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Interested in People Who Have Equine Seniors that Have Reached 30 Years Old

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  • Interested in People Who Have Equine Seniors that Have Reached 30 Years Old

    My retired Thoroughbred Fox Hunter just recently turned 30 years old recently. I would be interested in hearing about others who have or had a horse this old. I have owned him all his life and I love him more than anything on this earth. His vet has stated that he look half his age and he still runs around and has the energy that he did as a very young horse. His health is great and he does not have any difficulty chewing and he is still 100% sound and I frequently take him on short trail rides.

    I would love to hear about your equine seniors and what you do to keep them going.

  • #2
    My oldest isn't quite 30, but he's at least mid-20s, and probably late 20s. Until last Winter he did absolutely fine on 1-2lb alfalfa pellets and a v/m supplement in Winter, and was actually muzzled on grass during that season.

    Last Winter - possibly lower quality hay? Though it was nicer than the year before - I ended up putting him on 5lb Triple Crown Sr, and that was perfect.

    This year he's on Triple Crown 30 (ration balancer) and 1lb alfalfa pellets and doing very well - it's better hay than last year, and warmer, so it's hard to say what's what, exactly.

    His teeth are still great, other than some wear in front from his many hours in a grazing muzzle He chews hay/grass well, absolutely no signs of quidding or anything.

    It's important though to know that at 30, even if teeth are good, they are "good for their age", with smooth(er) surface areas, and their digestive system isn't what it used to be.

    Personally, I'd keep him as active as his mind and body, and your time allow. Activity is wonderful medicine! I WOULD make sure he's getting lots of high quality nutrition. What does he eat now? 30 is still old in terms of organs, even if he is mentally and outwardly still young (you must have been doing something right!!) so I would take measures to stay ahead of the declining ability to process nutrients.
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


    • #3
      I had two, got them when they were 29 and 30.
      We rode them a bit, but didn't really have the time , with just two of us on 40 acres. So they just became our friends. The oldest guy lived to be a very healthy, happy 34. He was healthy until the minute he suffered a stroke last May, and had to be euthanized. He had mild arthritis which was treated with Previcox. He was such a goof and I loved him dearly.
      My other old guy was almost euthanized at the same time. He was 33 at the time and everyone said they should "go together". Well, they didn't. I just couldn't do it. So, I'm left with one really happy old guy. He has 2acres to himself which run up a slight hill. He has a large run in, grass to graze, dirt and trees up the hill, and he can watch the goats and cows. He shares his Senior Chow with the chickens and has two deer as friends. The vet said he looks wonderful. He has arthritis, fused hocks ( he was a cattle horse at one point), and is missing a few teeth. He gets free choice alfalfa, free choice Purina senior, and Previcox. I'm sure genetics and previous care play a large part in the health of an old horse, but also, the owner being able to adapt to the changing needs as the years creep up. I have changed feed, hay, joint supplement, tried various things, kept some, got rid of others. I have hit on a good combination for the time being for this guy, but I am ready to change everything if he needs it. When he is ready to go, I have no doubt he'll tell me. I am here to give him the best retirement for his many years of service, and our friendship gets better every year. I just love the old ones.


      • #4
        Our old man was 30 and still fat and sassy, as per vet he didn't look any older than 15.

        He had a bout with penile cancer at 28 that, after two surgeries and treatments, was in complete remission.
        That never did slow him down any, never had a bad day from it or the treatments.

        We lost him at 30 when he came in with the others, running and bucking and took a bad step that damaged his knee beyond repair.

        A friend two years ago finally had to let her 42 year old go.
        He was fine until the last two years, he started looking thin and slow.
        He was a registered horse and they had him since he was two, when they bought and started him under saddle.
        He was a top competition horse for years for two generations.

        They were giving lessons and riding him some at 36, when they retired him.
        He still was the boss of their herd then and they could have ridden him longer, he was still sound and happy to go, if slower.


        • #5
          I had one that was mid 30s when she died - and she was healthy and happy up until the end. And now I have a retired broody who is 28 or 29, and fat and happy. The biggest thing with the oldsters is to keep their teeth done! I see so many skinny old horses, and it makes me sad - it usually means their mouth hurts.

          With the first one (Fancy), in her last few years, we also went to soaked pellets, because she lost a few teeth - so she still had hay, but 15 pounds of soaked pellets (a local mill that did a combo forage pellet that was alfalfa, grass, rye, oat, and rice bran) for her split into a couple of feedings. Sh,e got MSM, and was out 24/7 (with shelter of course), and blanketed when the weather was cold, but otherwise, she was really an easy one to maintain. She didn't work very hard in her later years - she would walk and jog with my husband, or with visiting kids - she LOVED kids.

          My broodmare was always a hard keeper, and she's never looked better - she is fat and still gets playful once in a while. Her diet is grass hay, ration balancer, and pasture, and of course, MSM. She is a babysitter for a weanling, and that is about all she is doing, Blanketed in the Winter, out 24/7 (with run in shelter), so she keeps moving.

          So my formula is keep them moving, keep their teeth done, feed them regularly as long as you can, and keep them warm in the Winter


          • #6
            My old man is in his 20s, but his best friend is 32, and another horse at our barn is 33. The really old men are both on TC senior, as well as Cetyl-M for arthritis. They get a lunch slurry of soaked hay cubes, senior, and pro-bios. Though they both have stalls for bad weather, they're generally out 24/7.

            As long as they keep moving, they seem to be in good shape. Neither of them have many teeth left, but the few they have get checked by the dentist every 6 months. Their owners stay on top of their medical needs/issues, and they're both fairly healthy and in good weight.

            Until a few years ago, the 33 yr old was ridden regularly, and was completely sound. The 32 yr old has been retired for quite a while, but they both still run around and play with their pasture mates.

            IMO, the biggest thing is just making sure they stay healthy and happy.


            • #7
              One of mine is 33 and I still hack him 2 or 3 days a week. He loves to go out but goes slowly!

              He gets some meds and I have to soak his feed but most of the time he is okay.


              • #8
                I currently have one, a TB cross mare. She still thinks she's a 2 yr old! In the past I have had one live as old as 34. I soak beat pulp and alfala cubes for the seniors and let them have all they want plus free access to hay and pasture.


                • #9
                  Where I boarded for about 6 months, there was an ancient pony, in her early 30s at least, who lived for quite a few years on nothing but free choice soaked Purina Sr and alfalfa cubes. She was small enough her feed could be kept in the barn aisle and she'd come and go under the bar, and then spend some time chewing and spitting out grass.
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                  • #10
                    My oldest made it to 33. He had Cushing's disease and needed to be clipped in the spring and summer. As the years went by and his teeth got worse, he first ate bagged chopped forage, then eventually only soaked beet pulp and hay pellets, along with a generous amount of Triple Crown Senior, several times a day. He stayed sound and ready to ride until the last year or so, and competed in Pony Club games at 30. You just have to always be watching these older guys to catch the changes as they happen, so you can adjust your management of them before it's taken a toll on their bodies. If you've made the changes you think need to be made and he's still "not quite right" have the vet out. I did this once with this pony, and without having any fever or other symptoms, he had an elevated white blood cell count, so we put him on some antibiotics.


                    • #11
                      My ancient pony border was 31 or 32 when he died. His last year his teeth were so worn he lived on TC senior and soaked alfalfa cubes...4 feedings a day. I had to really step up his blanketing to keep him warm and especially dry even though he was a woolly mammoth. They take a little extra work. That's all.

                      He needed extra time to finish his meals...I either put him in a paddock or let him wander between his stall in the barn and the fenced off barn driveway until he was finished.
                      Off Topic Discussion about Life, Interests & Politics


                      • #12
                        I have two.

                        Spy ( ) was born in 1982 and I have had him since 1992. I paid $300 for him so that he would not go to the Thurmont auction untrained and footsore.

                        He has had mild hind end arthritis since the beginning, but he Evented through Novice in two long term leases until he was 18, when the hip arthritis turned into a refusal problem. He was still sound for riding until he was 24, when he developed some sort of sidebone or ringbone, which caused him to trip and go down on his knees when ridden.

                        He gets Hyalun every day, which seems to help some.

                        But he still loves the attention, and will come running in at dinner time as fast as the others.

                        He is a chronic mild cribber (controlled with a strap) but his teeth are petty ground down and he quids. But he still actively grazes and eats lots of hay.

                        Due to age related digestive changes he sometimes passes a bunch of watery stuff along with his manure. He now gets quite a lot of Triple Crown Senior, supplemented with rice bran oil when needed, and a digestive supplement, as well as a hoof/coat supplement. He has quite a few sarcoids on his sheath, and the vet has removed a couple that got large. But they do not seem to bother him.

                        He is always noisy at feeding time and wants to be fed first, which is fine since he gets the most food,and is the slowest eater. He wears a rainsheet when it is cold, wet, or windy, but rarely wears a real blanket. They are out 24/7 with access to their stalls and a couple of overhangs. He just keeps chugging along, seeming contented.

                        Music (3/4 TB x QH) was born in 1986, and I have had her since she was a long yearling. I was actively competing her into her early 20s, when degrading eyesight (lots of small cataracts) made jumping unsafe. I continued to ride her (and competed in dressage), until she was put on the back burner while I focused on competing a younger horse. She is still sound and active, and I rode her this summer while recuperating from knee surgery. She is also a great "pony" horse. She also has some arthritis, but it doesn't affect her in light work with the Hyalun.

                        She has a weird musculo-skelatal problem (that may be related to Lyme disease) which is treated by being "under lights" from October to April. She gets the same supplements as Spy, plus Vitamin C and a monthly treatment of Levamasole. She hates sheets and blankets, so only wears one if it is really awful (about once every two years).

                        SHhe used to be a REALLY easy keeper, but now she has the same "watery" problem as Spy, and needs to be on Triple Crown Senior in the winter to maintain her weight. She goes back on Triple Crown Lite in the summer. Like the others, she has free access to hay all the time, and to pasture except when she is shut in at night for the lights. She has become quite swaybacked. but it doesn't seem to bother her.

                        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.


                        • #13
                          I have a 29 yo draftX mare. She was retired maybe 7 years ago when a weird, undiagnosable hind end lameness appeared. (She started standing with one leg off to the side, would not allow hoof to be picked up, crab-walked and trotted in field...)
                          She decided she did not want to eat much food, so I switched her from a SR feed to Seminole Ultra Dynamix (like Purina Ultium). It's more nutrient dense, suggested by a nutritionist. She lives out 24/7 unless the weather is horrid (AKA, hurricane) She gets smartpak senior (something....) and smartbreathe, as she has heaves . In the summer she gets Dex EOD. As a draftX, she is hairy as all get out. She does shed out fine, though, so I have not had her tested for anything.

                          ANyway, now that I have two other horses at home, she is running around, trotting big, playing, etc etc.... I keep threatening to put a saddle on her.....She earned every day of her retirement....... taught me so much.


                          • #14
                            Oh yes forgot to mention the loose manure..... Vet says its an old horse thing. SO, she gets Optizyme 2x day....Seems to help. Probios did nothing to help. I also add a light serving of Seminole Equalizer occasionally to her food, as I assume she is not absorbing all the nutrients she should.....


                            • #15
                              Mine is 32 this year. He raced until he was 5, I've had him since he was 6, and showed him through I-1. He competed at 3rd & 4th level into his early 20s with other riders, and now lives out with a big shed and two slightly younger buddies.

                              He eats 10 lbs of TC Sr daily, split into 3 feedings and soaked into slurry. Supplements are MSM, Ration Plus and Previcox. He gets a TO rug if the temp is under mid 30s, which it seldom is here. Teeth are checked every 6 months, but have only needed yearly floats so far. He eats Timothy and alfalfa hay, no cuddling at this point. Weight is good but I watch him carefully, he was a hard keeper in his working days.

                              He still enjoys the occasional gallop and buck, but he does seem to be getting a bit deaf.


                              • #16
                                I have a 33 year old QH. He's been retired for a very long time. He's in good shape apart from having both front pasterns fused from ringbone. He's still the field boss.

                                He's still got all his teeth. He's always been a bit picky but has got more so in the last year or so, not very interested in hay, so he gets an extra meal of senior feed a day as well as his standard rations, and looks pretty good on it.


                                • #17
                                  Loose manure can be a low fiber thing. It manifests itself in old horses because they aren't able to eat enough hay (or get it in their systems). A complete feed, maybe soaked cubes can often help a lot. Of course there are other causes too but this one has manifested in our old horses.

                                  My first pony lived to 34, and we had two old QH boarders who were with us from age 15 to late 30s (one 36, one 38). My advice is to treat any problems they have, keep them out and moving, and just observe. I don't do special things just because they are old, but I do treat age-related problems. Make sure they get regular dental care, old horses and youngsters need it more often.


                                  • #18
                                    I board retired horses, and many, if not most horses live into their late 20's to about 30 here. Some are robust, some are fragile. The fragile ones get more blanketing, more feed, soaked cubes if necessary etc. Not really sure how to address OP's question -- the old guys don't necessarily get anything special, but they get good horse care. Actually, the absolute best thing they get, and *the* one thing that gives them the longest life possible (IMHO) is 24/7 turnout.
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                                    • #19
                                      Hopefully dramapony_misty chimes in. Her dad's horse is 40 this year. He doesn't have many teeth, so he eats multiple mush feedings a day, but he looks AMAZING for his age.


                                      • #20
                                        Yup! Old Bud has been in the family longer than I have! He turns 40 this year and aside from getting 4 qts of a mixture of Blue Seal Sentinel senior, and 12% pelleted Nutrena Maintenance, 1 cup of bran, and 1 cup of cornmeal soaked with a few gallons of hot water to make a slurry 3x per day, that's all he gets. No extra supplements (I tried SmartPak Senior for w while, but really didn't see a difference so I quit that). He is on 24/7 turnout and aside from some "senior moments" where he gets a bit confused, he is doing fantastic. Walk/Trot/Canter, he keeps up with the rest of the herd.
                                        I'm starting to notice some slight balance/weakness issues in his hind end that I'm keeping an eye on (no muscle loss there, though), but otherwise, I swear he is going to outlive us all!
                                        (ETA: we tried offering soaked hay cubes and beet pulp and he wouldn't touch them)
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