PPID can be di­ag­nosed with lab­o­ra­tory tests, but they need to be care­fully timed and in­ter­preted de­pend­ing on the sea­son of the year.

EQUUS - - Longevity -

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

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