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Re: [RC] Old horses - Beth Walker

My experience is with my previous horse. ?I "retired" him from endurance at about age 10 when he strained both front suspensories. ? I did mostly arena work with him for the next 12 years. ?When he was 23 (and I had a much better horseshoer) I started riding him back on trail -- just pleasure riding, starting at a walk. ?The more I did, the better his arthritis got and the better he seemed to feel. ? Just before his 25th birthday, when we were routinely doing 10 and 15 mile "pleasure" rides, with lots of trot and canter, I entered a 15-mile "fun ride", and he did so well, I decided to keep up his conditioning program. ?That January, I entered a 25 miler on my 25 year old horse, and he completed in very good shape at about 5 1/2 hours. ?(Unfortunately, I lost him the following month when he got kicked by another horse on a group ride, which broke his leg.)

For my conditioning -- I did about the same as you say you plan to do. ?I worked him up (over a 2 year period) to 15 and 20 miles in training so that he only had an extra 5 miles to go above what he was already used to. ?I have to say - those last two years were some of the best riding years I ever had with him. ?He was finally old enough to be sensible :), and was happy to be getting out and about. ?I was always reassured on those times when, at the end of a training ride, he wanted to go back out rather than back to the trailer!

I would not have asked him to do more than a 25, because that seemed to be about his limit. ?Other horses might be able to do more. ?

On Jul 30, 2007, at 8:20 AM, SandyDSA@xxxxxxx wrote:

I have a question for those who ride the senior citizens - I had READ that a 26 year old was doing Tevis. If true, how did this horse fare? Also, we have our 22 year old stallion and 21 year old mare who have a few miles of distance over the years - oh probably a few hundred each...and they SEEM to be fitting back up, and given the health issues especially on our stallion over the years, I am really surprised, and of course cautious - and wanted to ask how many people are competing over 20 horses, how they are doing, and especially from anyone who has an older horse who has had suspensory, cardiac or other major issues in the past - and how they have come back.
Before anyone gets all wiggy over riding older horses who have had trouble :), frankly, I am so happily surprised that both of these oldsters are coming along well - BUT...they will ONLY be asked to do what they are willing to do and if they fit up to 2 miles less than they need for a?competition they will not compete? ; that said, these are two horses who LOVE the trail and the event, and if they are able I know they will be willing. Right now, either one could do a moderate 25 - we will see where they go from here.
Sandy Adams
Deep Sands Arabians

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[RC] Old horses, SandyDSA