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ELIZABETH MOYER, EDITOR
The great news is that horses can live longer and better lives than ever, thanks to advances in nutrition and care. But as they say, old age isn’t for sissies. A little extra attention makes all the difference to keep our senior horses going strong. And after a lifetime of service and companionship, we owe it to them.
❚ Is it time for a different job, perhaps one that’s less demanding? Keep an
eye on attitude as well as your horse’s physical response and performance.
❚ Is he holding his weight? Regular dental exams are important for the older
horse, as well as an appropriate diet. Keep close tabs on weight and adjust
feed as needed to maintain a healthy body condition.
❚ Is he comfortable? Arthritis comes with aging and can be painful. Talk to
your vet about the various options to manage it.
❚ Watch out for bullying. An older horse may drop down in the herd pecking
order. (Find out more about herd hierarchy on page 24.)
❚ Protection from the elements. Your oldie may be more sensitive to the cold
and wet, and need a little extra help to stay warm this winter.
Cushing’s disease, or pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), is common in older horses. Horse owners often fear this disease, but it’s actually quite
manageable with medication. It’s far more dangerous to ignore it: PPID horses
are susceptible to laminitis and infections. Turn to page 40 for the truth about
Cushing’s disease and what you need to know about it.
Senior horses are a treasure. For all that’s to love about the golden years, read
Anna O’Brien’s moving tribute in this issue. Seniors do indeed rule—see page 46.