Do you have a horse that has been a constant companion and has given you the best years of his life? He deserves to be spoiled a little in his elder years. Taking care of a senior horse can require a lot of time and commitment. Just because your horse is a little over the hill, don’t make him a pasture ornament! With the advances in horse health care today and with proper care, you can extend your horse’s productive life.
A horse that is 20 years old or older is considered a senior. One year of a horse’s life is equal to three years of a humans life. A 20 year old horse is equal to a sixty year old human and we all know that at this stage of life things start to wear out. Some of the things that you need to pay close attention to during their senior years are their teeth, eyes, joints, liver and kidneys.
Below are some tips to keep you senior horse in good condition.
1. Dental Care – Senior horses should have a dental checkup at least once a year. Teeth may fall out or become uneven and sharp which may lead to dramatic weight loss because they cannot chew their food properly.
2. Equine Nutrition – As a horse ages, so does his digestive system. They are not able to absorb as well. There are a number of good horse feeds designed specifically for older horses.
3. A Purpose – As long as the vet says it’s OK there is no reason why your horse shouldn’t be useful. Just like with humans, light exercise will help him stay active.
4. Feel for Potenial Problems – With a thick winter your horse may look fine, but problems can be hidden. On a daily basis, run your hands over your horse to check for lumps, swelling wounds, skin problems and hoof problems. Senior horses do not bounce back as quick as they used to so it is good to spot problems early.
5. Regular Vet & Trimmer Visits – Even though your horse is now a senior horse he still needs regular visits from his natural hoof care trimmer. If the hooves are allowed to grow long it may cause tripping, stumbling or even founder. He would probably love a pair of Old Mac’s, Easyboot Glove or Boa protective horse boots with the Comfort pads in the bottom to help cushion his feet. They should also have regular vet exams and blood work to check for things such as Cushings disease, liver or kidney problems and anemia.
6. Lots of Love – Give your horse the best senior horse care that you possibly can and he will reward you with his loyalty and companionship for years to come. An occasional treat wouldn’t hurt either.
Posted by Shari Murray