The University of Kentucky is seeking owners of old horses, such as this then 28-year-old daughter of Colonel Freckles who became a trusted youth horse after her cutting and breeding careers, to better understand the needs of older equines. • Photo by Molly Montag

University Survey Seeks Info on Older Horses

Owners of horses age 15 and older are asked to participate in a survey researchers hope will help them better understand the needs of that age bracket. The survey is through the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center.

Officials say the survey is important because horses aged 15 years and over make up a significant portion of the U.S. equine population, but surprisingly little is currently known about their management and health status. 

Eligible survey participants should own one or more horses that currently reside(s) in the U.S. While the survey focuses on horses, including ponies, aged 15 years and older, owners of younger horses are also invited to participate in the survey. The survey takes between three and 25 minutes to complete. 

Click here to access the survey, which will be available through Nov. 20.

Participants will also have the option to enter a raffle to win two bags of BUCKEYE Nutrition feed (1st prize), or four pounds of Reasons® Joint Support Treats (2nd and 3rd prizes).

Research Project

The survey project is coordinated by Alisa Herbst, a doctoral candidate at the Gluck Center in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, who is concentrating on the aging process of horses. She is being supervised by assistant professor Amanda Adams, a specialist working with geriatric horses.

“The main goal of this survey is to create a management and health profile of U.S. horses aged 15-plus years,” she said. “By applying the insights that we gather from the survey, and other work in my PhD, I hope that we can provide improved support for those managing horses of this age group.”

Herbst is collaborating on this project with an international and national research team that includes Adams; Patricia Harris, professor, veterinarian and director of science at MARS Horsecare and head of the equine studies group at WALTHAM Petcare Science Institute; Michelle Coleman, veterinarian and assistant professor at Texas A & M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; and Erica Macon, doctoral candidate at UK’s Gluck Center. MARS EquestrianTM is providing sponsorship for this study.

“We’re very excited about the information that this survey will provide. While much beloved by their owners, we still know very little about the specific needs of this population. I look forward to hearing more about the results from this survey, and I greatly appreciate the sponsorships provided by MARS Equestrian for this effort,” said David Horohov, chair of UK’s Department of Veterinary Science and director of the Gluck Center.

Officials say the contribution of every horse owner, and especially those with any horse or pony over 15 years of age, will be vital for the success of this project and the continued improvement in the health of horses.