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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2009
    Location
    south eastern US
    Posts
    2,519

    Default Riding the geriatric horse

    I have a nearly 27 year old Arab/QH mare that is in perfect health. I've owned her for more than 1/2 her life and she has always been a little spirited while on the trail which is fine with me. She has never taken a lame step in all the time I've owned her and is not on any joint supplements at the moment (she just doesn't appear to need them). She does have some dental issues associated with her age and gets senior feed, all the hay or pasture she wants and soaked alfalfa cubes. However, while riding her yesterday and having to hold her back to a trot or walk (she wanted to canter or long trot the whole way) I started wondering if I SHOULD hold her back. Every time I ride her I am considerate of her age and, of course, I never push her but I'm wondering if I should just let her set a pace she is comfortable with. What are your thoughts?
    Pictures:
    http://pets.webshots.com/photo/23163...80191555nLgyPD
    (nevermind the mess on the ground...it is shedding season otherwise known as spring time in Georgia!)
    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2003
    Location
    Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
    Posts
    6,744

    Default

    She looks fabulous! My old man is a youngster by comparison at 20, but I continue to ride him as if he were a bit younger. I'd say let her do a bit more, but really watch her the next day. Is she slower and sleepier than normal? Did you "wear her out"? Let her guide you, but some oldsters will go until they drop. You sound very responsible!

    There is a nearly 40 year old large pony around my area who is still happily packing children around the dressage ring. They tried to retire him...he pined and declined. Brought him back into work and he thrives.

    Good luck and happy rides.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2004
    Location
    Yew-stuhn, Texas
    Posts
    2,472

    Default

    Go for it! I have a 27 y.o. too, and though he's been retired for 5 years, I plan to get back on him this week with a barepack pad just to toodle around...

    He's here from this past summer: http://horsephotoguy.com/gallery/dis...lbum=11&pos=13

    Have fun! She'll tell you what she can't or won't do (they do get more opinionated as they age, don't they? )
    View my photographs at www.horsephotoguy.zenfolio.com



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 18, 2007
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA
    Posts
    314

    Default

    Awww, she looks great. I have a 28yo who also loves to go, and will try to go much faster and for longer than he needs to be - he does have some leg issues that I try to avoid exacerbating. As long as you're conscious of how much she's doing, some faster work should be fine. Try a bit, see how she does, and you can slowly add to it. I'd just make sure she's extremely well warmed up first.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 15, 2007
    Location
    The Goodland, CA
    Posts
    532

    Default

    She looks great for her age. Like she's willing to go on forever. I love senior horses. My first horse was an oldie when I got him and he was a real trooper. Taught me so much.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...lei_flair8.jpg

    That's my old guy. The date from that picture is May 17th, 2007, which means it was taken about 3 weeks before I lost him to an unexpected colic. He was 30 at the time, and still going strong, although like your mare, he had some dental issues and was on a special diet and everything.

    At his age, I pretty much let him pick his pace. I found he only wanted to canter in the big arena (probably more space, bigger turns, was more comfortable for him) but he loved to just trot trot trot around, and I always let him go at the speed and pace he wanted.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2009
    Location
    south eastern US
    Posts
    2,519

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by texang73 View Post
    Go for it! I have a 27 y.o. too, and though he's been retired for 5 years, I plan to get back on him this week with a barepack pad just to toodle around...

    He's here from this past summer: http://horsephotoguy.com/gallery/dis...lbum=11&pos=13

    Have fun! She'll tell you what she can't or won't do (they do get more opinionated as they age, don't they? )
    your boy is gorgeous! I agree they do tend to get more opinionated as they age. I've never seen her sore the next day after riding...so far but I'm always careful to keep the pace as slow as possible and since I have a younger horse to ride I'll take him on the more strenuous rides and leave her in the pasture. I do think it does her good to get out occasionally though. I'm just concerned about her over doing it at her age
    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2002
    Location
    PA, where the State motto is: "If it makes sense, we don't do it!".
    Posts
    11,045

    Default

    PRS--your mare looks great! Most horses that age have heaves or some other problem that keeps them from going as strong as your horse.

    I say, let your mare dictate but watch her respiration and breathing rate.... I think it's great that she's feeling that good!
    "Good gardening is very simple, really. You just have to learn to think like a plant." ~Barbara Damrosch~



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2004
    Location
    Yew-stuhn, Texas
    Posts
    2,472

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PRS View Post
    your boy is gorgeous! I agree they do tend to get more opinionated as they age.
    Aw, shucks, you're kind. Thanks! I have owned him all his life and he's very special to me. I am thrilled he looks and acts as good as he does at his age! Most peole don't believe he's that old... I figure the way things are going, he'll be around forever!

    You're mare looks awesome too! Not at all like she's 27!! Oh, and I hear you about shedding season, we're in full shed mode down here too!
    View my photographs at www.horsephotoguy.zenfolio.com



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2000
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    10,155

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PRS View Post
    I have a nearly 27 year old Arab/QH mare that is in perfect health. I've owned her for more than 1/2 her life and she has always been a little spirited while on the trail which is fine with me. She has never taken a lame step in all the time I've owned her and is not on any joint supplements at the moment (she just doesn't appear to need them). She does have some dental issues associated with her age and gets senior feed, all the hay or pasture she wants and soaked alfalfa cubes. However, while riding her yesterday and having to hold her back to a trot or walk (she wanted to canter or long trot the whole way) I started wondering if I SHOULD hold her back. Every time I ride her I am considerate of her age and, of course, I never push her but I'm wondering if I should just let her set a pace she is comfortable with. What are your thoughts?
    Pictures:
    http://pets.webshots.com/photo/23163...80191555nLgyPD
    (nevermind the mess on the ground...it is shedding season otherwise known as spring time in Georgia!)
    Your post could have been written by a girlfriend of mine who has a gray QTR/ARB mare who is 29. Awesome mare who sets a brisk pace on the trails. Follow your gut when riding her- some sensible cantering would be fun!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 5, 2003
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    613

    Default

    I'm still riding my 28 year old, which I have has since he was four. He's still going strong. He's lost a bit of stamina but he still has plenty of "go".



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2006
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    867

    Default

    My 33 yr old is looking so good after switching over the Triple Crown and beet pulp that I plan to ride her a bit this year.

    I think my biggest concerns will be weather related, be sure it's not too hot. But otherwise, I'll let her tell me how far and how fast we go.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2009
    Location
    south eastern US
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    2,519

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FatDinah View Post
    My 33 yr old is looking so good after switching over the Triple Crown and beet pulp that I plan to ride her a bit this year.

    I think my biggest concerns will be weather related, be sure it's not too hot. But otherwise, I'll let her tell me how far and how fast we go.
    Yeah...these Georgia summers are brutal. If I ride her at all in the summer it is only very lightly and not in the heat of the day. I guess I'll continue to ride her occasionally as she seems to really enjoy getting out of the pasture. I'll let her set a reasonable pace and I'll continue as long as she appears to enjoy it and it doesn't cause her to be uncomfortable. I have no problem completely retiring her when the time comes as I have the facilities and the means. Thank you for all the encouraging responses so far.
    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."



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