Caring for Old Horses

With proper care, senior horses can prosper. Here are a few points to consider.

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caring for old horses
Allow as much paddock turnout as possible for horses with arthritis. Horses that self-exercise, or are allowed to keep moving at their own pace, can have less osteoarthritis-associated pain than those that stand still more frequently, such as those kept primarily in stalls. | Photo: iStock

By Ceara Suther, DVM

The horse’s average lifespan has increased over the years. Improved veterinary medicine, a better understanding of care, and the role of horses as pasture pets are some of the factors that allow horses to live past 20 and even 30 years of age.

Older horses, however, need proper care and management so they remain comfortable. Common conditions that affect the well-being of older horses include osteoarthritis, dental abnormalities, and weight loss or gain.


Osteoarthritis is pain in the joints from a degenerative inflammatory process. While arthritis is not reversible, veterinarians can treat the pain and decrease the disease’s effects on the horse’s lifestyle

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