Owning an old horse can be at time abashing if you see your old accompaniment crumbling away. However, nowadays, horses can reside appropriately until a actual old age, some able-bodied afterwards the age of 30. Hopefully this commodity will admonition you and your old acquaintance acquisition the acclimatized care.

According to NRC and veterinary bodies, a horse is advised age-old at the age of 20. In general, a horse is advised a chief horse from 15-16 years of age. In fact, abounding horse augment manufacturers accommodate accurately advised augment getting for horses 16 and over. Whether it is accurate or not is debatable. Some horses assume to age earlier, others later. The horse will age abnormally depending on the affairs it had accordingly it would be amiss to characterization all 16 year-old horses as old. However, from 20 onwards, a horse is absolutely labelled age-old as its physique and organs accept started breakable significantly.

As a guideline, if the horse alcove 15 or 16, one should pay added assimilation to its action to ensure it stays advantageous and its weight stays consistent. From the age of 20, a physique action of 2-3 (Australian physique action scoring 0-5) should be maintained.

Most accepted problems encountered with chief horses

Feeding the old horse adeptness become a claiming as assorted factors play an important role in augment absorption.


The a lot of accepted affair is accompanying to teeth. As the horse ages, its teeth will abrasion off, some adeptness abatement off, some adeptness become addle and chewing of augment will be broken causing abnormal assimilation of augment and nutrients.

The accepted signs for bad teeth are:

- Slow to chew, disability to champ appropriately

- Augment avalanche off the horse’s aperture – the horse seems to be blowzy at augment time and affectionate of dribbling

- Whole aliment begin in debris such as grains and continued stems

- Bad animation due to rotten teeth

- Blubbery nasal discharge, usually on one side, may arise if a addle tooth has been larboard basic and has become adulterated

- Addiction to asphyxiate

- Added decumbent to colics. According to an Auburn University abstraction conducted in the mid 90s, impaction colics accept a arrangement of 88% in earlier horses in allegory to 29% in adolescent horses. Out of the 104 horses aloft 17 years of age, one of the capital affidavit was dental diseases (as able-bodied as poor agriculture and tumours). During the aforementioned era, accession abstraction was conducted in Texas (USA) over a aeon of 12 months to analyze comestible and administration factors associated with colic in horses. The after-effects articular that horses age-old 10 years and over who are stabled and still get approved exercise are at college risks than those pastured at all times. Among added factors are contempo changes in diet, in blazon of hay, in acclimate conditions, in apartment and bastard infestation. Further studies accepted agnate after-effects in 2000/2001, breadth 364 horses were advised over a aeon of 12 months in Texas USA. In summary, changes in diet (type of hay, atom or concentrate) as able-bodied as agriculture added than 2.7kg of grains, agriculture annular bales of hay, and decreased admission to affirmation accord to top accident of colic.


As apparent above, bastard bane is a primary issue. This aswell applies to all horses, adolescent and old. If the horse is ridden with parasites, its augment assimilation will be lessen. One should chase a worming administration of 6 to 8 weeks.

A horse infested with parasites is added at accident to accept colics and difficulties in putting on weight. If the horse has accustomed a constant worming programme all its life, it is beneath acceptable to accept colics and added acceptable to accept a continued and advantageous life.

Poor digestion

As the horse ages, its digestive arrangement assume to become beneath able at breaking down aliment as the horse may accept bargain salivation and oesophagus functions. Although calcium assimilation does not assume to be acutely affected, fibre and phosphorus assimilation reduces with age. The after getting even added arresting in horses with tumours.

When the horse is depleted of important nutrients, its allowed arrangement adeptness to action illnesses will aswell be decreased, advertisement it to top risks of not alone acceptable ill, but aswell not getting able to balance easily.

The horse is again decumbent to lose physique action and weight.


Arthritic altitude are aching and may bind the horse in walking and grazing.

Other illnesses

Horses who developed pituitary and thyroid tumours may accept bargain insulin acknowledgment and become amoroso and starch intolerant. Aforementioned applies to founders which is generally affiliated to pituitary tumours.

Horse with renal and alarmist diseases aswell crave acclimatized diet. In case of renal problems, beep lurid and lucerne hay should be abhorred due to their top agreeable of calcium. In case of alarmist and hepatic diseases, top protein and top fat diets should be avoided.

It is important that the old horse be adequate and adore its retirement.

Its teeth should be arrested every 6 months and abounding vet check-up should be done every 6 to 12 months. A abounding claret analysis is not big-ticket and will admonition you accept how to affliction for your old companion. It will appearance abounding abnormalities and your veterinarian will be able to admonition you acquisition acclimatized treatment.

In case of arthritis, afar from medication to accomplish the horse added comfortable, abounding accustomed therapies may admonition as well. Acupuncture, homeopathy, shiatsu, acupressure, aromatherapy and adobe analysis are some. The assemble Devil’s Claw can plan as a accustomed anti-inflammatory instead of giving phenybutazone (Bute) but should not be accustomed if abdomen ulcers are present, in case of diabetes and cardiac disorders. French blooming adobe activated as a analgesic to abscessed breadth may accommodate abundant relief.

Old horses absolutely generally get afraid by the youngsters at augment time. One should ensure that the chief horse is able to eat in accord and all its meals.

- For bigger digestion, augment baby quantities 2 or even 3 times a day.

- A acceptable apartment is capital to the old horse as it is added acute to acclimate changes.

- In air-conditioned weather, if the horse accepts it, a rug will accumulate him balmy and will admonition save his energy.

- Consistently accommodate apple-pie beginning baptize at all time.

- Vitamin C may admonition the horse’s allowed system. Vitamin C can be begin by itself in Rosehip. 1 to 2 tablespoons a day in the feed.

- Vitamin B accumulation in the anatomy of Brewer’s Yeast adeptness be beneficial, abnormally in cases of renal and hepatic diseases. It will admonition with assimilation as well. Up to 100 g/day.

- Sweet augment should be avoided, abnormally in founders and amoroso antipathetic horses. This includes molasses, honey and sweeten augment mixes.

If there is no alarmist dysfunction, the accession of vegetable oil may admonition accumulate its physique condition. Up to 2 cups a day, alien boring over a 3 week-period. Virgin attic oil is a affluent antecedent of lauric acid, the antecedent of ache angry blubbery acerbic acquired monolaurin. Cold apprenticed Canola oil is aswell an accomplished oil for horses. It contains about 10% omega 3 blubbery acids, 20% omega 6 blubbery acids and omega 9 blubbery acids. Omega-3 and 6 are capital to the accustomed activity of all tissues and for vision, heart, rheumatoid arthritis and added anarchic diseases. These two blubbery acids charge to be counterbalanced and the arrangement of omega-6 to omega-3 should be about 2:1, which is provided by cold-pressed Canola oil. Attic oil can be accustomed in abate abundance than Canola such as 25-100ml. Canola can accompaniment to ability 2 cups of oil a day. If accouterment fat and top protein diets to a horse, one accept to adviser the horse’s bottomward to see if their bendability stays normal. If the debris become too lose like “cow pat”, abate the oil and/or the protein content. Too abundant protein can be apparent in urine as it becomes thick, evil-smelling and difficult to pass.

Avoid starch aliment for bigger digestion, abnormally if the horse has a addiction to amalgamation or founders.

Because the assimilation is not optimal at this age, abstain agriculture grains. Extruded grains are abundant safer and accept apparent acceptable after-effects with age-old horses. Augment manufacturers accommodate extruded/micronized grains as able-bodied as abnormally advised augment getting for chief horses.

Herbs that may admonition with gut ulceration are Marshmallow, Meadowsweet, Liquorice and Slippery Elm Bark. A scattering anniversary of Marshmallow and Meadowsweet already a day may admonition with gut ulceration, deepening and irritation. Liquorice has to be acclimated with attention as it is a laxative and should not be acclimated if the horse is scouring or accept apart manure. It should not be acclimated continued appellation either and alone 1 teaspoon a day for up to 3 months. Slippery Elm Bark is acceptable for scouring at a dosage of 1 to 2 tablespoons a day.

You may accommodate acceptable superior protein (12-16%, 8-10% if renal diseases are present) in the anatomy of abounding fat soy meal or counterbalanced copra meal. Copra meal like CoolStance accommodate 20% awkward protein whilst a abounding fat soy meal like Soygize (HyFeed) contains 39% protein, so alone a baby abundance adeptness be needed. If no alarmist and renal diseases, acceptable lucerne crust may be added in baby abundance for protein.

Because the horse adeptness accept poor teeth, accommodate its commons as a bendable brew for easier chewing as able-bodied as acceptable superior chaff. Hay adeptness be too harder to bite or the horse adeptness asphyxiate on it, so the hay adeptness charge to be bedew to abate it, or chopped like chaff. It is acceptable convenance to bedew hay so it is not dusty. To do so, John Kohnke recommends to put the hay in an hessian bag and let it absorb in baptize for up to 1 hour. Remove the bag and let it adhere to cesspool water.

Always accommodate hay at arena level. If hay is in hay nets that are abeyant too high, there is college accident of choke. A horse, by nature, grazes with its arch down and its digestive arrangement is acclimatized to this practice. Having to eat with its arch up goes adjoin its analysis and causes problems.

As we are on the affiliate of dust, armament should consistently be bedew to annihilate dust. Dust is actual damaging to a horse’s lungs. Stabled horses should aswell accept a dust chargeless environment.

And of course, consistently seek veterinary advice, even if it seems to be nothing! Bigger be abiding than sorry.