How Often Should You Ride an Older Horse?

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Knowing how much you should ride an older horse depends on many various factors. However, it is the health of the horse that we must monitor and check.

 Horses with injured backs and legs should no longer be ridden, no matter how much they’ve done so in the past.

How to Know if Your Horse Is Older?

First, we must establish if the horse that you own or take care of is older. As a rule of thumb, the age of seniority for most horses and horse breeds begin when they’re 18 years old. This is what horse veterinarians agree on. But of course, the age of seniority begins in horses on different years, depending on their breeds. As another, the smaller the horse is, the more likely it will live a longer life. Clydesdale horses live to about 25 years of age in human years, but miniature horses can live up to 40 years.

If you are unsure of your horse’s age, then you can have a veterinarian check their teeth. When a veterinarian is checking the age of a horse in their teeth, they are looking for three different factors. First, seriously look at the wear and tear of a horse’s teeth.

Second, they are checking the slope of a horse’s teeth. When horses are goals, they don’t have much of a slope. Their teeth are very short. Horses’ teeth, if they are cared for correctly, continue to grow and elongate.

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Lastly, the teeth of an 18-year-old senior horse are far longer and more slopped than those of a foal. Also, the incisor teeth of a horse will become more round.

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What to Know About Riding an Older Horse

To preserve the health of a senior horse, there are several rules that you have to follow if you wish to write it. You can continue to ride your horse well into its senior days. But you implement these rules that preserve the back and muscle health of your senior horse.

First, you must care about the back health of your horse. The first thing you should do when your horse is a senior is to get them checked out. You must watch out for any signs of laminitis, or arthritis, or rider’s back. 

You must also reduce the amount that you ride your horse in the heat. Because of their strength and power, horses use a lot of muscle when ridden in the heat. So, when you have a senior horse, you should not be riding them during the hottest part of the day. They could dehydrate too quickly and then not be able to ingest water after they have been ridden.

Older horses tire more often, so it might take longer for them to graze for the same amount of food. If a horse doesn’t graze enough, they will lose weight and start suffering from nutritional deficiencies. If you notice that your horse is taking longer to eat and has started losing weight, you will have to add more fats to their diet to get the calories they need. Do not add more grains.

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Implementing these riding measures does not have to come all at once right when they turn 18. However, they are factors that you must start considering as they reach into their old age.

When you go to ride your senior horse, you should not ride them in difficult to walk terrain. Keep the area that they walk on level and free of obstacles. As well, do not force your horse to run in a full gallop. This does not mean that you cannot make a horse jog or go a little faster, but you must preserve your horse’s legs and back. So, you should not ride them too hard, especially when there is a human on their backs.

After you have a writing session with your senior horse, give them extra time to rest and recover. You usually need to give them an extra day or two. You may need to brush their backs more often and rub out their muscles.

It would also greatly help the horse if you lost any weight that you had on that was extra. Losing 40 to 50 lb off of your body would be so helpful to your horse. It would be able to go longer and be less tired after riding sessions.

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Signs That You Cannot Ride a Horse

There will come a day when horses can no longer support the weight of a rider.

First, if your horse has an injury that is debilitating and no longer getting better, then it is time for them to stop supporting riders. If they have laminitis, a severe leg injury, or back arthritis that is severely inflamed, all these conditions can make riding a painful and impossible task.

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Second, if your horse’s attitude and demeanor has changed for the worse, and they are more grumpy and lash out. You do not want to ride a horse that is easily irritable and doesn’t like people sitting on its back anymore. The horse could buck out and send their rider flying. However, this attitude adjustment could be the sign of internal pain from the horse, so you must get them checked out.

If your horse has been through malnutrition much of its life or at the hands of an abuser, then it’s riding days are over. Horses that have been mistreated and uncared for likely have developed diseases and conditions that they need to be strictly monitored. This is especially concerning when you think of the horses that are forced to work long hours in carnivals and pony shows.


  • A variety of factors will affect senior horse riding ability.
  • If a senior horse is malnourished, it should not be ridden.
  • Older horses are likely to lose weight because they tire easily. They will need more fats in their diet.
  • A horse’s rider losing excess will help the horse sustain you for a longer time.
  • You can calculate the age of a horse depending on the state of their teeth and the slope of their incisors.
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