Older horses can keep going strong well into their golden years if they receive proper care and nutrition. • Photo by Molly Montag

Older Horses Focus of Senior Horse Symposium

Special needs of older equines will be highlighted during the first-ever Senior Horse Symposium in Lawrence, Michigan.

The event hosted by equineseniors.com is slated to take place from 5:30-9 p.m., March 21 at the Van Buren Conference Center. Admission is free. 

“Our hope is that this will be the start of a very popular annual event,” says Laurie Cerny, editor of www.equineseniors.com.  “The interest in senior horse health and nutrition has dramatically grown in the past ten years.  It’s a huge market for equine feed and supplement manufacturers, and rightly so when you consider that 20 percent of the horse population is over the age of 20.”

The keynote address will be given by Dr. Richard K. Balsbaugh, an equine nutrition expert for ADM Feeds. He will focus on senior horse nutrition and how to troubleshoot common feeding problems experienced by older horses.

Balsbaugh, who has an Animal Science degree from Purdue University, and a Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, has been involved in the livestock / specialty animal industry for 35 years, of which thirty years have been with ADM / MoorMan Manufacturing Company, Quincy, Illinois. He has been involved in updating ADM’s equine Forage First feed products and is instrumental in developing several new equine top dress supplements.

Dr. Jessica Balsis, DVM, of Two by Two Animal Hospital, and blacksmith Paul Tucker will lead a panel discussion on “Keeping The Senior Horse Mobile.” Balsis, a graduate of Michigan State University (MSU), specializes in equine lameness and teaches a pre-veterinary course at Andrews University.  She is also very active in the show world with her champion Morgan horses.  Tucker, owner of Tucker’s Farrier Service, specializes in corrective shoeing.

There will also be a panel “Showing & Competing With An Equine Senior Horse” led by Cerny and Karen Waite.  It will cover the maintenance of senior show horses as well as strategies to help stay competitive during the show season. 

Waite is an Equine Extension Specialist at MSU where she teaches and advises equine students in the Department of Animal Science.  She is also a carded judge.

Cerny has successfully shown several senior horses and currently competes with a 17-year-old mare in American Ranch Horse Association (ARHA), American Buckskin Registry (ABRA), and International Buckskin Horse Association (IBHA) shows.  She has won multiple year-end class and division championships. The pair has also competed at both the ARHA and IBHA world shows for the past two years and earned several Top Five and Top Ten honors there.

Additional details are available by calling (269) 657-3842 or emailing equineseniors@aol.com.

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