‘Giving seniors their best lives’: UK owners’ ‘loyalty and passion’ for veteran horses

  • British owners have “loyalty and passion” for senior horses, providing top-class care for our special veterans.

    A survey of more than 5,000 people, conducted by feed manufacturer Spillers, found similar results to a 2022 study, “reiterating just how much the nation loves their precious equine oldies”.

    Over a third (37%) of respondents had horses aged 25 or older, and 65% considered equids old at 20.

    “According to the survey, participants are extremely loyal to their seniors; 62% had owned their seniors for 11+ years,” a Spillers spokesman said. “A staggering 99.5% of participants expressed their intention to keep their senior horse for the remainder of its life, highlighting a deep commitment to their wellbeing.”

    The spokesman said most of the veteran horses were “largely healthy and active”; 80% were considered in good condition, 8% overweight and 12% needing more condition. Common age-related issues including stiffness, arthritis and PPID (Cushing’s) were also reported.

    The spokesman said 62% of the senior horses were still in ridden work, three quarters of these in light work. Retirement was common for horses aged between 21 and 25; the most frequently cited reason was that it “just felt like the right time”.

    “It is heart-warming to see that we are such a compassionate nation, giving so much care and devotion to our special oldies,” said Claire Dyett, marketing manager for Spillers.

    “It is also reassuring to see that our latest survey accurately reflects the findings from our previous work, which provides some very robust data for this important sector of the equine industry.

    “Bravo to all the owners out there who are giving their seniors their best lives. Improved veterinary care and nutrition mean that we are better placed to manage conditions such as arthritis, PPID, and dental issues. An 8% increase in feeding a mash suggests that owners may be recognising the suitability of soaked feed presentations to support senior health, particularly when dentition becomes compromised. It’s by working together that we can continue to enhance health, welfare and quality of life and turn age into just a number.”

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