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Senior Hoof Care: What You Need to Know

Last updated October 14, 2023 by Brad Heath

Your senior horse has given you many years of dedicated service, carrying you across hill and valley, providing a solid mount for barrel racing or working hard pulling equipment, and you’re doing everything you can to ensure his retirement is a good one.  Between shopping for a horse trailer to carry him safely to and from the vet and farrier and the special feed you order from your local feed shop, you’re trying to keep his changing needs in mind, but if you’re neglecting his feet, you’re missing a big part of the picture. 

Senior horses, just like their younger counterparts, are nothing without sound feet and good hoof care.  Just because they’re not working anymore, you shouldn’t let up on regular foot care and frequent farrier visits.  As your horse ages, maintenance is vital to his continued health -- abscesses, thrush and other foot problems can compound existing troubles with arthritis and the general slowdown that comes with having seen 20-some birthdays.

Transportation is Vital to Keeping Up With Hoof Care 

Your senior horse’s hooves may not grow as fast as they used to, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still need care.  In fact, at this stage of the game, hoof care is important to keeping your horse moving.  He may have more trouble lifting his feet than he used to, so when you’re picking, cleaning or doing other hoof maintenance, try to keep his feet within the normal range of motion and resist pulling them too far out or too high up.  He’ll behave better for you if he’s in less pain, adding a Hoofjack can help him better tolerate longer-lasting hoof work.

Trips to and from the farrier can be made easier by custom horse trailers featuring low-vibration rubberized floors or wooden floors with a slight give to them.  The last thing your senior horse needs as he travels is a slick aluminum floor that may cause him to fall and injure himself.  Carefully designed custom horse trailers can even allow older horses with arthritis or joint problems to lie down during transit, so that they arrive at their destination safely.

Even if your horse has problems traveling due to age-related foot and leg problems, you need to be able to transport him when necessary.  The ability to travel is doubly important if you have to take your horse to your farrier or veterinarian because of time or distance constraints, and the day may come when he simply can’t handle the bumps and jolts your old trailer deals out.  Custom horse trailers designed with seniors in mind can be fitted with better suspension than the typical stiff horse trailer that relies on a horse’s flexibility and soundness to compensate for a rougher ride.

Your horse has given you his best years, and even though he’s slowed down, he can have many more in retirement if you keep his feet in good shape.  From picking to trimming, there’s a lot that goes into hoof care, but by adding a small custom trailer just for geriatrics, you’ll make visits to the farrier one less major chore.

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