting all winter long. The work a horse endures through it's life can take it's toll on the body, but every horse will vary.
 
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Like everyone said, I wouldn't worry about him just yet.
I always encourage a good joint supplement to keep a horse healthy if you plan to continue working your older horse. I have a 27 year old who is still trail riding full time and my friend competes her 22 year old gelding in speed shows every summer. He is slowed down a bit from his younger days but he is sound and THRILLED to do his job.
He will tell you when it is time to semi retire and when it is time to ultimately retire.
 

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18?! This is the switch age when they start reverting to three year old behavior again ;)

If your horse is working fine, then keep at it. I hate people who stick a perfectly workable but older horse in a field because it's nicer for them... And then the horse stiffens up, loses muscle tone and looks like a Halloween character.

I find as they get older, or weather cools, a longer warm up and cool down and more rest periods make for a happy Goldie oldie. My 21yo school master was ridden for an hour a day, he is still competing with his new owner ;)
 

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I don't think you should retire or semi-retire him until he tells you it's time :) My trainer's horse is 18, my barn owner's daughter occasionally barrels her 19-year-old, and the first horse I had went to a new home at 19 and went on to do several more years of dressage showing with his new owner. Just listen to your boy and I think you'll be fine!
 

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I think he is fine to continue riding. Many horses are ridden into their twenties, then again many aren't. I think it's just something to be aware of, keep an eye on how quick he's getting tired. Keep him fit, while horses are still okay ridden that old I don't think they're as good for just pulling out of the paddock and riding out of the blue. You'd be better off keeping consistent work rather than sporadic.
 

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Keep riding. I'd just start looking into joint supplements for him to keep him in good shape. I have a 25yo QH with bad hock arthritis but my vet has told me to keep riding him. Movement is good for the joints as long as they aren't overworked.
 

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Everyone else has said the same thing but no reason not to keep working him- he'll live a longer and healthier life if you keep him out there!
 

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My riding instructor owns a 30 year old horse who still is a lesson horse! Granted, she has owned the horse since it was a filly so it has always had the best care. I don't understand why people would retire their horses before 25 unless they are unsound or in pain. I think you will be able to tell when the time to retire him has come, rather than impulsively retiring him because you saw a thread on it :) Good luck to you and your gorgeous guy!
 

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The horse will tell you! I just bought my "new" girl-she's 18 ( I have her papers.) She's worked all her life (youth/bible camp) & is a great "go-er"~she's Morgan. Her life w/me will be much easier than what she had, though.
 
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