Can Horses go Senile???

Spotsrock

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My old mare is getting increasingly odd.

She has always been really well mannered to the point I could leave her door open and go get things, take her to and from field without a rope etc. Lately she has become bolshy, doesn't stop at the gate, ploughs into it, despite me asking her to stop, refuses to turn round to close the gates and is just generally rude to handle.

I have not been very firm with her but have never needed to before and this is a new problem getting rapidly worse.

She is 32 this spring, owned by me for 17 years, arthritis, cushings and pyometra, all for 2yrs+, health checked early winter as no worse than 6 months previous so no real explanation there.

She still loves cuddles and being groomed, appears sound and seems to enjoy work, though she does seem to need reminding what you want a bit more than normal. When she wants grooming she has always asked by gently grooming me with her top lip only, recently this has become full blown teeth grooming which makes me squeal!!

She just feels a bit distant and not herself. Wondering if they can have mental health issues similar to elderly people as if she is dazed and confused she is not the sort of horse to be happy with that despite physically being ok.

She also stands with her back to the stable door. Has done this before as she used to lean on the door with her bum when she 1st got artheritis but is now not leaning. Does have a window opposite the door which she may be watching traffic out of!

Any ideas or experiences please peeps, worried about my girlie.
 

Wagtail

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She still loves cuddles and being groomed, appears sound and seems to enjoy work, though she does seem to need reminding what you want a bit more than normal.
Are you still working her at 32? :eek:

I expect she is just very sore with her arthritis and stopping to step around is causing her discomfort - much easier to just keep ploughing forward. She may be losing a little bit of finer control, hence the biting rather than nuzzling.
 

Spotsrock

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Are you still working her at 32? :eek:

I expect she is just very sore with her arthritis and stopping to step around is causing her discomfort - much easier to just keep ploughing forward. She may be losing a little bit of finer control, hence the biting rather than nuzzling.
Yes still in work, about once a fortnight, she potters about with my friends kiddies, and Sharers novice friend walk and trot only. All riders under 9 stone (kiddies aged 3, 4 and 7 and average heights and weights for ages) and she tracks through, works in outline, ears pricked without being asked to work 'properly'. She never does more than 20 mins. Is sound and is only worked on vets advice. I sit on her very occassionally at 9.5 stone (though trying to get it lower), again vet happy with this. Stops her getting bored and keeps some muscle on her.

That's what I thought initially so haven't been firm with her but she still looks sound and it's little things like not doing as she is told when she is told it, almost like a lack of comprehension rather than soreness, maybe I'm projecting too much human-ness onto her, she is very people-like!!
 

Spotsrock

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I suppose age catches up with all eventually.

How's her eyesight?
She has slightly cloudy eyes but vet assures me she can still see, though not 100%. She is still galloping round the field though she does stay a bit nearer the others (used to be a real lone wolf!) and will quite happily still start a riot or game of 'stallions'. She doesn't bump into things even in new areas and steps over tree roots or her feed bucket easily enough if it is in the way. I ask her plenty before we get to the gate in case she can't see it well but end up having to put all my weight into asking her to stop unless I raise my voice, then it's instant!! Her artheritis doesn't seem to have got any worse either in terms of being sound and flexion.

I do tend to over worry about her, I really don't want to miss her being ready to go, would hate her to be ready and me not notice so that she is unhappy for any length of time before she goes, similarly I will never be ready for her to go, she saved my life from a mad man a few years ago and I am particularly close to her, so don't want to do it any earlier than necessary!!
 

Tinsel Trouble

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Yes still in work, about once a fortnight, she potters about with my friends kiddies, and Sharers novice friend walk and trot only. All riders under 9 stone (kiddies aged 3, 4 and 7 and average heights and weights for ages) and she tracks through, works in outline, ears pricked without being asked to work 'properly'. She never does more than 20 mins. Is sound and is only worked on vets advice. I sit on her very occassionally at 9.5 stone (though trying to get it lower), again vet happy with this. Stops her getting bored and keeps some muscle on her.
We had very old horses and they were in very light work right up to 35 and 42 because it kept them interested in life. They would have a 20 min pottery hack once a week. It kept them supple and kept their minds interested. If she is not lame and is interested in doing it then keep going.

You are getting to the age when you have to start listening to what she is telling you. Our old pony who was pts at 45 (11.2hh WsA owned for 14 years) we think had a stroke and it completely changed her personality (she was pts a week later when she went down and showed no interest in getting back up again). She would get lost in the garden, didn't know where her stable was and started bucking and squealing like a 5yo in the garden- we also think she lost some sight.
The old boy (16.1hh ISH owned since a 5yo) was pts at 37 he had slowley developed into a proper grumpy old man and you could not tell him what to do and when to do it. We found he would get SAD so we had a desk top sun light in the stable for him and he could get the UV light that way in the winter- made a huge difference to him actually!

They both lived in the garden at the end as they were pets and were easier to manage!
 

Spotsrock

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Thanks.

Oh and TT, I turned S away over xmas and new year, now lunging him every morning, he's very calm and chilled so hoping if I carry on for a couple of weeks then re-intro ridden work gently, we might actually be getting somewhere!!

When are you bringing ponio?
 

scrunchie

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We had an old mare at a riding school I was working at. She was in her 30s and still in work but she kept having these "nutty episodes" in her stable where she would start squealing and kicking out at nothing. There was nothing there except her shadow so maybe it was a sign that her eyes were going.

Then one day, she became dangerous to tack up. She started broncing around the stable at the sight of her saddle and nobody could calm her down. We didn't think it was a back problem because she had always worked quite happily until that point. That when the YO decided to retire her and let her live out.

As far as I know she is still alive and happy.
 

Spotsrock

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TT

Shavings £6.50/£7 from R&R, I take horsebox and stock up every couple months, next load due end Jan, welcome to send your order/come with, quite reasonable for feed too but I find it's limited choice.

Straw about £2/bale but I buy mine £20 delivered for massive round one. Happy to share if you struggle to find small ones.

We have couple of most tools knocking about but not too expensive to pick up locally as and when you get settled.

I have my hay by the big bale also, £30 delivered per bale, I get a couple a month from a local chap, he's very nice and delivers at any short notice. One of the other girls does this also and stores it in the outdoor barn where I keep my straw, you might have to sort out storage with YO but she seems quite flexible. We can move stuff about. I don't think they fit through the stable doorways too easily. Small bales go for about £4 a bale I think but a while since I bought any and I don't know how available it is locally.

Most of us have a spare stable or at least space in one for feed and bedding to be stored. One of the girls has left so there's space on the same block as me or in the opposite block.

SR
:)
 

PonyIAmNotFood

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I think they go senile. I know a 35 year old pony who is in light work twice a week who is slowly going more and more insane! He comes out of his box at a canter and walks round like a race horse in the collecting ring. So long as they're loving life still i wouldn't worrying
 

NOISYGIRL

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I would say yes, going on the behaviour of someones horse on my yard, he behaves very strangly sometimes.

He can be standing there, dum de dum de dum, then all of a sudden halt to full pelt gallop across the field, then stands there, all the other horses look at him as if to say what the hell ?? they are used to him now and don't usually join in
 

NOISYGIRL

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Are you still working her at 32? :eek:

I expect she is just very sore with her arthritis and stopping to step around is causing her discomfort - much easier to just keep ploughing forward. She may be losing a little bit of finer control, hence the biting rather than nuzzling.
Mine was 33 couple of days ago and gets ridden daily, not hard work I grant you that, but he still thinks he's 3 sometimes, put it this way, if you'd seen him when I was out with my friends horse on the weekend you wouldn't think he was 33
 

Milanesa

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I also have a 34 ish yr old that is exercised 5-6 times a week (mostly just led as x polo pony) he is not lame or sore and I think it is actually GOOD to keep an older horse moving, as long as u listen to the horse and adjust as horse feels necessary so sorry wagtail I don't think u should criticise OP !! As for the senile part my old horse doesn't seem to have had any symptoms, and I personally don't know of any that have had thIs, but perhaps some can suffer frOm something, as per other posters it seems they have some experience of similar symptoms. I will watch out for my old boy now,
 

Inthemud

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I lost my old girl at 36. I don't think she quite went senile, but she certainly changed a bit towards then end. You just have to go with it and do whatever you can to make them happy and comfortable.
 

lovinyourwork

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My old boy seems to have a little bit of dementia, just acts odd or stares into the distance intently and the jumps if u talk to him. He is a gent so i cant complain
 

Super_Kat

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Are you still working her at 32? :eek:

.
I was still doing pc (inc camps) and competing and winning on my 33yo. One of my fondest memories of him was when she started squeeling, dumped me face first into mud and buggered off, tail in the air, home where I found him stood by the hitching post looking pleased with himself.
Don't write them off because they hit their late 30's
 

dominobrown

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Wagtail- doing gentle work with an older horse will actually help it, especially with arthritis as it will keep the horse more supple and comfortable. Horses taken out work tend to stiffen up and go down hill quicker. Also as others have said, it gives them something to do especially if they enjoy it.
My old mare got grumpier as she got older too, it might be a sign of discomfort. Have you tried her on No bute or alternative
 

Jazzy B

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I think horses can def go senile! we had a pony where I used to work of aged years when he was in his stable he used to kick and rear up at the door to get out when you turned him out he used to stand at the gate waiting to come in and there were nothing wrong with his eyesight he could spot a feed bucket from at least 50 foot. Whether your mare is losing the plot I guess only you would know seventeen years is a long time lol :)
 

billy2

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Mine was still doing sponsored rides at 33. He's 37 now and retired, and definitely gets disoriented sometimes, doesn't seem to know where he is. Fine most of the time, though, so not too worried.
 
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