Driving and senior ponies

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MaryFlora

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It is so much fun to read your driving posts and view your photos, that I am considering dusting off my easy entry cart and driving DD again. DD is a 20 year old, 30” mini, very well trained but has not been driven in about 4 years.

I know many riding horses are routinely ridden in their 20’s with happy results for horse and rider, so imagine that is also true for smaller driving ponies?

If you drive a senior, are there special considerations you give to them in regard to their feet, joints, and backs? She seems comfortable when moving but I wonder about arthritis or other possible age related aches?
 

Marsha Cassada

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Dapper Dan is 26 this year and still going strong. I do keep his drives to around two miles or less now, but he could probably go much farther comfortably. I usually use the lighter sulky but he is fine in the wooden ez. Several years ago he was having some trouble and xray revealed a bone spur, and some arthritis in the hind. He is on Adequan, every 8 weeks or so, and a joint supplement. The vet recommended Equiox before a drive day, or a dose of Banamine. Sometimes I forget but he seems fine. He does wear boots, also. I think it is more important to keep them moving and active, even though they need a little help to be comfortable. Don't we all!!
I wasn't sure what I'd find under all that hair this year; I worried about loss of muscle. But I think he looks good.corral clip.jpg
 

Cayuse

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One of mine is 18. He enjoys driving. I would just go really slow with your girl, maybe ground drive her for a couple of weeks to let her get the kinks out of her body and mind and then hitch her and keep the first few drives short. Watch her respirations, sometimes if they have not been worked awhile slight respiratory problems can show up that have been sort of hidden because they have not been worked/stressed. That would be unusual, but I've seen it happen so I thought I'd mention it.
I have both my guys on a joint supplement and it helps. I think hoof boots do help to keep them from worrying about their feet. I use the "next size up" back pad for my harness (pony size instead of mini) as the both seem to like the extra bit of cushioning, but my minis have a big barrel so they can take a little larger pad.
 

MaryFlora

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Thank you, Kelly, Marsha, and Cayuse! I appreciate the encouragement and words of wisdom! Second HersheyMint! Dapper Dan is beautiful! Doing 2 miles comfortably at 26 is a testament to your care and training.

I have a pair of boots which I will try out on DD as we ground drive and see how she goes in them. It totally makes sense to give extra comfort!

The recommendation to ground drive short periods for a period of a couple of weeks is such a sensible idea. Way better than mine which was to ground drive once or twice then hitch! Thank you! So much better to restart slowly and safely for DD and for me. We’re both older than we were 4 years ago! 🤣

Monitoring respirations, sadly, would not have occurred to me unless there was an extreme reaction, great tip, thank you!

The harness is ready, the boots are ready, and it is supposed to rain all day tomorrow! Nuts!

Thank you for the great tips! Your feedback is very helpful and much appreciated!🤗

DD says, yes! Thank you! 💕💕
 

BSharpRanch

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My daughter was competing with her horse that was 23! And they had fastest times through the hazards!

My Boardjoring horse is 19 this year. He easily does 5 miles.

Just like people, some keep on going and going.

My horses all get the same diet, the hard working ones get more. Ive not found a need for join supplements, and I just makes sure that their hooves are balanced.
 

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Silver City Heritage Farmstead

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I agree with the others. Start her back ground driving and build up from there.

I have an acquaintance who drives singles, doubles and three abreast. These are ponies in work harness. They pull EZ entry, a buckboard, small/mini farm implements and various brush or small logs. Their ages range from 8-26. For those who are a bit stiff, she warms them slowly, gives frequent breaks, and carefully monitors breathing. None have a need for joint supplements, though like I said, she's careful to do slow warm-ups with no super tight fast turns early in their work.

By the way, my physical therapist says that the best treatment for arthritic joints is exercise. "Use 'em or lose 'em", she says. 😆

Go, DD and MaryFlora!!🥳🥳
 

MaryFlora

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Thanks BSharp for your information. I have not used many supplements for the horses over the years, and the variety of options today is staggering. I love
the photo and the peek at the course, that looks like fun! Your pinto is so cute and all 4 feet off of the ground too!

Five miles boardjoring is impressive, for both of you! Hmmm….we are about 4 miles from town. 🤣

Maybe I need to just stick with ground driving for now! ;)
 

BSharpRanch

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Thank you! This little guy earned his HOF in pleasure driving and roadster many years ago. He came with some interesting baggage which my daughter has been able to unpack and reverse. He has definitely decided that she is his human and will work his little heart out for her, no questions asked.


Thanks BSharp for your information. I have not used many supplements for the horses over the years, and the variety of options today is staggering. I love
the photo and the peek at the course, that looks like fun! Your pinto is so cute and all 4 feet off of the ground too!

Five miles boardjoring is impressive, for both of you! Hmmm….we are about 4 miles from town. 🤣

Maybe I need to just stick with ground driving for now! ;)
 

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