Those of you with the older horse

welshcobabe

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Hyde, Cheshire.
My lad is now 21 and has a touch of the arthritis but we do keep going for hacks out no more than an hour and only walk and trot on soft ground. It keeps him and me happy and long may it continue.

But I did want to ask all of you with horses over 20 what do you still do ?
 

meleeka

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Hants, England
Not a lot 😂. My four oldies are freeloaders, due to circumstances more than their health. I think it’s perfectly possible, and beneficial, to keep them in easy work as they age. 21 isn’t even old these days!
 

Auslander

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Alf is 24, and has various issues. He still hacks out, and is very jolly (often a bit too jolly!) I let him decide where we're going, and what speed he fancies. He's a big horse, and I need to keep him ticking over so that he doesn't lose too much muscle and start finding it hard to get up and down
He has Cartrophen every 3 months for maintenance, and a bit of bute if he needs it.
 

scruffyponies

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NW Hampshire
Manage their health, not their age. Little Dartmoor we lost a few years ago was still having the odd canter with his little people right up to the end (found dead in field). He was in his mid 30s.
One, at 23 does only occasional hacking because of hock problems. He seems OK so long as he gets rest in between, but gets mopey if we don't take him out. Others the same age are going out regularly and fast, no different to 10 years ago.
Our shetland is around the same age - difference how is he's a much better pony, if still a little forward going for his riders.
 

Skib

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but gets mopey if we don't take him out.
Our RI did the same as you. I shared and hacked her mare till she was 23. Just 45 mins to an hour for our mutual benefit. I was convalescent myself and the idea was that I would do what she and I felt up to, which sometimes meant canter and more often not.
When the mare was retired she was miserable and asked to come in when the other horses were brought in from the field. I had no say in what happened to her.
 

huskydamage

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I still hack my 28year old a few times a week, do the occassional fun ride/hound exercise. I dont do many long hacks with her these days, mostly stick to 1 to 2hrs max but that is largely down to the fact I have another younger horse to ride and I dont have time to hack both separately. If I've only got time for a short 40min hack I'll do that with my oldie.
She is stiff to start sometimes esp in winter but really no different to 20 years ago. Still nuts!
 

Peglo

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1 June 2021
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I retired one 15 years ago through lameness that was meant to be navicular. After all that time off she is no longer lame so I have no idea what it was. She still enjoyed going out walks in hand though. TB told me quite clearly she had had enough at 21 so retired her then. I love hearing stories of people still riding their elderly ponies ☺️
 

ThreeWBs

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My near 30yo is mainly retired through arthritis, not spirit! I occasionally hop on him bareback for a little ride and often box him up for walks on the beach. It's great for them to 'keep going' even if it's the bare minimum!
 

PurBee

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Seems there’s lots of very active oldies - with arthritis mostly being the issue with those unridden - im always heartened by threads when folk say their older horses are fully engaged in active exercise still. It seems the notion that 15 is on to ‘getting past it’ is nonsense, when i read of 20 somethings doing fun rides, jumping etc.
My 19yr old acts and moves like a 9yr old…just the other day i stood bemused at her galloping and farting and bucking her way around the field! Though, she’s a low mileage horse, her health has not altered in the past 10 yrs.

I’d definitely buy a sound active 20yr old knowing they potentially have another 10yrs of ‘good life’ in them, but im a hacker and not competitor, so understand the huge demand for 5-10yrs young horse market.
 

Mosh

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Leicestershire
My 27 year old still pops a little jump, does some low level dressage. Goes out for xc when the ground is good and is also teaching a young girl how to ride between riding lessons at a riding school.
She is utterly bonkers still, snorting like a dragon most of the time and for example last night got herself in such a tizzy because she wanted to go forwards and got so excited we ended up doing a 10m circle because we just couldn't go forwards. Has cushings but we manage with the medication. Still sound, a bit stiff in winter but is managed with thr occasional bute and keeping her joints warm in the winter when stabled.
 

HuskyFluff

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Mine was still jumping and galloping around aged 24. He's 28 now, and I retired him when he seemed to start tripping and just didn't seem as 'steady' (physically - he always saw himself as 5 yrs old mentally) as he had been.
 

Fransurrey

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Mine was ridden until he was 26. He suddenly became ill over Christmas and was retired instantly, but before that he did long hacks at all paces. He was notorious for his 'Little man syndrome' and loving a good gallop!
 

fidleyspromise

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Scotland
I've a 20 Yr old healthy and capable of jumping, galloping etc and is like a 10 yr old.

A 19 yr old thats stiff to begin with but eases off - heading cross country this weekend. Did a 6 mile beach ride yesterday with lots of canter. She also has COPD.

A retired 14 yr old - through injury.
 

Birker2020

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My lad is now 21 and has a touch of the arthritis but we do keep going for hacks out no more than an hour and only walk and trot on soft ground. It keeps him and me happy and long may it continue.

But I did want to ask all of you with horses over 20 what do you still do ?
Mine was a gradual decline of riding.

When she was 19 I was told I couldn't jump in anymore as she had a suspensory branch injury which was rehabbed sufficiently to go back competing but then would go a few months later, it was a recurring theme from around 2014 when after spend a small fortune on PRP and shockwave she caught it in a wheelbarrow at the yard whilst I was at work, it developed calcification and she was never right on it after that.

So I scratched the jumping and just carried on schooling, did plenty of fun rides and dressage comps, got her to unaffiliated Elementary in a GP saddle lol, her average was around 65%, I used to let her down by forgetting my tests! She was such a lovely looking horse with lovely paces and loved being ridden, would prick her ears at you approaching with the tack and I don't think I own a single photo out of the thousands taken of us together where her ears were back. She loved her fun rides and I was still able to canter her across fields still. Gradually it became harder to keep her sound on a soft surface so i wasn't able to continue dressage but we still did fun rides, having our last one in August 2017.

Then throughout 2018 I just did hacking with her and we travelled miles, used to take her out in the trailer to the pub about four miles away and hack all around there were I'd previously been stabled for a while as it was such smashing hacking. Did that all through 2019 too but in Dec 2019 she did her check ligament, which had healed by the March 2020 which meant I could go hacking again gradually building up the time over many months.

In Spring of 2020 she was good enough to have a couple of very small canters in a very well cushioned old meadow type field as well as an hour hack on one day of the week and half on a weekend but this gradually slowed down to no cantering in the field and then two 20 min hacks a week to keep her ticking over, but at this point she was on/off. I stopped the hacking when it became evident there was more than met the eye and the vet decided it was coffin joint issues which meant she needed to be medicated again, she'd gone 15 years with only four medications. One was done Sept and the other Oct 2020. This lasted for a few weeks and she was hacking out sounder than ever, but then she suddenly went lame so I didn't ride her from that point which was again before Xmas whilst I saved up for arthamid.

Although I was happy to keep her as a field ornament it wasn't to be. She wasn't paddock sound on 2 bute and despite some last ditch attempts to save her I let her go on 1st June this year, looking amazing and still very happy in herself. When I took down her strip grazing for the last hour of her life she did a kind of skip and a jump, something that will stay with me forever.
 

Sussexbythesea

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My 26yr old is hacked about 3 times a week. He’s still naughty and bucked my 72yr old sharer off a few weeks ago 😱. He was diagnosed with SI injury when he was about 11 and he had an annular ligament op on both hinds when he was 19yrs. However I’ve managed to keep him going.



He also does this occasionally- he won the mature veteran in-hand and came 7th in the ridden mature veteran last weekend at the Sunshine Tour at Hickstead. He’s only on Buteless regularly but may have Bute for shoeing sometimes or the odd day. He’s out all summer but has virtually no grinding surface left so has a lot of feed and hay replacer.
 

oldie48

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15 April 2013
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South Worcestershire
The 21 year old that I am sharing can still do a good medium test and schools at adv medium but he is warmed up slowly. He still enjoys a jump with his owner and hacks out. He's ridden 6 days a week but is given lots of variety. He's evented in the past quite successfully and was ready to go advanced when he got injured, he's also hunted so he has had a busy active life. My late TB was competing at novice level dressage until he was 24 (and winning the veteran classes) and hacking out until he started to become trippy (26ish) and I lost him at 28. 21 isn't old these days
 

ILuvCowparsely

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My lad is now 21 and has a touch of the arthritis but we do keep going for hacks out no more than an hour and only walk and trot on soft ground. It keeps him and me happy and long may it continue.

But I did want to ask all of you with horses over 20 what do you still do ?
I know I keep harping on about this but do you have him on joint supplement, I have all mine on it and really seen the difference in my and friends horses. My late mare was still doing sponsored rides at 23 - vet said bute but she came off that with Flexi Joint - was a different horse. They give you a money back guarantee if it does not help. Just read a random page review https://www.equimins-online.com/en/...-flexijoint-cartilage-supplement.html?iPage=8.
 

Peglo

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1 June 2021
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I know I keep harping on about this but do you have him on joint supplement, I have all mine on it and really seen the difference in my and friends horses. My late mare was still doing sponsored rides at 23 - vet said bute but she came off that with Flexi Joint - was a different horse. They give you a money back guarantee if it does not help. Just read a random page review https://www.equimins-online.com/en/...-flexijoint-cartilage-supplement.html?iPage=8.
I’ve ordered this for the TB after you recommended it elsewhere. Looking forward to trying it. Hope it works on her like it does for yours 😊
 

phizz4

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15 June 2017
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337
My wife's 26 year old quarter horse mare has mostly been hacked out for the last 15 years and leaves my 14 year old mare for dead at every pace, we have to keep trotting to catch up. Still behaves like a novice when passing rubbish bins that were there yesterday but weren't scary then, is the fastest out to the field each day and still tries to kill me when I put her rugs on. She's on Science Supplement Veteran, biotin and blue chip (oh, and carrots and polo mints)
 

Caol Ila

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Glasgow
I rode my old horse until she was 28. She did not have a lame day in her life (excluding stuff like sticking the clip of a shoe into her foot) until she was 27. I reduced her dressage schooling to twice per week when she turned 27, then once per week, and then I stopped it cold turkey because she no longer felt comfortable on soft surfaces. But she continued to want to hack out, so that's what we did. Then she went very lame at the start of January 2021, and she had about six weeks off. She got better, to the point where she was bouncing around and being a nutbar on our handwalks like a 3-year old, so we slowly came back to work in March. Short hacks in walk 2-3 times per week. When we had a late snowstorm in April, she went horribly lame again. Obviously I stopped riding. Then she lost tons of weight and started getting weak and wobbly in her hind end, so I never rode her again. The weakness and wobbliness did not improve with spring grass in May -- it got worse -- nor did the weight, so she was put to sleep at the beginning of June. But Goddammit, I tried everything. Every joint supplement known to man. Danilon. Magnetic boots. Magnetic bands. Homeopathy.

But before her health started failing, she could outpace younger horses, even at 26/27, and the only way to stop her from bucking when she thought she was in a race while cantering in a group was make sure she was running faster than everything else. And she could still fly the summer she turned 27. I will always be grateful for that.

jump.jpg
 

9tails

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20 January 2009
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Mine is 21 and I don't ride as often as I should. No other reason than I can take it or leave it. But I know that when the time comes to retire I'll be kicking myself for all the missed opportunities to jump on and go. I have a horse that can turn her hoof to anything, enjoys hacking particularly if it's just us but will ride out with others, is keen as mustard about her job and even enjoys schooling. So far, I haven't seen any signs of her slowing down, she has an unparalleled joy for life.
 

tatty_v

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25 March 2015
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My boy is 21, suffers from hock arthritis and Cushings but so far we have managed both with medication. He hacks, does some light schooling (which he still objects to!), jumps occasionally, fun rides etc. This is us the other week (baby jump I know but we both enjoyed it!)

FB54E934-2342-4780-94BE-D1B0EB3F0F8A.jpeg
He is slowing down, but as long as he is happy and comfortable we will carry on and make the most of every minute we have together 🥰
 

Skib

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London
Great unsolved problem for me was the old mare I hacked had a habit of spinning and setting off for home at top speed. She did it twice with me over the years and there was no guarantee I or anyone else could hack her in walk only. I mean I did it. But there was no way I could guarantee walk.
 

J&S

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My own mare (coloured in pic on left) was retired at 18 on Vet's recommendation because of general discomfort and some extreme behaviour on her part because of it. However, over the last year or so I have started to hack her out (now 24!) with the companion pony and she is back to her old perfect self, enjoys a good canter and even jumps a log. We do not travel any more but we do on line trec competitions and she can still show the young ones how its done. While she was "off the road" I had the ride on a semi retired hunter/eventer exPC horse who was still the hero of the hunt Relay at 22/23 and who took to Arena Trec like a pro and was still winning until last October but this year has quietly retired at 28.
Hopefully you and your horse have a few years of fun ahead still if you listen and respond accordingly.
 

TheOldTrout

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Mine is 23, sharer and I ride her most days. Steady hacking or riding in the school. If I don't have time to ride, I do in hand work with her. The trotting poles in hand, we have to stop when she is still flying along because I am about to expire! Sharer did a long (but slow) hack with her a few weeks ago, she led from the front all the way round!
 

Annagain

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Archie is late 20s (passport says 25, vet and dental vet say older). He's had an easy life for the last 12 years due to foot problems. He hacked, did fun rides with the odd small jump and low level dressage until last year when he retired. We stopped riding during the first lockdown, as so many of us did, and he was never quite 100% sound when we tried to start again. He now lolls around the field being charming to his horsey friends and is a total cuddle monster as opposed the Victor Meldrew character he was when in work. He's thrived in retirement and looks like you could throw a saddle on him and ride him tomorrow. He never slowed down or got more sensible with age when it came to riding, he was ridiculously strong to the end!

Monty is 25 and he's been retired since March when he sustained a suspensory / tendon injury (we didn't scan as it wouldn't change the treatment) in the field. Until then he was still going to riding club (lockdowns allowing) and jumping small jumps. He did his last full XC course (an 80cm pony club course) in 2019 at the age of 23 with his owner's very novicey son and probably would have done more last summer had there been anything to do. He was a total gent at 5 and that never changed - I think his lovely laid back attitude helped him continue to be doing all the jumping until a decent age for such a big boy. He doesn't seem to love retirement like Archie so he might do some very gentle walk hacking next spring if he's properly recovered. He's lost a fair bit of muscle since being out of work so unless he builds a bit up again doing in hand work, we won't even think about getting on him. He's far too precious for that.
 

spotty_pony

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My 22 year old is ridden about three times per week. We mostly just hack now as he does have arthritis in his hocks and I limit the trotting on the roads and only canter when the ground is good - he too prefers it softer. Out hacks can be anything up to 2 2/12 hours long and we cover up to 12 miles. He has always been a very active horse with great stamina and we used to cover around 20 miles per hack back in the day. I took him show jumping the other week (just for a 60cm) and he loved it came 5th! We also enjoy a bit of autumn hunting when we can and the ground allows too. I don't think there are any hard and fast rules - just listen to your horse, they will tell you what they are and are not happy doing.
 
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