As horse owners and equine vets, we have certainly been spoiled by the mild Autumn so far this year! However, the long winter nights are finally drawing in, so this issue our attention turns to caring for older horses. Low temperatures, wet weather and sparse grazing can put significant demands on the veteran horse or pony at grass. Conversely, stabling horses for prolonged periods can result in a different set of problems to contend with.
The lifespan of the average horse is approximately 20 years. However, this varies tremendously between breeds and individuals. Whereas 20 years may be considered a ‘ripe old age’ for a thoroughbred, many ponies are still competing into their late teens and early twenties and live well into their thirties.
Caring for older horses and ponies can be a challenge. This article will discuss how their day-to-day husbandry requirements change with increasing age, and outline several clinical conditions common in veteran horses and ponies. Read more