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How to make your senior horse’s years more golden.




I t’s estimated that 17 percent of horses in this country are over 20 years old. Today, the average horse in the United States can expect a longer, healthier life than his ancestors.

There are multiple reasons for this increased longevity. Even just a century ago, most horses were used for hard work, not pleasure.

Earlier equines also didn’t have the benefi t of improved nutrition and advances in veterinary medicine— including parasite control and expanded protection from disease via vaccination—that horses enjoy today.

There’s no set age that qualifi es a horse as “old.” In general, a horse is considered a senior once he’s in his late teens to 20. As with humans, some horses age better than others. Continuity of care over a lifetime and how a horse is used greatly infl uence how well—or poorly—he ages.

“Consistency is the main thing as your horse ages,” says Sam Crosby, DVM, whose equine practice is based in Arcadia, Okla. “An annual exam is important so you can catch issues. You also want to pay close attention to an older horse’s body condition.”

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Horse Illustrated November 2018, How to Stay FOREVER YOUNG in the SADDLE, Riding through LOVE&LOSS, And More......