Getting Old

Haakon is getting old.  I see a change, a definite change and I am partly to blame for this.

Having had quite a lot of time off this year from riding due to my back, Haakon has lost any of the physical fitness he had.  It has done him no favours and getting back his stamina and strength is taking much longer than it used to.

I hate seeing him like this.  The usual rides and fun have all gone.  He is tired and struggling.

With the winter weather bearing down on us, I have even resorted to rugging, which is not something I do lightly.

But I don’t want Haakon to lose more muscle/weight from the weather and he wouldn’t thank me if I stabled him.  That would just make him very stiff and disgruntled so a rug is our compromise.

I am trying to ride Haakon three times a week for short periods (20 minutes maximum) with long reins practising our a long and low tölt in a long.  According to Bjørn, our trainer, this will greatly help Haakon’s muscle development.

After this training, Haakon gets a small reward for his efforts.

We will see how we go.  Haakon is 24 years old now and, according to an online horse age calculator, that is the equivalent of 75 years old in humans.

What to do for the best?  At the moment, we are keeping going.  I believe that by exercising Haakon regularly, it will keep his muscles strong, his joints flexible, and gut motility going.  Haakon, like BeAnne, has to live forever.  He is my rock but it is breaking me seeing him like this.  I never wanted him to grow old.

 

10 thoughts on “Getting Old

  1. Sam

    I hate the way our animals sneak in things like old age. They need to stay our kittens, foals and puppies. You and Haakon will work this out. Slow and steady, one training session at a time.

    Reply
  2. Mary C. McNamara

    Haakon knows you want the best for him. Life gets in the way sometimes (so don’t beat yourself up).
    Sounds like you all have a plan. It is amazing how horses seem to bounce back, wish we could get into shape that way. Just remember “grow old along with me , the best is yet to be (well maybe not that last part – HUH?) But having critters in our lives definitely makes us richer.
    My quarter horse died at 33 years old. (actually she was beginning so show signs of a colic and we didn’t want her to progress into pain and have to withstand all the prodding and exams etc. So it wasn’t easy for us but we did what was best for her) If 24 is 75 human years??? but then it probably differs for different breeds.

    Reply
    1. Frances Post author

      I dont know if there is different ages for different breeds.

      So sad about your QH but 33 is amazing xx

      Reply
  3. Judith Garbutt

    Frances, he looks amazingly well for his age and it sounds as if you have a plan that will work for both of you. It looks like he’s sound and happy even if he has the equivalent of a few grey hairs!

    Reply
  4. louise whyte

    Buddy is similar age to him, a year ago I thought he was going backwards, slower, not as willing, but this year we have managed to do more work and he is bouncing and very well. We have found that regular osteo work has helped him a lot, as it has released tension and old aches and pains and he is definitely more supple and been going tanking up the field when he goes out.

    I am trying to ride him most days, weekdays just a 30-40 minute walk then a bit more at weekends.

    Aimee donkey who is nearly 30 came out of last winter really badly but we have managed to get her a bit fitter through re-arranging the summer fields, so she has done more walking up to the top, and she has gained a bit of strength, as I really thought she would be pts this autumn, thankfully she has bounced back a bit so we cross everything.

    It’s hard when they are older but you just have to do what you can to keep them active. It’s not easy but I have found this year introducing a balancer to Aimee and Bud’s feed seems to have given them a bit more zip.

    Reply
  5. darby callahan

    I know what you are going through. my Pony of the Americas, Starbeam, is now 30 and this Autumn she is slowing down , not eating her hay easily and having trouble with chewing carrots. she has had cataracts for years but I think they are getting worse. You can still ride her indoors where she is familiar with the setting, little chance of something scary coming along. I think the riding helps her keep in shape, as with your Haakon. but I am starting to be conflicted about this. I can’t imagine being without her.

    Reply
  6. Terri

    Touching story and comments of people’s love for their aging family members of the 4-footed (or -hooved) variety….Wishing Haakon many more years with you!

    Reply

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