After you celebrate your horse’s 20th birthday, they begin their senior stage of life and will require more care than before. You’ll need an eye out for illnesses and ailments. With the proper preventative care, you can give your horse at least another decade of their happy home on the range—like a retirement. Keep yourself informed about what to consider when caring for a senior horse and maintain their health as they age well into their 20s.
Commit To Annual Checkups
Your horse veterinarian will be your best friend during your horse’s sunset years. You’ll need to call them in for regular checkups to ensure the horse ages gracefully and doesn’t experience any issues.
Make sure to keep an eye on your senior horse’s dental health—teeth may weaken and detach from the gums, requiring immediate removal. Keep a personal record filled with information about past vet visits and pictures of your horse to give yourself a solid baseline for changes in weight or other health issues.
Focus On Your Horse’s Diet
Getting old can result in changes to your horse’s diet, especially if you run into any health concerns. As horses age, they lose some of their muscle weight and replace it with body fat. With low activity and food that is too high in sugars, they could develop a form of diabetes that high body fat accelerates.
Another concern that affects your senior horse’s nutrient intake is their dental health. A lack of healthy teeth can result in a horse that no longer eats while in the pasture or dribbles their feed out of the sides of their mouth. Consider how to approach feeding your horse with dental issues and come up with a strategy that is right for them. You may need to add water to their fibrous food, purchase chopped hay instead of long grain, and add nutrients to the feed yourself.
What to consider when caring for a senior horse differs from horse to horse. Your equine senior may not need any special treatment at first or they could need immediate attention during their first year as an older horse. Keep an observant eye on them every day and give them all the love and attention that they want.