Older horses

Keira 8888

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1 June 2020
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873
What do we consider an “older” horse to be?

Obviously it depends on what the horse is required to do - but in my (inexperienced) opinion - why are older horses - e.g upwards of 15, discounted in so many “WANTED” adverts?

Currently, the market is flooded with requests for “safe” “happy hackers” - yet it seems horses of what is seemed a senior age are discounted? WHY?
 

meleeka

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14 September 2001
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I think it’s sometimes to do with the lack of insurance options. In my mind a horse of under 20 is not old, but some insurance companies consider them to be. I also think when you find ‘the one’ you want to have them for as long as possible so a younger one increases the odds.

I have 4 oldies. One in particular who was 22 when I took her on. I really wish I’d have had her 10 years ago so I could have taught her to be what I wanted.
 

Turitea

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4 August 2007
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I start to think about old(ish) when they are above 20, but it really depends on the horse. Nearly all the horses I have ridden, shared or owned were fit and happy hackers until their mid to late 20s.
 

Julia0803

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11 January 2012
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Personally, it depends what I want the horse to do and what it’s doing currently.

Pony club schoolmaster that’s been there and got the t-shirt? Absolutely would be interested in an older pony.

I think horses age quicker than ponies so there’s that to consider. Equally I need to decide if I’m in a position to be the horses last home… selling a late teens/early 20s horse doesn’t sit well with me… UNLESS they are currently doing the job well and able to school a less experienced rider at the job and therefore a more secure future.

I wouldn’t take on an older horse who wasn’t doing what I planned to do with them as I’d worry that the work would be too much- eg I was doing RC activities and some dressage to novice but hoping to go to elementary. So, for example, I wouldn’t be interested in a 16 year old 16.2 that’s mainly hacked as I’d worry that school work might aggravate arthritis etc that was as yet undiagnosed because hacking around the lanes was within its comfort zone. A 16 year old regularly competing at medium and doing well, happy to teach us the ropes would be different.

I’ve just started looking for a second. Because I’m looking for something bigger, 16.2 or so (due to sharing with lanky teen son), I wouldn’t want to go older than 11/12, unless it was the situation described above.

I think I’m probably influenced by personal experience. My cob of a lifetime had sought arthritic changes in his hocks at 13. He was medicated and carried on doing RC stuff but I was careful on hard ground, and didn’t go in the school more than 2/3times per week which was sometimes difficult in midwinter when lack of light limited hacking. Until he had a ligament injury (unrelated) last year, we had worked out a workload and management routine that suited him. But I knew it was on the cards that he might get worse and within a few years would be a happy hack… light hack… retired. We bought him age 7 and he owes us nothing so I wouldn’t mind… but i would worry if I bought a horse in its late teens that age related wear and tear might necessitate a long retirement within a year or two… I can’t afford three horses so I wouldn’t be able to ride anymore.
 

Hepsibah

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24 January 2016
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642
There are fewer useful years in an older pony and a greater chance of expensive age related issues. There's a lower resale value and the issue of what to do with them once they are no longer able to work. Not everyone would be prepared or able to keep a horse for years in a comfortable retirement.
 

Peglo

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1 June 2021
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My first pony was 13 when I got her and got retired at 15/16. But she was supposed to have navicular so I got her for free. She’s 30 now and definitely doesn’t have navicular but something made her lame when she was ridden. My TB was retired at 21 as she had just had enough and neither of us was having fun. I’m so happy to have them both still but I wanted something under 10 this time to hopefully give me a bit more time. So it maybe depends on everyone’s experiences.
 
Joined
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If you're not willing to offer a horse a retirement, then you need to buy something young enough that you'll be able to sell it on again as a rideable horse in the future.

If you ARE willing to offer a horse a retirement, you still probably want a good ratio of "useable" to retired years.

But I don't think quiet hacking homes should be put off older horses. A lot of expensive issues start showing much younger than 15. Mild/moderate arthritis is to be expected at some point, but can be managed up to a point. And I kinda feel like if you buy an older horse specifically for gentle hacking, and that horse gets to the point where its not comfortable with even that level of work, then in all likelihood they're not genuinely "field sound" either (ie, without sounding too brutal, you might not end up with a long, expensive retirement after all)
 

KEK

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5 February 2020
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We have 2 older standies now, both around 20. They are absolutely perfect for their jobs- to be happy hackers. Fine to pull out of the field to ride once/week, fun to ride, mine is currently restoring my confidence that was trashed by the pony. Her gaits are smooth and comfortable and shes generally a joy to ride. We didn't buy either, though, they are both free leases. And we are on our own property so there's that, I'm also a vet so I think that makes their owners feel a bit more confident in their care as they get older. Highly recommend older horses!
 

SO1

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29 January 2008
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I think they can be fantastic if they are school masters and even if you buy a younger horse no guarantee they will stay sound for long either.

If you are buying an older horse as they are cheaper as you need to save money unless you have your own land so can retire easily then they may not be cost effective long run. My 19 year old pony who I bought when he was 5 has been having issues now since he was 18. Last year he had a suspensory injury and this year a tendon one. Vet said partly age related degeneration so he is weaker if he trips or slips something that would not have caused him an issue when younger now risks him getting a soft tissue injury.

If I had my own land or plenty of money I would definitely consider an older horse if they were a safe and sound schoolmaster type.

My 19 year old will stay with me till his last days and I won't have another horse after him. He is a good boy and has mellowed in his old age and I have been lucky to have 12 years with very little vet problems.

My insurance is now crazy expensive though.
 

Horse2018

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21 April 2018
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122
Insurance is very expensive for a horse over the age of 15. Also most shows jumper start to develop issues after the age of 15. Also most people would rather sell than retire because it’s very expensive to keep a horse in retirement.
 

paddy555

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23 December 2010
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9,256
people seem to be falling over themselves on the "ex and retired polo ponies" group on FB. Most of them are old and only suitable for light work. I was looking out for one for someone and there was one posted that was pretty local. Didn't follow it up as there was already a long list of people who had already sent pm's for it.
 
Joined
9 August 2021
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166
A older horse is more expensive especially if you have insurance. Plus 15 is starting to get old especially for certain things like breeding . Some horse will be ridden Into there late 20s others could be retired at 16 or 17 . Pony's definitely go on for way longer I know a 35 year old pony still be ridden. I Think some people want a young horse because they don’t plan on getting a second horse. So once the horse is gone they are finished with horses.
 
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