By Lizzie Hopkinson
Keeping your older horse happy and well into his last years, is a brilliant gift you can give him. It is not always possible to do so, life can be too difficult, and it can simply not be practical. But if you have the time and resources to do so, this will help you to take the best care possible of your older horse.
It is well documented that one of the most important things for the elderly, both human and equine, is movement. One of the biggest problems with the elderly occurs when they put on bed rest and stop moving. Equally putting an old horse on box rest can causes stiffness and decrease in flexibility. Keeping your old horse out in the field where he can walk about will have a good effect on his general health.
Anything that helps keep your horse moving, will help him in his later years. Such as encouraging him to stretch using carrot stretches, or baited stretches. Equally massage will encourage the muscles to work better, and is an enjoyable way to spend time with horse when riding him may no longer be an option.
Make sure that you check with your vet about what to feed your older horse. Older horses have different dietary requirements, be wary of over-marketed wonder feeds – remember there is no cure for old age, all you can do is help your old horse to be as comfortable as possible in his final years.
Regular visits from a physio, an equine dentist, a farrier will help to keep him in comfort. Speak to your trusted professionals for advice on how to make your older horse comfortable, as he his needs will differ from your younger horses.
This is your chance to reward him for the years of pleasure you have had.
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