My mare turned 19 this year. I bought her as a three-year-old, and she is still as sound as the day she arrived at my barn. She is an enthusiastic saddle partner on the flat and over fences, and I expect that we still have several competitive years together. She has had her share of injuries over the years, but with careful rehabilitation and conditioning, she is still a sound riding horse.
Many other older horses are not so lucky. They face a variety of soundness issues or lose condition and never regain it. Without careful monitoring, older horses can go downhill quickly. Daily monitoring allows you to address any health or soundness concerns quickly. These are the points I evaluate in all my horses – especially my older ones – to keep them active and healthy.
The groundhog says that this year will see an early spring, so that means that riding season starts soon! If your horse has had the winter off, he may need some supplements with his feed along with the Eight Week Plan to Condition Your Horse to get back to his best riding condition. These are the four supplements your horse needs to look and feel his best this spring.
At my Tucson horse boarding facility, I can ride year-round, but I spent 16 years in the frozen white North of Montana, and I know how excited I was to start riding again after the snow was off the ground (in April…or May…or June). While it’s tempting to jump right into event-specific training, after a long break your horse needs conditioning to reach his peak fitness level, whether you are competing or riding for pleasure. Taking the time to properly condition your horse is your best prevention against injuries and creates a fit, willing partner for your riding season (bonus: you get fit as well!)
This is the fitness plan I used each Spring with my horses for eight weeks before we start working on the skills we need in the show ring.
When Okie was younger, she was a very easy keeper. Now, she is 19 and I notice that she cannot maintain her body weight on her old diet. She does not quite fall into the “hard keeper” category yet, but her dietary needs have definitely changed.
Feeding a hard keeper is very different than feeding the easy keeper. Every horse is an individual and needs his diet tailored to his specific needs, but these guidelines will help you create a plan to get your horse back to a healthy weight.
My two mares have middle-of-the-road metabolisms. They are not easy keepers, but they maintain good body condition with quality hay and grain. My Tucson horse boarding facility recently welcomed a new boarder who definitely falls into the easy keeper category, so his owner and I are coming up with a nutrition plan that will help him lose the extra weight while getting fit and healthy.
Feeding any easy keeper is very different than feeding a hard keeper. If you have an easy keeper, these tips will help your horse lose the extra weight while meeting his protein, mineral, and vitamin requirements for optimal health.
If you board horses on your property, should you require new boarders to have a valid Health Certificate and negative Coggins Tests? Does it matter if they move from within the same county, out of county, or out of state?
These are all questions I had to consider when I opened my Tucson horse boarding facility earlier this year. I have to protect the horses who already live on my property, but I don’t want to make my requirements so stringent that no one wants to bring their horse here. This is what I currently require, and how I reached that decision.
Five Steps to Healthier Hooves
Since ancient Roman times, equestrians have understood the importance of maintaining healthy hooves for their horses. Unhealthy or unbalanced hooves cause strain on the leg joints and ligaments, which can lead to more severe problems.
Quality hoof care year-round is the foundation for keeping your horse sound and comfortable. Your farrier and vet are excellent resources for creating a hoof-care plan that best fits your horse, but you are responsible for the day-to-day implementation. These five easy steps will improve your horse’s hoof health and keep him sound.
Does My Horse Need a Joint Supplement? And Why Your Current Joint Supplement Isn't Working
Your horse is an athlete, and as he ages, his joints start to show signs of wear-and-tear. Joint supplements promise to keep your horse active and feeling his best, but many do not deliver the results that owners expect.
Three Front End Stretches to Reduce Your Horse's Shoulder Stiffness and Increase Performance
Whether your horse is a quiet trail companion or a high-energy competitor, just like a human athlete, he needs regular stretching sessions to perform his best. Stretching increases elasticity and suppleness, which reduces the risk of injury. It also reduces inflammation and increases circulation.
Welcome! I've been a freelance writer since 2002 and have numerous horse-related articles published in print and online publications. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Rocky Mountain College with a major in Equestrian Studies and a minor in Business Management. My current business ventures include High Plains Arena and real estate investing.