According to Matt Davies Harmony Communities, aging isn’t easy even if it’s a natural process. Similar to humans, horses lose their flexibility and strength as they age. Their body can’t handle as much infection and stress either. Let’s check out a few tips for caring for older horses.
Tips & Tricks
- Baseline – Record your horse’s TPR(temperature, pulse, and respiration) measurements while they are young and healthy or obtain old records. This helps you and your vet to establish a baseline for comparison to your senior horse’s health. To make the baseline even more concrete, add a body condition score and the weight of the horse to the list.
You can also take pictures of your horse from numerous angles and store them on your iCloud or Google Drive. Now you have a complete data set that makes comparing the changing health of your horse more scientific and eliminates the guesswork.
- Regular checkups – Senior horses need to get a thorough veterinarian checkup every year including oral exams. Horses that are too old lose a few teeth. However, it becomes a problem when a tooth or two is stuck or eroded away enough to not even be anchored in the guns. Those teeth may cause infection and interfere with chewing. Oral exams help to identify those problems and many more health complications so that they can be fixed quickly.
- Weight loss – Senior horses tend to lose a lot of lean muscle mass as they grow older. Most horses over the age of 20 have some form of arthritis and that’s why they shouldn’t carry excess weight on their back. Older horses are also inefficient at producing cortisol. It’s a chemical that triggers the usage of glycogen storage in the body during exercise and that’s why old horses need a longer rest time.
- Targeted deworming – Senior horses also have a weaker immune system and are more susceptible to parasites. That’s why they need to be dewormed when necessary. During the winter when temperatures are as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, parasite-carrying agents won’t try to climb the grass blades to enter the horse’s body. However, during dry and hot summers, you need to check the fecal eggs and identify a parasite before getting your horse dewormed.
- Diet and medication – You’ll also need to change the diet and the way you feed your horse after consulting your vet. Your old horse may need more good fiber, vitamins, and other things depending on its condition. Senior horses also benefit from medication that strengthens their joints and boosts their immunity against infections. Your horse also needs to be vaccinated against diseases.
Matt Davies Harmony Communities suggests that you use the tips mentioned above for caring for older horses. Similar to elderly people, senior horses require a lot of help and a bit more help. You need to change everything from their diet to medication and make their living space a bit more comfortable.