Health: Oldsters and aerobics.
Thanks to a better understanding of their needs, older horses are living longer, richer lives. A recent review of published studies on how aging affects performance, however, indicates older equine athletes have lowered aerobic capacity and maximal heart rate as compared to younger ones. This means it takes less work for older horses to reach their maximal oxygen uptake level, likely the result of natural changes in their hearts and muscles. The take-home? Keep an eye on your senior equine’s response to exercise, and don’t automatically assume he can perform at the same level he once did. (For ideas on senior-friendly workouts, see the feature on page 60.)
The aerobic capacity of older equine athletes is lower than that of younger horses.