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Potential in an "old" horse

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  • #21
    Originally posted by Can'tFindMyWhip View Post
    I love all of these stories. I've been afraid to discuss this with any vets in case they tell me something that I don't want to hear. Admittedly, COTHers are equally as likely to tell me stuff I don't want to hear, but it is less personal when it is on a computer screen.
    Vets don't see the success stories nearly as often as they see the problems, so I think you can get a better real-world view here. Your horse sounds like a gem - have fun with him, and trust that he'll let you know when it's time to back off a bit.

    Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.


    • #22
      Originally posted by Can'tFindMyWhip View Post
      I love all of these stories. I've been afraid to discuss this with any vets in case they tell me something that I don't want to hear. Admittedly, COTHers are equally as likely to tell me stuff I don't want to hear, but it is less personal when it is on a computer screen.
      Not all vets are going to be super negative - I took my 19yo to one of the top clinics near me for a general lameness workup in December (he was not "lame", but I knew with his age and mileage we probably needed to inject some joints before he returned to heavy work). The vets and staff I worked with didn't bat an eye at the idea of him returning to jumping and eventing, and were thrilled with his overall condition.

      So, don't let that fear of yours keep you from bringing a good vet on board if/when it's needed!


      • #23
        Originally posted by Heinz 57 View Post
        So, don't let that fear of yours keep you from bringing a good vet on board if/when it's needed!
        Agreed! OP, sounds like you know your horse well enough not to get any crazy veterinary surprises related to ageing.

        My sports medicine vet recently commented that my 18 year old late-start, rehab-project mare is as fit as any youngster and has joints that look on x-ray like a horse a third of her age. I could have kissed her, I was so pleased!

        My goal of getting my bronze with my little mare is now within reach, barring any catastrophic events, and any progress we make beyond that is icing on the cake. As long as she still gets excited to put her bridle on and head to the arena we'll have fun together, and so far she seems to thrive on the work. I kind-of like having an older, diamond-in-the-rough type horse -- it's taught me not to take any good moments for granted and to not to get so goal-driven that I lose sight of the incremental achievements that make dressage a rewarding sport.
        Evolutionary science by day; keeping a certain red mare from winning a Darwin award the rest of the time!


        • #24
          I just love these posts. And it really feels wonderful to hear praise from a vet when your older horse is fit and happy...very validating.


          • #25
            Regarding the vet part, I believe it would be important to know where your horse stands in terms of condition.

            Did you get a thorough PPE when you bought him, with X-rays and all? If not, I'd suggest you get some as a baseline for future diagnostics. It's always good to know where you stand, you could see if he needs some low maintenance right now and see if there are changes later.

            Good luck and have fun !
            ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

            Originally posted by LauraKY
            I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
            HORSING mobile training app


            • #26
              My OTTB was raced until 5 or 6, then had a full career in eventing, then showjumping and dressage and was retired at 22. He had 21 Ha to walk around on and he got bored, so started jumping fences by himself. Brought him back into work and he's still going strong at 25, jumping 1m competitively (and placing at every show).

              He heals a little bit slower, but we also take more precautions when he is rehabbing - possibly not necessary, but we'd rather be cautious. He does have some arthritis in his fetlocks, which makes him trip sometimes, but we manage that as best we can. He needs to be kept fit with good muscle and he is on joint supplements. When he can no longer jump, we will do dressage. He doesn't like being retired.


              • #27
                I got my golden oldie at 18 and I was thankfully none the wiser at the time. He was in bad shape and had been left out to fade away. He even has kanker in his feet.

                It took a year of slow steady work so build him back up but we went on to compete successfully for 5 years. Won a ton of ribbons and was the best horse I've ever had.

                Nothing beats an oldie but they are high maintenace and there is always that worry. So just listen to your horse and take extra care where possible.

                I eventually had had to put him down after trying to retire him once it was taking too much to keep him sound and realized I had to just stop. He didn't retire well and was miserable not working so decided to end it before he wasted away again.

                Having a trainer who understands oldies and allows them to stretch , warm up correctly and have regular breaks makes a huge difference .

                Age is just a number


                • #28
                  Using the canter to warm up is really important with older horses, in my opinion. Taking walk time too and. A long warmup makes a huge difference in soundness and even willingness.


                  • #29
                    These stories are wonderful..... I just tried out a 13 yo mare. She's the owners last foal from his breeding program, and she was trained and shown for about two years as a youngster, before being a full time pasture pet. He is very sadly looking for the perfect home for her, and I am taking her on a one month trial. I have my fingers crossed we get along. Even at 13, I hope she can become a 2nd/3rd level horse. I don't care if I show her, nor does he, it will give me a nice horse to practice my training skills on. I have worked with some lovely older horses over the years, and am looking forward to riding something past the age of five!


                    • #30
                      My 20 year old gelding is the most energetic, sh*t disturbing horse in the herd. He acts and looks half his age.

                      I love this thread!


                      • #31
                        Love this post and second so much of what others have said.

                        I got my last boy as a schoolmaster type at 14 yo. A beautiful highly talented WB with an advanced level of training. I was devastated to retire him at 18.

                        Physically he was incredibly sound and looked the best ever in terms of condition and muscle. Of course there was some careful maintenance with diet, warm up/cool down, injections, supplements and mixing up his training - hacking, poles along with the flatwork and iceing his legs etc but all manageable.

                        I had hoped to keep him in good work for a few more years plus. Physically, that was a realistic goal. Unfortunately for me, he had tonnes of baggage from his previous owners. I learnt so much from undoing and reversing that baggage and we made great progress, but in the end, mentally he just did not want to do the work and I could not change that mindset. I listened to him and what he was telling me and was so grateful for all he had taught me along the way that I was happy to give him the retirement he wanted.

                        So, my advice too, is don't be deterred by his age, enjoy every moment in your relationship with him - treat it as a gift. Be careful to listen to him but also trust yourself that you will see the signals when they come.

                        Also don't ever feel guilty that you could be doing more. I spent a long time beating myself up that my riding was not good enough to make the most of his talent (and he was super talented) and that he should have been with someone else.

                        However a good friend reminded me that my boy did not see it that way, that he had a great home with me, was loved (I am definitely his human), beautifully cared for, and happy. Another person may not have dedicated the same time. So take pleasure in knowing you are giving your boy a new purpose and joy in life and that he will (with care) age all the better for it.

                        Good luck with all future endeavours with your boy. Hope you and he have lots of fun together!
                        Last edited by mwh; Apr. 22, 2017, 09:26 AM.


                        • #32
                          Love this thread! I bought my guy at 17 after he was retired by a Para Olympian and competing in the 2012 Olympics. The first two years we qualified at Training, 1st and 2nd levels and I also received the Dover Amateur Medal. This year we are hoping to qualify at 3rd, 3rd Freestyle and Fourth. He is doing all the PSG and I'm not going to stop until he says so--he just turned 19

                          Everyone else has touched on the importance of fitness, joint support and proper warm ups. I also swear by supplements to help add topline--like older people they need additional support to add and maintain muscle. This has helped us tremendously because it makes the "work" easier which means less repetitions and wear and tear.

                          I'll also say that I rarely practice extensions because, well, a horse only has so many. I'm very aware of NOT over practicing things in general and just coming back to it later.


                          • #33
                            Anybody put ice boots on their golden oldie after riding?