Caring for Senior Horses

Horses aged 15 and over are generally considered to be equine senior citizens.? Although they can continue living healthy, happy, and very active lives, most senior horses do need some amount of special care to ensure that they are comfortable and to prevent problems from developing.? Here are some tips on how to care for your aging horse:

  • Be aware that your horse will be more sensitive to heat and cold.? In the summer, be sure he has plenty of shade.? In winter, consider blanketing him if he shows signs of being chilled.
  • Older horses can have more difficulties with their teeth, causing them trouble with chewing and digesting their food.? Have his teeth checked regularly, even twice a year if necessary.
  • Watch your horse for signs of weight loss.? When grooming, use your hands on your horse?s body to feel for any changes.? A senior horse may have more difficulty extracting the nutrients he needs from his normal diet, so consult with your veterinarian to determine whether he needs additional supplements.
  • Senior horses often have a weaker immunity than younger horses, causing them to be more prone to skin infections, colds and respiratory problems, insect bites, and infectious disease.? Groom your horse regularly to remove unwanted bacteria, use a good insect repellant, and ensure that your horse receives medical attention if he is sick, even if it appears to be a minor issue.
  • Keep your older horse moving.? If you are unable to ride him, try hand-walking or even swimming to get him the exercise he needs.? Many idle horses wind up with poor circulation and muscle loss.
  • If your horse has difficulty chewing roughage, you might want to invest in pelleted food specifically designed for senior horses.
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