Should You Retire Your Horse?

Is your senior horse telling you it's time to retire? This excerpt from the book Hands-On Senior Horse Care gives you some signs to look for.

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 or call 1-800-952-5813.

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