Taking on an older horse - opinions?

  • So we have been asked by a friend who has a daughter who is leaving for college if we would take their 20 year old all round horse. He is a healthy, sound and very reliable horse (14.2) he is ridden by absolute novices and beginners and  has been with them for years. They know we have two younger children who are starting to grow into more activities such as jumping and games, but I am thinking, is 20 too old? I know that with advances in nutrition and science that horses are living longer, but what age can we realistically expect them to lead a full and working life until? I know this will all depend upon the individual and their unique specificities but all joints and bones age, and can lead to arthritis, for example, I would not want to take him on and the kids find after a coupla years we need to retire him. On the other hand, It is great to have a horse who has so much experience,  who I can trust to show the young children "the ropes" so to speak and to know he knows his job. Even 5 years would be a great experience for them.

    What are your opinions?

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  • We have an older horse and you cannot underestimate what they can teach you , Smurf has been with us for 6 years and came to us as a 17 year old, he can be ridden by everyone and when the kids bring their friends over to try out riding, he can be completely trusted, even with legs and arms all over the place in brand new riders who are not at home in a saddle.  I think they are worth a chance.