Senior Horse Comfort – Mind, Body, and Soul

Your senior horse has given you his all - repay his efforts by keeping him comfortable in all aspects of his life.

This article is part of our Comfort Awareness Campaign brought to you by Bute-Less.

Ensuring the comfort of our senior horse surpasses routine concerns – it stands as a profound dedication to respecting the chapters he’s co-authored alongside us. The basic fundamentals of senior horse care lay the groundwork to keeping him healthy and happy. Things like specialized feed, appropriate exercise, and paying close attention to dental health are all important parts of ensuring his comfort. Here are a few other simple ways to look after your cherished senior – mind, body, and soul.

We owe it to our senior horse to do our best to keep him comfortable in all aspects of his life. Nigel Baker/adobe.stock.com

Mind

The importance of equine friendships plays an important role in keeping your senior’s spirits high. He doesn’t need to be in with a large herd to be happy. In fact, in some cases this could mean he has to fight for food, which isn’t advisable. But, having a friend or two around for your senior to interact with, will keep his spirits up. A lonely horse is an unhappy horse. Let your senior horse interact with herd mates to support his mental well-being.

Transitioning from full-time work to retirement can be a shock to the system. He might find himself bored, standing around and not being as active. Keeping his mind stimulated will help him age gracefully. Offer horse-appropriate toys or utilize a slow feeder to replicate grazing if he’s confined to a dry lot. Do groundwork, or other simple activities that require him to utilize a mind-body connection.

Body

Depending on his activity level, your senior might need a little extra support in the comfort department. Aside from gentle exercise to keep him from becoming stiff and sore explore other methods to keep him comfortable. This can include acupuncture, equine massage, and bodywork.

If you have a trusted equine chiropractor, have them take a look at your senior horse regularly to check for pain. Keep an eye on his movement, gait, and body condition, and contact your veterinarian if you notice sudden changes. Check out natural alternatives to pain medicine, that include herbal ingredients like Devils Claw and Yucca. If your senior is battling discomfort, a supplement that is gentle on the stomach and supports comfortable movement can keep him feeling good. Furthermore, opt for something formulated for daily use.

[What’s the deal with Devil’s Claw?]

Soul

Sometimes a senior horse heads into retirement and has trouble adjusting. If he’s used to being the go-to horse, he might struggle with being left behind when you saddle up without him.

If your schedule is hectic with working younger horses, staying on top of chores, and just everyday life, time spent with your senior might be limited. Offering him a smooch on the nose as you pass by is great, however it might not provide him with the interaction he needs.

If your senior horse struggles with adapting to retirement, you might observe this as you bring out other horses to ride and he remains alone. You might notice him pacing the fence, calling out, or acting anxious. Depending on his condition and health, ride him routinely to keep him in shape. If riding is not feasible, try hand grazing or slowly ponying him behind another horse. Anything to keep him moving and let him know he hasn’t been forgotten. Pull him out for grooming sessions or spend some quality time in his pen. However, you go about it, ensure he is getting routine and consistent attention.

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