Elderly Horse Care
It has, in the past, been mistakenly thought that old horses will, by definition be poor, and that this is acceptable. We, at Remus along with our team of experts in feed, dentition and holistic care believe otherwise and the Sanctuary’s own animals are a testament to this thinking, Buttons (black pony) pictured left was 54 years old when she died. Shayne the liver chestnut pictured top left died aged 52 and was at the time of his death believed to be the oldest horse in the world. Both Buttons and Shayne remained well covered, healthy and enjoyed life going out in the paddocks every day up to the day they died. Orchid, aged 50 in 2014 is pictured bottom left.
“We want to openly challenge the old adage that old horse equals skinny horse. With the correct understanding and effort there is often no reason for an old horse to be thin based on age alone” says Sue Burton, Sanctuary Founder.
The Sanctuary launched its Elderly Horse Awareness Campaign on March 31st 2007 at Ingatestone Hall, with the kind support of Lord Petre, with a well attended seminar aimed to give advice and help on the many different aspects of caring for an elderly horse.
The Seminar received support from Jenny Pitman OBE who stated:
“As horses and ponies get older it is exceedingly important to be aware of their changing needs in particular their teeth, diet, stabling and general health care. It is essential to raise awareness regarding the care of elderly horses and ponies
to ensure that these faithful servants get the very best of care and attention in their old age.”
The Elderly Horse Awareness Campaign has received backing from Vets, nutritionists, actors and actresses, the Laminitis Trust and feed companies.
Sadly at the Sanctuary we deal with many old horses each year that are in a terrible condition even though their owners care for them and love them. We dealt with Prince a lovely pony who died within days of us taking him in having found him in a field rugged up and with food but emaciated, riddled with worms, covered in lice, and a huge tooth abscess . His owner loved him but was not aware that despite feeding him he was quidding most of it back out and unaware that as he got older his teeth needed more treatment. Out of Prince’s suffering was born the Elderly Horse Awareness Campaign.
General health of the elderly horse is extremely important as it is directly related to quality of life. Horses and ponies are now living longer largely due to the better general healthcare given by owners and an improvement in the standard of veterinary treatment. Late teens used to be considered old but now many horses live and often work or even compete well into their twenties and longer! It is very important that this care is extended into old age where there is, as with elderly people, an increase in health problems. The mental health (attitude, demeanour and behaviour) of the horse is very important when assessing general health- it is important that they are still enjoying their lives.
The Sanctuary has put together with the experts in their field a booklet on Caring for the Older Horse which is available from the Sanctuary for just £2.99 plus p&p.
We also run Elderly Horse Workshops during the year – contact the Sanctuary for more information visit the Events page to find out more.
If you need any help or advice with your elderly horse please do get in touch and we will do our best to help or point you in the right direction.