Horse Care Hints & Tips
Getting a mature horse
In this Section:
+ Why opt for a mature horse?
Older horses are a good choice for first time owners, they tend to have more 'life experience' and be calmer and less easily fazed. You as an owner can then concentrate on developing the horse's skills. Older horses will more than likely have received training when they were younger, and so should be easier to ride and be more relaxed. However, the care regime will still be very similar as will the costs of owning a horse, whatever age they are.
As a horse gets older it is more likely that it will lose its condition more easily, their diet will need to be changed to ensure that they are getting the maximum goodness from their food.
Regular exercise is important for a horse of any age, as it is essential for maintaining the animal's physical and mental well being. Older horses will benefit from being turned out daily; the exercise will help improve their circulation which in turn can promote healing. Good ventilation in the stable is essential as older horses have a less effective immune system and are therefore more likely to pick up infections or viruses.
Ensure you allow time each week to spend some quality time with your horse, as most horses enjoy regular human contact. This is especially important if they have recently retired from work, as they will have been taken out of the routine they have been used to for years, and will require additional attention and consideration. Older horses will benefit more from grooming; as the horse gets older they often have longer and thicker coats which are more susceptible to becoming dirty and matted.
Some older horses may have special needs that have resulted naturally from their ageing. Make sure you have a suitable care regime in place and a regular check by a veterinary surgeon about once a year.
+ Protecting against the unforeseen
Whilst owning an older horse can be a great deal of fun, trying to find the money to pay an unexpected vet's bill is not so pleasurable. Some horse insurance companies also offer cover for mature horses; these are sometimes special policies aimed at older horses.
You may find that once your horse is past a certain age then they will need to be on a mature horse plan. This can sometimes mean that the cover will differ from the younger horse policy, as well as the premium changing in your favour! It is important to check the vet's bills section of cover to ensure that everything you need would be covered if something were to happen. Different companies will have different levels of cover for older horses, and you may even be able to pick and choose which sections of cover you require.
It is always important to read the small print when looking for a suitable insurance policy for you and your mature horse. Make sure you obtain a few quotes and research the cover provided to ensure you have sufficient cover.