Do you have a special spot in your heart for a senior horse? Keeping a horse into his senior years can be a rewarding experience, but senior horses also require some special care to make sure that their needs are met. These tips for managing the senior horse can help you get started.
Provide Plenty of Turnout
Most senior horses will benefit from as much turnout as you can provide. Whereas older horses tend to get a bit arthritic, the ability to walk around freely can help to ease this painful condition. Your horse is also less likely to stock up or to contract a respiratory issue if he has the ability to come and go as he pleases.
Invest In Quality Feed
Giving your horse quality feed will help to keep him healthier. Many senior horses struggle with keeping weight on, and investing in a quality feed can help to combat this issue. Don’t forget to also look for quality hay which has little dust and no mold.
Keep Hooves Trimmed
It may be tempting to stretch farrier visits out if your senior horse isn’t being ridden, but properly trimmed hooves are important to your horse’s safety. If your horse’s hooves grow too long, he may stumble and fall, especially if he is already weak or sore. Be sure that your senior horse sees your farrier every six weeks.
Work With Your Vet
Your vet is a key player in helping you to manage your senior horse’s health. Be sure that your horse sees the vet at least once a year, and give the vet a call if you have any concerns about your horse’s health. Your vet can also advise you about medications which may improve your horse’s health or make him more comfortable.
Give Your Horse a Buddy
Horses are herd animals by nature, and even though a horse may be older, the need for companionship doesn’t decrease. Try to give your horse a buddy to keep him company. You may want to look for a laid-back horse who can be a pasture companion for your older horse. If you can’t turn your horse out with another horse, then try to have a buddy horse located in an adjoining pasture or stall.
Keep Your Horse Entertained
Many older horses appreciate still having some activity in their lives even after they’re retired. Introducing stall or pasture toys, hand walking your horse, spending time grooming your horse, or bringing in a massage therapist to work on your horse will all help to break up your horse’s days and provide him with some entertainment.
Enjoy your time with your senior horse!