PPID can be diagnosed with laboratory tests, but they need to be carefully timed and interpreted depending on the season of the year.
become a driver of a natural, and even useful, progression of a horse’s career. “A horse who tears a suspensory, for instance, may not be able to go back to his previous level of work, but with the right rehabilitation program, he can return to a lower level of work and do well,” says Buchholz. “And that can be beneficial for everyone: That’s how we get kids’ horses and experienced school horses who introduce novices to a sport. And the horse benefits by maintaining some level of activity, rather than just hanging out in a field all day, losing all his muscle mass and strength.”
Buchholz emphasizes that “retirement” for a horse based purely on age or previous workload can have the opposite of the intended effect. “Turning a horse out after a busy career isn’t a way to reward him or extend his life. If you go to the doctor at age 50, he’s not going to tell you to just sit around on the couch from now on. It’s the same with horses. They need to stay active as long as they can.”
As for riding the older, healthy horse, “Go ahead and use him,” says Buchholz. “But keep an eye on him. Regular checkups with your veterinarian are critical to making sure your horse is still benefiting from the level of work he’s at.” During these checkups, your veterinarian may recommend management changes to help keep your horse active, including joint or pain medications or even specialized shoeing.
“Hoof care is very important throughout a horse’s life,” says Buchholz. “Long toes and low heels can put extra stresses on the deep digital flexor tendon and other structures of the lower limb. If you’re going to ride a horse throughout his life, you need to make sure his feet are kept in good shape.”
And don’t forget how much a horse benefits from being at liberty. “Turnout