Here are signs that he’s ready to cut back–or perhaps stop entirely.
- A pattern of reduced vitality, such as a consistent series of “off” days.
- Chronic lameness that worsens with work.
- Lack of enthusiasm for work and activities that formerly interested him.
- Swaying as you mount, indicating weakness and/or loss of balance.
- Stumbling on smooth footing, or other signs of reduced coordination.When and if the time comes, arrange to turn him out with one or two friendly companions in a pasture featuring reasonable forage, shelter, and a clean water supply. That way, he can exercise himself, but won’t push himself beyond his capacity. If he’s a people-oriented horse who doesn’t do well without work or attention, and your vet okays the decision based on your horse’s condition, consider donating him to a reputable handicapped riding program. The work will be light–with a heavy dose of supervised attention. This article is an excerpt from Hands-On Senior Horse Care, published by Equine Network.To order Hands-On Senior Horse Care, visit HorseBooksEtc.com or call 1-800-952-5813.