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Mental health in older horses

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  • Original Poster

    #21
    Lady Eboshi - all of our guys are on a very consistent schedule - makes it easier on us and them and also helps me to know when something is off, like with this guy. He is alpha with his day buddy and then has about 6 hours of stall time daily - more than that he gets too stiff. We put up boards under the run in to keep the other horse from bothering him while he eats his breakfast. He knows when I take those boards down, that I am going to put hay out in the field and he will wander out and wait for me to bring it down and turn out his friend.

    This morning, about half way through his favorite soaked alfalfa cubes, he stopped eating and wanted out so I turned him loose. He went out and stood in his hay spot so I took the feed tub out there and he finished it off. It was almost like he forgot he what he was supposed to be doing.

    I am also pretty careful to check for shavings or straw in his tail each morning so I know if he has gotten some time off his feet. He goes down fine but after he gets up it takes a few moments for the knees to straighten back out and get mobile again.

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    • #22
      Awwwww....

      All of you who are so kind and loving with your oldies, even as you acknowledge that there can be some funny moments with the "senior set"...... thank you all for taking such good care of them. This just makes my day. Again, thank you.

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      • #23
        I had a 23 year old that I had to stand out in the blowing snow with his bucket of feed to get him to eat. He'd take a bite and then stare out into the distance for a couple of minutes. I'd call his name, shake the bucket and he'd still stare, eventually he'd come back. If I wasn't there with the bucket he'd ignore the food and just stare into the distance. Odd noises drove him bonkers. He definitely had some mental issues.

        My current turning 29 year old seems to be all there mentally.
        Pam's Pony Place

        Pam's Pony Ponderings

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        • #24
          Originally posted by sid View Post
          Despite what we see happening, it is comforting to know that people like us treat them tenderly.

          After years of "service" and pleasure living with and knowing them as family, it is worth our silent pain of knowing the loss is coming to make that passage more comfortable for them.

          Been there more times that I would like to recall. But it's just the right thing to do. I love this thread.
          Me, too. This is the way it SHOULD be!

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          • #25
            Originally posted by KnKShowmom View Post
            Lady Eboshi - all of our guys are on a very consistent schedule - makes it easier on us and them and also helps me to know when something is off, like with this guy. He is alpha with his day buddy and then has about 6 hours of stall time daily - more than that he gets too stiff. We put up boards under the run in to keep the other horse from bothering him while he eats his breakfast. He knows when I take those boards down, that I am going to put hay out in the field and he will wander out and wait for me to bring it down and turn out his friend.

            This morning, about half way through his favorite soaked alfalfa cubes, he stopped eating and wanted out so I turned him loose. He went out and stood in his hay spot so I took the feed tub out there and he finished it off. It was almost like he forgot he what he was supposed to be doing.

            I am also pretty careful to check for shavings or straw in his tail each morning so I know if he has gotten some time off his feet. He goes down fine but after he gets up it takes a few moments for the knees to straighten back out and get mobile again.
            You're doing GREAT! Just remember, first they get spoiled, then one day they realize they OWN you. My Eldest Resident knows darn well I'll give him literally ANYthing he wants!

            One nice thing you can do for them that my vet shared with me which has really helped the ones with stiff old legs, encouraging recumbent sleep:

            Make a HUGE pile, like 20 yards off a chipper truck, of either stall bedding or clean (non-black walnut) wood chips in a safe, well-drained and less-windy part of your dirt lot or sacrifice paddock. Pile the shavings gently cone-shaped, higher in the middle and sloping toward the edges. The effect is like a giant horsey dog bed, and what it does is give them a soft, inviting place to lie down PLUS the bedding is loose enough that they can get their feet under themselves better to rise. The gentle slope also helps them to always have their bodies higher than their feet when they go to get up, preventing that commonplace senior predicament, "cast in the open."

            We feel this has really helped our oldest guys out this season. The hard part is to keep the young, fit ones from monopolizing it!

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