Written by: Equine Resources International
Courtesy of American Horse Publications
New York, NY (January 24, 2003)–A new Horse/Human Age Relationship Chart has just been released that seeks to better explain the relationship between the stages of life for humans and horses. This new information reveals that, beginning at birth, horses age 6.5 years for each human year until puberty. Once a horse reaches age four, that rate slows to 2.5 years for each human year.
The Age Relationship Chart, created by equine veterinarians, is intended to help horse owners better relate to and understand the health issues their horses may experience at each stage of life, said Dan Kramer, equine market manager at Pfizer Animal Health, who released the information.
“Horses go through the same life cycles as do humans. They have distinct childhood, adolescence, puberty, maturity and geriatric phases of their lives, ” Kramer said. “This chart will give horse owners added insight into their horse’s life stages and greater understanding of the issues at each stage. For example, a 22-year old horse would equate to a human of age 65.5. A horse that is 36 years old would be celebrating its 100th birthday if it was a person.”
Like humans, advancements in health care are allowing horses to live fruitful and productive–even competitive–lives well into their golden years. From this perspective, the chart offers not only a point of reference, but also a challenge for horse owners, equine veterinarians and equine health care companies.
“Humans are now living full and productive lives well into their 80s, thanks to research and better health care,” Kramer said. “Correspondingly, with emphasis on improved management and equine wellness, we should now be able to keep our horses strong, useful and competitive well into their late twenties.”
Michael Matz is one equine competitor who has experienced first hand the ways in which a lifetime of good health care can support a horse’s abilities well into its advancing years. Matz and his jumper, Jet Run, won the 1979 Pan American Games, taking home a team and individual gold, and the Volvo World Cup in 1981. The horse wasn’t retired from that level of competition until 1985, when he was 17 years old. (That’s 53 in terms of a human world-class athlete.) Jet Run’s retirement years truly were long and golden–he passed away at 28 years of age.
“Jet Run was a horse who really liked what he did for a living–he was really happy at it,” said Matz. “He had a great deal of stamina and we tried to give him the best possible care available.”
“I think keeping a horse healthy and performing well boils down to the kind of care and management that we as owners and trainers give them. This is really the number one concern for the horse’s longevity,” Matz continued. “Good preventive care and knowing the needs of each individual horse can be the difference between a good horse and a great one, and the difference between a good rider and a great rider.”
Pfizer Animal Health believes so strongly in the power of equine preventive health care that the company offers PreventiCare™, a unique equine wellness program offered through veterinarians. This pioneering system requires that all enrolled horses adhere to six minimum requirements of wellness care: annual physical examination, annual dental examination, appropriate immunizations, nutritional counseling, twice-yearly avermectin treatment and daily use of Pfizer’s Strongid® C or Strongid® C 2X™ anthelmintic.
In the event that an enrolled horse requires colic surgery, PreventiCare’s Colic Assistance Plan™ goes into effect. Pfizer will reimburse the operating surgeon for surgical costs and three days of aftercare, up to $5,000 over the life of the horse.
“PreventiCare and the Colic Assistance Plan are our ways of demonstrating how much we believe in the power of preventive health care,” said Kramer. “We recently modified PreventiCare to extend eligible participation. Now, horses that were enrolled before 20 years of age may remain enrolled through age 24. Like humans, we’re convinced that with good management and proper well care, horses can live longer and more productive lives well into the future.”
For more information on how your horse can receive the benefits equine wellness care, visit Pfizer online at www.pfizer.com/equine or talk to your veterinarian about the program.