As most of you know, we are a retirement center for equines. Handling these horses in their golden years can be just as fragile as handling a new baby foal. Since their strength and flexibility diminish, we must pay special attention to certain things to keep them from getting an infection or other ailment. That’s why we ensure each and every one of the horses under our care receive their very own individualized
As horses age, they find doing everyday things not as pleasurable and sometimes painful. Their body can no longer handle the stress or common infections that occur, and even the smallest of health issues can take them out. An equine is considered advanced age when they are above 20 years old, but they will start to show signs of aging long before that time.
Did you know that to keep a horse at optimal health, they need to be outside? Think of your mental and overall health during the recent pandemic when you couldn’t leave your home. The rates of depression and anxiety skyrocketed because people felt trapped.
The same principles apply to horses. They feel their best when they can be outside in the fresh air and sunshine. Muscles that don’t keep moving will atrophy, and when they lose their ability to walk and get out, it won’t be long before nature takes its course.
Older Horses Care Plan
The aging horse needs care beyond that of one in the prime of life. Here are the steps we take to ensure their health.
1. Form a Base Line
When you go to the doctor, they check your weight, blood pressure, temperature, and pulse ox. They use these numbers to monitor any change during your care. We do the same thing for our horses. Our veterinarian monitors these things to ensure that nothing changes or it’s cause for alarm.
2. Regular Medical and Dental Checkups
Horses need to get regular medical and dental checkups. Just as your body deteriorates over time, the same thing happens to the equines. If the teeth become too eroded, then it can cause them great pain when they chew. Monitoring their overall medical and dental health is imperative as we can often pick up on things before they become significant issues.
3. Give Them A Diet for Weight Considerations
Muscle mass soon becomes replaced with fatty tissues, like what adults call middle-age spread. The issue with horses is that extra weight makes them want to move less, and they become less likely to wander the pastures. It becomes hard to control glucose levels in these older horses when they gain weight, and their knees often crumble under pressure from arthritis. A diet that is geared for health and weight is essential.
4. Protecting Against Immunity Issues
When we bring in new equines to our fold, we must be cautious due to the weakened immunity of the other horses. It’s essential to keep the new horses away from others until we verify their health. This also means that they cannot share water buckets or blankets until they’re in the clear.
5. Keeping Them Comfortable
Lastly, our goal is to keep them comfortable. If they need medications for arthritis, our vet ensures they have something so they’re not in pain. Natural remedies, like glucosamine and chondroitin, work wonders when arthritic pain is unbearable. Other tricks like increasing the bedding in their stall make it easier for them to get up and down without too much pain. Another hack we use is rubber mats that help to increase the height of their bed.
Final Thoughts on The Care of Older Horses
Wouldn’t it be nice if these majestic animals could live forever? Sadly, the average horse lives to be around 20-30 years if they have no serious medical issues. It can become quite cumbersome to take care of these large animals in the later stages of life, which is why our job is so important. When you entrust your equine to us, you can rest assured that every measure of care is given so that they can live out their remaining days in peace and tranquility. Each horse that comes onto our grounds is like family, and we take care of them until it’s time for them to cross the rainbow bridge. Surely there will be hoofprints in heaven, or it wouldn’t be paradise.