When Should I Retire My Horse From Riding?

Dr. Howland Mansfield describes signs a horse is ready to retire from riding, ranging from mild work intolerance to lameness.

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Methodologies for Assessing Horses' Quality of Life Needed
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Each horse is unique and will be ready for a step-down career or retirement on an individual basis. Dr. Howland Mansfield of American Regent Animal Health, who is based in South Carolina, describes what signs owners should look for when deciding if their senior horses are no longer comfortable in riding careers. 

This podcast is an excerpt of our Ask TheHorse Live Q&A, “Maintaining Senior Horse Joints.” Listen to the full recording here.

About the Expert

Howland M. Mansfield, DVM, CVA, CVMMP

Howland Mansfield, DVM, CVA, CVMMP

Howland M. Mansfield, DVM, CVA, CVMMP, of Summerville, South Carolina, received her DVM from Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine, in Alabama, and completed internships in both general equine medicine and surgery and in advanced equine reproduction. She is certified in both veterinary acupuncture and veterinary medical manipulation. She has practiced along the East Coast over the course of 14 years, in addition to time in Germany providing veterinary care for some of the most elite show horses in Europe. In 2012 Mansfield was named by the South Carolina Horseman’s Council as the Horse Person of the Year for her efforts in equine rescue and in combating animal cruelty. She joined American Regent in 2023 as a technical services veterinarian where she can support the welfare of and improve health care for horses and small animals throughout the U.S.  


Written by:

Haylie Kerstetter, Digital Editor, holds a degree in equine studies with a concentration in communications and a minor in social media marketing. She is a Pennsylvania native and, as a horse owner herself, has a passion for helping owners provide the best care for their horses. When she is not writing or in the barn, she is spending time with her dog, Clementine.

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