HI Spy: Share Your Senior Horse Stories


    Senior horseLook into the eyes of a young horse and you’ll probably notice a bright, curious expression. Greenies have so much to learn about life and they have no idea of what awaits them. When you look into the eyes of an aged, older horse, however, their wisdom is apparent. Equine senior citizens have seen a great deal. Some spent a stint on the racetrack. Others have resumes that include decades on the show circuit or multiple seasons working tirelessly on a ranch. These life experiences make an older horse valuable. They have years of training, an asset to novice or nervous riders. Yet even equestrians with advanced riding skills appreciate an older horse. Sometimes it’s wonderful to hop on and simply enjoy a pleasant ride on a finely schooled horse.

    Older horses have other endearing qualities. They tend to have well-developed personalities that make them memorable characters. Their quirky mannerisms can make them the favorite of the stable. Though they might be a little bit creaky in their joints they still have a spring in their step when it’s time to go for a ride, head for a turnout or dunk their muzzle into a bucket of carrots.

    Most horse lovers have enjoyed at least one relationship with a senior horse. For this installment of HI Spy we want to know the important role an older horse has played in your life. Did you take lessons on a show ring veteran who found a second career as a school horse? Was your first horse an elderly equine that patiently introduced you to the world of horses? Do you recall a gentle old soul who gave you back your confidence? Is your lifelong four-legged partner enjoying his or her golden years in your care? Share your favorite story that will let everyone know the benefits of being friends with an older horse. Just click Submit a Comment below. Some of the responses may appear in Horse Illustrated.

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    1. we have a VERY old pony at our barn named willy(aka:the wonder pony!).thou willys 40 hes still packing little kids around on his back and doing pony parties of twenty kids happily.my instuctor told me that when she was little she used to jump him bareback!hes given a lot of kids confidence and is curenttly teaching a 3 yr old how to ride.so heres to wee willy wonka the wonder pony!!!!

    2. I adopted a wise old horse from an even wise old cowboy. Our story started on top of a mountain ridge in WV. I wanted to adopt, rather than buy a horse because I had been involved in dog rescue for so many years. I just thought it was the right thing to do. I had selected a beautiful X-race horse that was said to be safe and have a good personality. When I went to meet her she did indeed have a good personality, but a bit pushy in the saddle. I rode her up to a neighboring barn where they had a tack store and we decided to fit her with a saddle and bridle and take her home, or so I thought… Well the wise cowboy had ridden a very plain, yet odd looking older horse to the barn as well. He suggested I ride him back to the other barn, while my husaband rides the mare we had picked out. I agreed only because it was better riding a horse was always better than riding in the truck! I took another look at this plain sorrel gelding, and still was not impressed and was a bit disturbed by the way he hung his tongue out when you rode him. I mounted up and rode him back to the other barn. Wow! This strangly odd, plain sorrel, gelding had ransformed into a beautiful copper colored sorrel with a dream gait right under my seat! I was totally in love! When i arrived at the barn I announced he was going home with me! That was to be one of the best decisions I ever made about a horse. Blaze became my partner. He gave me confidence in the saddle and taught me to trust. Now after years of trail riding he is retired to children only. We now use him to help kids in the 4H horse club to become trusting of horses and respectful. He is a favorite in local parades and a beloved member of 4H. He has also taught both my girls to ride as well. Now well in his 20’s Blaze is a permanate fixture in the barn. We can never repay him for what he has taught so many, but I promise he will be loved and taken care of for the rest of his life. I have learned, “Never judge a book by it’s cover, or a horse with his tongue hanging out!”

    3. I got my first horse at age 21. Mac was a 21-year-old Paint gelding. We spend five great years roaming over every piece of undeveloped land we could find in our home area. He taught me to have confidence in myself and in my horse and at times, I felt that I learned more from him than I did from my instructor. I’ve since moved on to a younger gelding, who is quite wonderful in his own way, and Mac is enjoying his retirement in my backyard.

    4. My daughter’s senior citizen horse Lovey gave me back my self confidencein riding after having had a really bad accident from a horse we were going to buy before we got Lovey. He may be 22 but he knows how to act with whoever is on his back and knows when to take care of you and when to “show off”. I wouldn’t give him up for all the money in the world.

    5. A friend heard that we were looking for a horse for our daughter to learn to ride on. Boy he couldn’t have done better!!! Big John (and he really is a big boy-probably 16 or 16.5h) helped her learn to ride, care and most important to recognize the importance of the bond between a rider and horse. She learned to trust him no matter where they were going! At 31 (that’s right, I said 31) he would watch out for her and he looked for her everyday after school! I couldn’t have asked for a better friend for her. He gave her the confidence she needed and made her believe in herself. I didn’t have to worry about him getting spooked or having an off day – he was the same EVERY day! Even though he has moved on to teach another girl how to ride, we still have to ask about him and check to make sure he is doing good! She has learned to be a confident, safe, responsible rider on her “new” horse because Big John was such a great teacher!! You can see his picture on the site here.

    6. I have ridden senior equines in the past but the most memorable were the two I got the chance to work with this summer. I worked at a camp for people with disabilities and the two seniors I got to work with were the two of the most frustrating and amazing horses ever. They would both give me heaps of attitude about working but once they had a camper on their backs they turned into saints. I had campers who sang at the top of their lungs, campers who would wiggle around in the saddle, I have had to ride double with campers who couldn’t support themselves, and never once did I have a problem with my two senior citizens. These two horses gave campers the opportunity to ride who may have never gotten the chance to outside of this camp.

    7. I am sure I fit the profile of many middle-aged recreational riders returning to the saddle, renewing a childhood love affair with horses. My relationship with my 20 yr old senior Appaloosa, Sky has empowered me. I am learning, relearning and finding out I can do more. My senior horse is my tolerant soft-eyed companion.

    8. I am 13 and a bad speller so sorry if the spelling is off. I go trail riding all the time with my friend tabby and shes just lerning to ride. I have a crazy 5 year old little less than green haffliner mare named Eri that likes to take off with you and drink iced tea,and a calm 17 year old quarter horse/arab/thoroughbred cross named Charley that likes to jump and galop. I was riding Eri the bucking bronco and Tab was on Charley. We went up behind her house (where naighbors). We came on a part of the trail that was to muddy (with all the rain we had in NH) to continue so we found a diffrent trail and ended up turning what was supposed to be a hour ride into a 6 hour ride. Eri was etting borred but Charley was still happy to continue leading us home.
      I have rinden manny senior horses but Charley has to be the best off them he has tought me so manny things i cant start to count them all.

    9. My horse’s nickname is Shorts, and he is 23 years old. I lease him from a wonderful woman, who loves him even more than I. Shortie is my bud. He loves me so much in the year we’ve been together that he follows me around like a pup, allows me to put my hands in his mouth to look at his teeth, and get on on his off side. He also shifts his weight to get under me when he feels that I’m falling off. He’s very laid-back but when asked to he’ll act like he’s a six year old again, he gallops around the arena without a care in the world. He’s helped me so much by being patient, willing, with a sparkle of michief. He’s been the best horse I’ve ever worked with, and the first horse I’ve been able to call my own. I love him so much!!!

    10. The horse I ride now and have been riding for about 16 months now is an older horse who has taught me so much. I was a just starting to learn the hunter course when I found this lovly horse. He has perfected my half-seat and my sitting trot. and when i do something wrong he always fixes it because he understands that riders make mistakes. He also appericates when someone just comes out and take him for a walk or out to garze. I love him so much.

    11. At the therapeautic riding center where i volunteer, there is a 22 year old horse who is perfect for just about anyone. He will do anything, and is often used for a child’s first canter. We all love him.

    12. My senoir mare, Cloudy Indian, is a great teacher. She is an old broodmare that is the wisest mind I know. I’ve only ridden her a few times because of her back, but I’ve had plenty of lessons from her on the ground. Whenever something goes wrong, she gives me a look that says “Suck it up and get over it. Let’s try again, and this time you do it right.” To say the very least, she is patient, but makes me want to learn and improve my horsmanship skills. Cloudy is like the “horse-y” mom I’ve never had!

    13. My horse Logan is a 19 year old Thoroughbred. I’ve had him for almost three years and he has taught me almost everything I know. He has taken me from terrified of crossrails to jumping 3’3″ bareback without any fear. Logan is an amazing animal – he is patient and hardworking, and we have an amazing bond that can’t be broken. He means everything to me.

    14. Yes, I’ve had a senior citizen horse. She was my first horse an AQH mare named Harley. But unlike most old horses she still hada lot of spunk left in here we got her when she was 18. We just sold her this year she will turn 21 on September 1st. I loved that horse. She was strongheaded. She taught me how to have confidence on a horse, how to be “the boss”. I’ll miss her.

    15. I was forever touched by an elderly equine named Loverboy who was a dressage champion. Bombproof, kind, gentle and the best horse for me to regain my confidence on after several accidents. One day I proudly stepped into the warmblood’s stirrup. I never left that saddle in my mind. Whenever we go for a little gallop I’m comforted by his steady, yeah I-can-do-this attitude. Before I got on Loverboy it was a big deal to trot! Now we can walk, trot, canter, gallop and we’re starting to jump! If there was anything wonderful I could say about Loverboy it’s that he gave me the self-assurance I used to lack.

    16. My friend has a 24 year old shetland pony that she is selling because she doesn’t what to see her die, it’s too hard for her to bare. Sugar taught me alot about riding, like to dismount when the saddle pad is slipping off or you’l get bucked off! It’s sad to see he rgo, but she’ll always have a place in my heart.

    17. We had a 35 year old bay saddle bred at our barn. Unfortunally, he had pasted. Twist and his owner had a life long bond. Twist was blind and let no one near him. But when Sue was there Twist trusted evreyone. Sue was the one who bred Twist, took care of him, loved him all 35 years of her life. It had to be so hard for her to take on the responsibility to own a horse that was 35 and blind. but some how she did it her and Pepper Mint Twist.

    18. we just put down our twenty six year old mare in may. She was a wonderful friend and she taught me a lot. I miss her so much! She was my gelding’s best bud they had been together for fourteen years.

    19. When I was younger, We had a home show at our barn. I was on my 21 year old leased Arabian mare, Musseta Rose, affectionately known as Muzzie. We were entered in the High jump. The natural underdog, I was twelve at the time and and Muzzie was 14.2 hh, while we were up against warmbloods with sixteen year olds on them. I had never in my life jumped over 3′, but we were up to the challenge. We slowly progressed, until there was only 4 kids left. I had no idea how big the oxer was, but Muzzie sure did. We jumped without touching the rail. My trainer motioned me over from the fence and said, “You just jumped 4′.” Then he padded over to the steward and withdrew me form the class. He told me it was for Muzzie’s sake that we quit there. I’ll never forget that tiny horse with such a big heart. I wouldn’t be the rider I am today if it wasn’t for her.

    20. I have a 24 year old Appaloosa. She has taught me so much. She is the first horse that I’ve been bucked off of, learned to lunge, and learned just about everything I know about riding horses I have learned from my mare. No words can express my gratitude toward her. Thanks!!

    21. My 25 year old mare Fancy is the first horse to ever come into my life! But she will be in my heart for ever! She is the first horse that scared me, trusted me, and loved me! But after all these things come the best thing ever, SHE IS MINE!! And i love her dearly!

    22. my Morgan gelding never had a chance to get really old. He was only about 17 when he died from a heart attach but he was like the others that I have read about here. A great horse that let me learn to ride on him and was my dream horse. I will always miss him and haven’t been able to feel the same way with any of the other 5 horses I have. I miss you Jack.

    23. I leased an amazing oldie- my trainer’s 26 year old grey POA gelding named Buster. He’s an amazing starter horse, and taught me to jump. He was so patient with my silly little-girl attempts at sidesaddle, bareback, no stirrups, neck reining, and all the rest. When I fell off he’d just turn and look at me, like he was saying, “Now why did you ever do that?” or, “How did you get down there?”

    24. My first horse was a show veteran by the name of Meg. She tought me one how to stay on a horse and two that kindness is the best answer. the first lesson was learned on the trail if she was done she was going to tell you by bucking a few times 😀 and the second lesson was learned when you did anything with her if you weren’t nice about it she would get you back by ethier stepping on u or bitting you othere then that she was the kindest mare ever, I miss her we had to put her down at the age of 22

    25. My first horse, Halle, was a senior horse when I got her. She was my perfect first horse…she had been through 4-H and had been around other kids before, but had enough spunk to teach me a lot. I will never forget her and I still love her, but she went on to enhance some other kid’s lives.

    26. Old Bill was our first horse. He was a 20 year old paint with a colorful past, including being a lead pony at the race track. Bill was gentle and patient with two idiot kids who had never ridden before and taught both my brother and me very well. He loved cookies and once tried to get into Mom’s convertible when he saw a box on the back seat. He had both front feet in before we caught him. When we outgrew him, Mom was his next pupil. We finally retired Old Bill to a farm with a family with three very young children so he could enjoy his last days with dignity doing what he did best – teaching.

    27. At one time she was always called Mary’s Copper Lady, it was her show name and won many shows in her prime. When she came to me I was a know-it-all who could do “anything” she has taught me that not all horses are 5 year olds and that owning a horse for life is more work than you first think. I’ve learned many things on the trail and in the show ring. We both compete in 4-H and even though she’s 23 now, I still get a laugh out of telling her to “act her age, not her shoe size.” She is an invaluable friend and lifelong companion to me and she could never be replaced by any upcoming 2 year old, no matter how great they seem. Mary will always be number 1!

    28. Who doesn’t love the horse you can hop on and ride, anyone, anywhere? Vee is that horse at the barn that’s always last when walking in from the paddock and the one you can’t leave behind. No matter where she goes she knows how to act and how to please. She’s everything anyone could ever want in a horse. Falling asleep when being bathed and being that pokey horse who has the biggest heart, enough to love everyone who comes her way.

    29. after i sold my first horse i realized that i only had 2 more years left in my youth show career. so i decided i would get an older more schooled horse. i was thinking more along the lines of an 8-10 year old but then i met marlin(my horse now) he is a 16 year old thoroughbred gelding. he may be older but he has been through everything. he has more light in his eyes then any young horse i have ridden. he can teach me the tricks to jumping a good course and having fun while doing it. he certainly doesnt act 16 either he acts more like a 6 year old. i would never give this old fella up for any young horse.

    30. At the age of 51, I decided I was ready ready to get back into the horse world. That was in 2003. We bought a 17 yr old AQHA mare for my wife & a 6 yr old Pinta Gelding for myself. That old mare has really helped my now 60 yr old wife to enjoy the trails. She is considered our dude or babysitter horse. The grandkids love her. Although we now own 4 other additional horses, she remains our favorite.

    31. When i was 12 years old, i took care of a 23 year old Morgan Stallion named Express. The owner was 89 years old and could no longer ride him so i set out for the task. Express loved to go for gallops in the back field, although he got out of breath pretty quickly since he was a bit over weight! He also had a thing for “wandering” and he would take himself into the other neighborhoods for walks and the people would bring him back on flexi dog leashes. I loved that horse so much!!!

    32. Last Spring On Family Day, The Oldest Arabian On Our Farm, Lily, Died At The Age of 31. Her best friend, Cricket, took it hard. Cricket is a 28 year old Arabian who looked exactly the same as Lily. Cricket is the sweetest horse I know, even though she moves sooo slow. Little Children On Our Street Will Come To The barn and offer to groom her, which will make her fall asleep.

    33. My first horse was a fifteen year old appy/Qh cross mare. She would be stubborn as ever and not move no matter how hard my little legs kicked, but other days she’d canter full speed, she definitely wasn’t easy but she was my best horse yet, teaching me more than any other old horse ever could.

    34. My neighbor owns a 26 year old palimino mare and has a 23 year old bored Quarter Horse there. They are so energetic though! My friend Maddie and I love to go over there and race around the pasture! Sometimes we ride double and gallop! Its a lot of fun!

    35. My oldest horse, Lucky Day, just turned 38 and was retired from her huntseat career 9 years ago.She now is eating ‘fatty’ food and shares a paddock with a 24 year old Showcase. She is the sweetest and most gentlest horse on my farm.

    36. I rode an old gelding once named Abe. He was black in his prime, but now white hairs dotted his face–lots of them. He is one of the sweetest and most willing horses I have ever ridden. Even for his old age (about 22 or 24) he loved to trot. I could do just about anything on him. He got bullied by the pony tied next to him, but when she tried to bite him for no reason, Abe would just sit there, cool as a cucumber. He taught me a lot of good lessons. He was retired last year, and now is teaching a little girl how to ride. –Thanks for all the memories, Abe!

    37. My coach has had this beautiful appendix mare for twenty years now. Her name is Brandy’s Serenade, and she has done it all, from high level dressage with my coach to hunter/jumper shows with students to western coaching exams. At 21, she is still going strong and is now ridden in a lesson program and being shown by a young girl in lower level dressage. She is very precious to all of us at the barn: so many dreams have come true thanks to her.

    38. Allstar, an elderly thoroughbred, has debunked the theory that as a horse gets older it necessarily becomes an easy, beginner horse. At 24, he is old enough to know all the tricks in the book, and spunky enough to pull it off. He bucks like a bronco when asked to canter, and will take the arm off of anyone tightening the girth. He will jostle the crop out of even the most tight-fisted hand, and will fool you into thinking he is stretching, when he’s really just taking the reins out of your hand. Despite “indapendant” attitude, he is perfectly sweet to the children that groom him, and is a perfect gentleman when he knows there is a young child aboard.

    39. Tilly, is my magical pony. She is 29 and going strong. She came to me from an abusive situation and is now blind as a result. She is a sweet and funny individual who brings a smile to everyone who meets her. She loves the attention. I enjoy our walks and grooming time while I share my day with her. May she continue to enjoy retirement for many more years.

    40. I ride a 21 year old Paint mare named Laverne. She is a senior and may be retired soon, but she can jump 2’6 and still goes to shows. I have been riding and showing her for almost 2 years. She is the “Queen” of the barn and likes to boss around the other ponies! She likes Gatorade and nachos (even though she knows she can’t have them). In her younger days, she could jump really high, and sometimes she thinks she is 8 and thinks she can still jump like that. Alot of riders and I have won our first blue ribbons on her!

    41. At my stable when I just started riding there, I rode a 24 year old horse named Dipper. He is so sweet, and even now (he’s older now) he loves to go fast! No matter how old he is, he loves to canter and he just enjoys cantering! I showed my first dressage shows on him, I took him on my first away-show, and my first Training Level test was with him. Sadly, I grew out of his riding ability, but now my younger sister rides him! Dipper is an amazing oldie and my stable is lucky to have him!


    43. My Old Joe – By Heather Wilhelm
      My husband said if I gave up my 3 packs of cigarettes a day, he’d buy my kids a horse. I wanted this really bad and now have been smoke free for 4 yrs. I went to look at an 11 year old Quarter Horse who was very beautiful and sweet, but in the same pasture was this 26 year old extremely thin and lethargic Standardbred. This sweet boy is now 29 years young. This poor old boy didn’t even hold his head up to look at you. The woman said she was taking him to auction (you all know where he would’ve gone), but if I wanted him, I could just have him.
      When my husband saw this poor thing, he asked me what was I thinking? He had been pin fired on both back legs and had gray hair on his face from a halter being left on too tight for too long. I fattened him up, put him on some Fluid Flex, got his hooves in shape and gave him all the TLC and cookies he could possibly want or need.
      I still want a smoke every day, but now I go out to see my “Old Joe”. When I look into those big brown eyes, the urge is gone. I was talking to a trainer one day and told him I saved Joe’s life, and he said that if I gave up 3 packs a day to keep him, he saved my life–Never thought of it that way.
      My son rides him around the paddock, but it’s okay with me if he’s just a beautiful lawn ornament as well as a babysitter to our other 2 miniatures. We did some research on his tatoo and his true name is Liberty Baron and raced as a 2 and 3 year old. Would love a picture of him in his prime even though he is very beautiful to me now. I can’t imagine him even prettier. He is a joy in our lives that I can’t explain. One thing is for sure–he deserves to live safe and happy the rest of his days–I will see to that!

    44. We have several lesson horses & whenever one is old enough to retire, he goes to our friends horse retirement home. During the horse summer camps & throughout the year we get to drive up there & spend the day with our old friends reliving memories & whenever we cant go up to see them we get TONS of pictures & updates so its almost like they never left the barn 🙂

    45. Cheetah. She was my grandma’s horse, she was an leopard appaloosa. I remember going to her barn and riding on her 16 hand tall back. She was a bossy nag but we loved her. She taught the geldings lessons and would even eat hotdogs. she was a “bomb proof” horse and she died at a remarkable age of 32!!

    46. my first horse was named Dreamer and he was 25+ years old! the first time i met him he was shaggy and very very skinny, i bought him for $400 and brought him home and fattend him up! he loved kids and would safely carry new riders! he was “bomb proof” and would fall asleep while you brushed him. but he loved the trails! he would get all prancy and canter in place to run up the hills! i ended up selling him to a couple who have kids and wanted a horse to play with. i miss him a lot but know he is happy watching over the kids.

    47. My 29-year-old Appy, Bull, is a wonderful trail horse and loves all the kids that ride him. Before he was ridden, he was on pasture for about 9 years, so we had our work cut out for us. He also had no mane or tail when we got him. Our vet put him on supplements on high-quality hay, unlike the grass he was eating before. He now teaches kids ompetitive trails and is very healthy looking with a long mane and tail.

    48. Tessa found me through my cousin. We really have no idea how old she is. The vet’s best guess is 20-21 years. You’d never know it to look at her! She has been a welcome blessing because I am jsut getting back into horseback riding after 15 years off. She teaches me as much as my trainer. You can tell if I doing something wrong just by her ears. She trains like Clinton Anderson trains horses – she increases the pressure until I get it. Usually a crowhop will put me in line. After that, moody mare no more! She is mostly bomb proof. If she does spook, it’s the tiniest little jerk. I would feel comfortable putting anyone on her. My best friend’s two year old even rode her. She knows the difference between an experienced and a green rider. I love her to death.

    49. I just loved this story. I have Michael, a 30 yr old gray arab/quarter who was raised on an Oklahoma ranch as a cutter until I bought him in 1991 and he has been with me ever since. He still is a great trail horse and my nieces enjoy riding him. I can no longer ride him as he has a weight limit on his back. Nothing is to steep or no need to walk through the trails he is ready to go. I also own Joshua, a 27 yr old Liver Chestnut retired Polo horse TB/quarter cross. He stands about 15.5 hands and we actually thought he was in his early 20s until I met his original owner and she gave me his birthday. We were all amazed. Now he gives me a run for my money on the trails. Mike and Josh are always competing for that position of first in line and bumping each other while we are on the trails. Josh taught Mike a few polo tricks. I love them both and wouldn’t trade them.

    50. I was one of those horse crazy girls that asked for a horse every Christmas but we lived in the city. My uncle had a few horses and when I was seven he brought home a 30 year old gelding that was being retired from a rental string. He had shaggy feet, long whiskers and a sway back, but I thought he was beautiful. I rode him until just before he died at the age of 34. I sat on the ground under his belly and trimmed the hair off of his fetlocks, rode him bareback with only a halter and learned everything there is to know about horse care from him. His name was Jughead and he taught me more than any riding instructor could have at that age.

    51. After I had suffered several accidents in the saddle- some that made me change stables- I arrived at my new instructors place and quietly went along with a frisky Oldenburg/Thoroughbred, a horse that was abused before he came to my instructor, and even a little Pinto who kept going lame- until Loverboy. The second the warmth of his inviting and well used dressage saddle invited me in it was love at first walk! Suddenly my instructor said, “Do you want to canter?” And I froze. The last time I had cantered I had been thrown diligently to the painful dirt. Loverboy’s pulse pounded in my ears. “Yes,” I whispered. His wisdom in the dressage arena for the last 17 years easily guided me through the steps of sitting trot, to a nice lope, to a canter and suddenly I knew that I loved the safety of this old horse- and to date we are now jumping (confidently) and we can go from walk to gallop. All I want this old horse to hear is, thank you…

    52. Where I ride there are multiple senior sitezen horses. I ride one named Casino. He is a 17 year old Throughbred Gelding.He has a bad back (like most old men) and gets a chiropracter visit once a month.He has taught me SOOO much about riding.I would never have been the rider I am now without him. I still ride him alot. I can use the skills I learned from him and use then for my other horse who is a green Thoroughbred horse.

    53. I own a 28 year old quarter horse gelding and he acts (well attemps to)just like a yearling.He loves to run as hard as he can in his pasture and he always seems to make me luagh with his childish ways!! He has taught me to never give up because if you do then you will never achieve you dreams!:)

    54. I bought my horse partner 22 years ago when he was a 4-month old weanling Arabian. Over the years our relationship has changed and grown more times than I can count. Last year, I started having problems physically. Always tired, trouble breathing, just a host of things wrong and initially the doctors were unable to find the problem. While I struggled to get through days, I noticed my little gelding was loosing weight. I tried everything, but nothing worked. I worried that his age (22 years) was catching up with him. Eventually, the doctors found that I had a serious heart condition and I underwent open heart surgery to correct it. Banned from the barn, I could only look at my boy from the living room window for 2 months. He was always looking down at my house and I could tell he was still loosing weight. Finally I was allowed to go up and see him, touch him, hug him. He checked me over from head to toe. Within weeks, he was putting weight back on. While I worried about him, my little guy was worried about ME. My doctors credit my quick recovery to my horse. This summer we were back to riding the trails and all is right with the world.

    55. My little horse, age unkown, was at least 20 years old when we bought him. He’s taught me so much, though! Sometimes, he believes that he is still a yearling and immediately becomes a speeding bullet! On rare occasions, he remains calm and responds perfectly. He can always make you laugh, and everyone loves how sweet he is. Unless you looked at his teeth, you would never guess his age! Fudge is the reason why ponies have a reputation for being ornerey – you gotta love those ponies!

    56. My senior horse was a quarter/morgan, Sly was so patient with my 8 year old daughter. He introduced her to the horse shows and won her many ribbons. He was our boy. He passed 2 years ago at the age of 30. We miss him so much, He was a great teacher to our 5 yr old palomino/quarter horse as well, who is now 10yrs old and is just as sweet, but can’t replace our sly. We will forever love our senior horse.

    57. My most memorable senior horse is a welsh pony named Bobo. He is such a cute pony. He knows every trick in the book. when I first started riding him I had come off a 3 year old quarter horse that I couldn’t handle, and I was very nervous. Bobo helped me gain back my confidence, and once he was sure i was ready he bucked, stopped at fences and made me work. But Bobo taught me how to really ride and now every once in a while I ride my instructor’s 5 year old baby Tator Tot who is very ornery but I know how to handle him.

    58. I love seniors! If you’d have asked me two years ago to buy a senior, I’d have said no way! But now, I own a 19 yr. old Dutch Warmblood gelding who moves like he’s 8. Seniors are great because the most often have more experience than younger horses, and with products like Legend and Adaquan, they can be an even better deal than a younger horse! In fact, there is an old eventer at my barn who is 29 (yes, really) and still moves great! Both he and my horse are on Adaquan, and I am so happy that I didn’t write seniors off. They really have a lot to offer and teach still. Seniors offer so much!

    59. My experience with a senior equine was with a mule we rescued. Oreo was about 22 when we got him. He needed to gain a lot of weight before we could ride him. My daughter started riding him about 6 months later. She rode him for a year or two, then we decided to retire him.A few months later we found out my Daughter had cancer. I would see her out in the pasture with her arms around that old mules neck. I knew she was crying and very scared. Oreo was always there for her. Surgery went well and she is fine now. Then came his next calling in life. Our mare Apache had congestive heart failure when her foal was 4 months old. We lost Apache, and Oreo took over care taking of Apache’s lil Dancer. He would watch over her when she slept, and chase the other horses to keep them away from Dancer. Oreo is now gone. It makes me feel good that we at least made his last few years the best years. He returned the favor!

    60. The last time I was in the saddle, I was on a nice, friendly, older mare and we were on a trail ride through some deep, thick woods. That mare taught me to relax and take each step as it comes, and not look ahead in fear at what might go wrong.

    61. Six of our horses are seniors. Their ages are 18,19,22,26,27, and 35. They were all discarded lesson or polo horses. The 18 and 19 yr. old still play polo,the 22 year old was retired from polo 3 years ago, and the 27 year old was retired from polo this past summer. The 26, and 35 year old were former show horses that are now lesson horses. Years of experience has made them great horses to work with, give lessons, trail ride and even show.
      Yes they have special needs like diet and more veterinary care, but I would take a 20 year old over a 4 year old any day!

    62. I got my first horse about 6 years ago at the time she was 21, hadnt been ridden in a wile and just had a baby. She was given to me for free! I did 4-H for a year but was told she was to old to show, so i gave up and just let her be a pasture horse. A couple years ago i started to get back into horses and got a younger horse to ride but also rode my older mare Bobby every once and a wile. After going to many shows with my younger mare i desided id like to take Bobby (my now 26 year old) to are first show together. Ive always been the one that never places or places last if there is just enough ribbons for riders. This show we went into a bareback class and placed 5th out of 15 people. I was so proud of her she did great. That was are first and last show together, a few months later she passed away. Ill never forget her as she has a special place in my heart.

    63. I used to ride a once-in-a-lifetime senior Paint mare named All the Fun, AKA Laverne. I rode, showed, and leased her for 2 fabulous years, and I won my first blue ribbon on her. She is loved by the whole barn and is teaching younger riders to this day!

    64. I have been fortunate enough to have some great senior horses in my life, that we had all thee lives from youngen to senior. We had 4 at one time and now have 3 remaining in there 20’s. Our 30 year old that past a couple of years back was vantastic. Her name was Babe and she was bomb proof. We bred her a couple of times and her off spring were all bomb proof. Easy breakers with good attitude and no buck. Our kids all competed on Babe and there friends all rode her as well. She was registered Quarter and Foundation Quarter. Despite the fact that we have 3 other horses, every now and then I look at her tack, or a conversation arrises that brings back a memory of her and I get choked up. I know she is happy in that great pasture in the sky and we have been blessed to have her in ours.

    65. I regularly ride an estimated 28 year old big, white Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred Cross(that’s what we think he is)gelding named Zeus. He’s such a friendly, mellow guy on the ground, and absolutely loves cucumbers. But when I hop on him, he gets so excited. Zeus loves to jump, and boy can he canter fast! I love Zeus because he’s such a character and a true inspiration.

    66. My 18 y/o palomino (ApHC & PHBA) stud won a reserve championship at the 2009 ApHC World show in the Masters Trail Class. THat’s for those of us 50 and older. I am so proud of us and he has a special place in my heart. I enjoy reading about the merits of the older equines and riders. Thanks!

    67. When I was a little girl, I learned how to ride on my uncle’s buckskin Quarter Horse named Nugget. I remember sitting on her back and feeling calm and confident that she would take care of me. Today, Nugget is 34 years old and still going strong. Even though she has her grumpy days,and may be a little stiff and creaky, Nugget is a wonderful old lady, and I will always love her.

    68. I have had the great pleasure of knowing quite a few seniors but have never owned one. The two that stand out the most in my mind are a 24 y.o saddlebred named Super. He used to follow me around the field with the rest of the herd following him, his nose pressed right to the small of my back. When he was taking a break from munching the grass he would sling one foot over the other like he was leaning against a wall and have a bit of grass hanging out of a lip. The second horse I loved dearly was a 17 y.o quarter mare named Maggie. She used to go out on trails with me, and despite her age, as soon as that saddle was on her eyes lit up like she was 3 years old again. What a wonderful girl she was, read me like a book and took care of me every step of the way. Both these seniors are still alive and I wish very much that I could own them 😀

    69. The 1st horse I’ve ever ridden was a senior and he helped develop my trust in horses. I was a little scared when I first started.

    70. Before I got my horse, I rode a 29 year old Thoroughbred gelding named Bruce. He was a voice-command horse, so he would respond to my voice instead of seat/hands/legs. At a show (particularly in Equitation classes) he would listen to the loud-speaker so I would hardly have to do anything! He was a great horse! He’s still alive and well today, and still making beginner jumpers feel like they’re jumping olympic height!

    71. Remy taught me dressage. He’s a twenty-three year Belgian Warmblood schoolmaster that has halted at X more times than I ever will, and would buck and pick up the wrong lead if I didn’t ask correctly. Without him, riding my mare would have been a serious undertaking, as she has an explosive trot to say the least. I owe a lot to him.

    72. My old horse Wafer took me on my first endurance ride and i still ocasionally choose to take him along in stead of my 6 year old filly.

    73. The beautiful boy I rode was 29 when I first got on. Of course I was the kid who wanted to run so I didn’t like him much then. But once my posting improved I got on new horses and again got aggravated when I returned to him to canter. But 2 years later I was begging to ride him in the advanced lesson and leaping at the chance to turn him out or bring him his feed. He passed away last month at 33 from severe colic. He left all the riding students devastated he was the first horse almost everyone rode.

    74. My first horse Cinnamon,26, is still with me now and she takes me everywere. She is the one I tell every thing to, even though she may not be listening. Whenever I’m feeling bad about somthing I go out by the barn and instantly she makes me feel better.She’s a real horsey friend.

    75. my thoroughbred Mason, 31 just passed away but i was taking english lessons on him for a year and the people were shuting down the barn and asked if i wanted him. i had him for 4 years… i miss him but he will always be with me and my haflinger, Dutchess now….

    76. I take lessons on a horse named Tony and he is a 26 year old Arabian gelding. He is really patient and I can trust him to do whatever I ask of him. He is really sweet and does whatever I ask of him!

    77. After a bad fall i broke my arm and i was absolutely terrified to ride again, until my parents bought me a 30 something year old pony she gave me the confidence to ride again and taught me never to fear any horse, unfortunatley i lost her to cushings, but she will always be in my heart.

    78. my 17 year old “senior” (i think they should be called wise gurus) Boogie, is my best friend in the whole wide world. Last year I fell off my mom’s horse and broke my arm,so i was afraid to ride again, but he brought me back to success! He is so wise and knows ALL of my “buttons” bu the treats me like royalty, (so i’m returning the favor!) And he still can beat all those greenies at the barrel races (his fastest time was an 18!)

    79. I have a senior horse, who is just the coolest horse ever. I still have to work out the kinks in him, but in the 8 and half months he’s been with me, he’s taught me a lot. I love my boy, and when his time is up, he’ll join my mare. But for now, I hope to ride soon.

    80. My Dutch Warmblood mare is turning 23 this sept.
      and is so healthy and strong! She is the most gental
      soul. Always forgiving when i make a boo boo while riding. Riding just wouldnt be the same without her!

    81. My senior Arabian mare is still one of the most energetic horses at the barn. She loves to jump, run, and play. She still acts like she’s a filly and doesn’t stop her age from letting her have fun. She has taught me so much, because I never thought such an old horse could still be a challenge under saddle!

    82. The horse I ride at my barn is 19 years old and until I started riding her, she was a hunter jumper. Now, she is a first level dressage horse. She is so willing to learn it’s incredible. Even though she is getting older she still wants to learn. Every new movement we introduce she tries so hard to learn. It takes her a few tries but then it clicks. She is the most dedicated horse I’ve ever ridden and known.

    83. I am nominating an ”Oldie” with my friend’s pony, Snikkers. He is 18 years old, but he sure doesn’t act like it! He does jumpers, he has the most personality I have ever seen, and he’s furrier than a bear!

    84. Before Pretty (aka. Sock It To You) and Bubba came to me, they lived together in the same stall, same paddock, and went on the same trail rides for 10 years. Pretty had lost vision in her right eye midway through as a result of leptosporosis. While Pretty relied on Bubs for her right-sided vision. Bubs relied on Pretty for confidence and companionship.
      Midway through their second summer here, Bubba died, tragically. Horses usually mourn, but not the way Pretty has ever since. My fast but reliable horse no longer would lead trail rides. She would get nervous more often, even buck and rear if being pushed.
      In other words: Pretty started acting like a half-blind horse.
      I wonder if she would act this way if the relationship she had with Bubba hadn’t been so special due to her blindness. And I wonder if she would be the way she is if she weren’t blind.
      Now, a couple years later, she is completely blind. I wouldn’t trade her for the world and she has been my trail guiding horse despite her blindness and despite the fact that I have many other horses that could replace her.
      She now lives with my stallion, Sierras All The Gold – APHA Stallion, and she has truly found a new mate in Sierra. When Bubba died I truly worried about her. I’m so glad she paired off and can live protected in her paddock as a pair.
      I’m also so glad that because she is infertile, she keeps the stallion company; meaning she keeps him calm, happy, contented and disciplined. This has given her worth to the stable beyond a riding horse and as a result she is guaranteed a space in the barn. For this I am also thankful for because I never want to have to make the tough decision to re-home her in particular.

    85. Chief, my 21-year-old Quarter Horse gelding is the best old boy I could ask for. He’s great with his little brother, 5-year-old half-Mustang gelding, Lakota. Chief helps me a lot with my confidence, and hopefully this summer, him and I can canter more with my best friend and her Arabian mare. He helps me with more than my confidence, but he is my confidant, my savior, my love, my life. I love him so much, and after he goes, and then far down the road I do to, I’ll go up to Heaven and search for him, Lakota, and Cheyenne, my late Kentucky Mountain mare.

    86. My 23 year old Quarter Horse gelding is a dream come true. Any training you could imagine, he knows it. Anything you ask of him he does it. He has changed my life forever. Whenever I feel like breaking down and crying he’s there. The smoothest bareback lope you’ll ever feel. He’s the total package and he’s all mine. I wouldn’t trade him for the prettiest black stallion alive.

    87. Acorn, my horse of 5 years, is 17 years old. He has taught me many things.
      1. don’t let a horse know you’re scared.
      2. get on again after you fall.
      3. don’t chase a horse to catch him; it will. not. work.
      4.perseverance is a virtue.
      He might be a 36″ high mini, but he is my horse and I love him.


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