Because of advances in equine nutrition, management and veterinary care, horses are living longer than ever. We routinely see horses in their late twenties and even over 30 years old in our practice. However, all of these horses have good veterinary care, good nutrition, and good farrier care, all of which are critical for long-term health of the horse. And one of the most important things you can do for older horses is have your vet examine them twice a year. Although they do need certain vaccines, the exam your vet gives your horses is just as critical as the vaccine. If your vet is not performing a good exam on your horse when vaccines are given, ask them to do so because it is important for your horse's health.
I am going to share some other tips in caring for the older horse published by the AAEP. Observe your horse on a regular basis and watch for changes in body condition, behavior and attitude. Feed a high-quality diet and avoid dusty or moldy feeds and always feed older horses separate from younger horses that might be more food aggressive and prevent the older horses from eating. Also, the more often you feed the better, as smaller meals fed frequently are much more normal for the horse and makes sure your horse is not overweight. You should be able to feel the ribs easily but not see them. Also, adequate appropriate exercise is beneficial to maintain muscle tone as long as the horse has no medical problems preventing exercise. Grooming is also important so you can check your horse's skin for infections and tumors. Tumors are not uncommon in older horses and any new growths should be examined by your veterinarian.