What To Do With An Old Horse?

It can be a sad time for a horse owner as your horse gets older and it is time for them to slow down. It is not all bad though they can still enjoy themselves you can still bring them out of retirement once in a while. They will be living the good life and will have you to thank for it.

old retired horse

So what can you do with an old horse? You might not have many options but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple good ones. The best thing for a horse is to not be alone so having for a companion horse is always an option. You can also maybe have them only be ridden by little kids since they are much lighter. 

When To Retire A Horse?

This is probably the hardest decision and it doesn’t have to be abrupt or done overnight. You should if possible try to retire them slowly by cutting them back over time.

Its just like with a habit and quitting cold turkey and can have a negative effect on that horse. They will get depressed and with depression comes bad health and losing weight.

So make sure you talk to your vet get a checkup to see what they have to say. If you are involved in competitions a lot of times you can ride two different horses and this is a great way to get a new horse acclimated to the show environment.

Even though a horse is old it doesn’t always mean you can use them from time to time. Just make sure you keep up with their workouts maybe limiting them some if their joints are having some issues.

Increase their supplements, provide higher quality hay, change their feed and you will be surprised at how much better they can look and feel.

Riding horses in competitions in their late 20’s is not unheard and happens more frequently then you would think.

Your horse should always have a place no matter what they are capable of doing as this is the commitment you make when buying a horse. If you need to get rid of them look for a great home they can go to. Companion horses still live a great life and enjoy being out grazing. They are herd animals so they need to be with other horses if possible.

Related Questions

What’s Old For A Horse?

This question has a lot of answers but the overall average for a horse being old is at around 15+ years. There are so many factors to this number though and we will discuss a few. How many miles are on a horse?

I have seen horses that have little to no miles on them and are pasture companion horses at 27 years old that look younger than most 10-year-olds. Also seen 10-year-old race horses that have not aged well and their legs and joints are just beaten up.

How Old Is A 28 Year Old Horse In Human Years?

A horse that is 28 years old is 80 years in human years.

What Should I Feed My Senior Horse?

There is no set age on when a horse becomes a senior but around 15+ years is the average. Normal forage should be okay as long as their teeth are okay. Senior grain or pellets should be great just make sure there are limited amounts of starch and sugar.

Feed should contain 12-14% crude protein and fat 5-10%. The fiber should also be around 16-18%. The higher percentage ratios are due to older horses not being able to process nutrients as efficiently. Pelleted forms are also easier for seniors to chew so that will probably be the best option.

You can also add a probiotic supplement powder to their feed to help support their digestive system. Most older horses will still be able to eat hay just make sure the hay is high quality to help support their balanced diet.

If they have problems chewing or aren’t eating as much hay make sure you give more then one feeding of the pellets and maybe also supplement with hay or alfalfa cubes soaked in hot water. This is easier for them to chew and digest as well.

Why Do Older Horses Lose Weight?

When horses age they become less efficient at absorbing nutrients from hay and feed. This is why you need to change their diets as they age. They may also not be eating as much hay or grass due to bad teeth so have a vet come out and check if needed.

There are many options to help them maintain and gain weight. That is having a vet come to assess the situation first. Most common steps are to get teeth floated, switch to senior feed, introduce alfalfa cubes, higher quality hay, and an additional supplement weight gainer.

What Is An Old Horse Called?

An older horse is usually referred to as an “Aged” horse. Other terms would be older gelding, older stallion, or older mare.

How Old Should A Horse Be Ridden?

This will be on a case by case situation and probably should be left up to your vet to make the final decision. But in general horses are fine to be ridden as normal up to 15 years of age. At that time you may need to look closer at their diet and the wake the walk along with other things that might be out of the ordinary.

Keep up with your horses exercise as much as possible so they can maintain being in good shape throughout their years. You may need to slow down a bit on their routine or at least cut it shorter. Also will have to look into more supplements like omegga-3 fatty acids to help with their joints as they age. We have ridden horses into their late 20’s and they thoroughly enjoy every minute of it.

The difference is you just can’t push them like you used to. And when they are younger you can get away with a lot of things at times like not doing a cool down. Make sure you have a routine and stick to it so they can recover much easier.

They will tell you when they can’t ride anymore in the way they move and your vet will help make that decision.

Is 15 Year Old Horse old?

A Horse being 15 doesn’t necessarily mean they are old. This is the general age a horse becomes a senior, but it varies from horse to horse on when they get old. A lot of it has to do with the amount of miles they have put on.


I have owned over 50 horses and currently own a small horse farm with 8 horses. I have competed on and off for over 25 years while doing mostly trail riding and cow sorting these days. I write these articles to help anyone out there if you love this article pin it to your Pinterest or Share on other social media platform. Thanks for visiting.

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