Veterinary & Farrier Care
Your Retired Horse's Healthcare
Your retired horse’s health care includes preventative care, such as a diet utilizing 100% extruded feeds made with low starch and sugar ingredients, exercise, vaccinations, deworming, teeth floating, supplements and medications as needed, emergency care when needed and above all working in harmony with the horse.
At Orchard Equine Retirement we recognize that boarding retirees involves managing health and soundness issues as the norm, not the exception.
Our equine veterinary services are provided by Willow Creek Equine, Reading, PA
Clients are required to establish an account with our veterinarian practice,Willow Creek Equine who bill owners directly for vaccinations, teeth floating, and any veterinary services they provide for your horse.
Quakertown Equine Hospital is located within one hour and two full service equine hospitals, New Bolton Center and Mid Atlantic Equine are located within 90 minutes of the farm.
The advancements in veterinary medicine are allowing our horses to live longer healthier lives however the cost can become prohibitive for owners without insurance.
We highly recommend that owners who have medical insurance on their horses discuss maintaining that insurance until the horse ages out at 18-20 years old.
Farrier fees are included in our flat rate boarding option and billed one month in advance in our itemized billing option.
Spring & Fall Vaccinations
Scheduled and boosted every six months as recommended by our veterinarians:
Potomac Horse Fever, PHF;
Lyme if requested by owner.
Our vets do not recommend botulism for our retirees because we do not utilize large round or square bales.
Trimming & Front Shoes
Your horse's hooves are trimmed every six to eight weeks as necessary by our professional full time farriers, Don and Travis Schock. Horses whose soundness issues require front shoes are shod up front. If a horse requires rear shoes, either temporarily or on a permanent basis, individual turnout is necessary for the safety of the other horses in the herd.
The Schocks consult and work with our equine veterinarians on cases requiring the utilization of x-rays. More than once through the proper trimming and balancing of horses' hooves, owners have seen their horses' level of soundness greatly improved. The Schock’s skill has kept many client’s horses retired due to navicular, sidebone and/or other arthritic conditions pasture sound and reduced or delayed their need for NSAIDs.
Sno-cuffs are utilized for horses wearing front shoes during snowy weather to reduce snow balling up in your horse’s front hooves. Horses requiring bar shoes wear bell boots to reduce likelihood of a hind hoof catching and pulling off the shoe. Bell boots can be provided by the owner or the farm has several pairs available for use by horses requiring bell boots.
We recommend owners who are pulling their horses' front shoes upon retirement consult with their farrier about topical products that can be painted on the soles of their horses' hooves to toughen the soles in preparation for the transition from shoes to going barefoot.
In over fifty years with her own horses and client’s horses Christine emphatically states that Don Schock is one of the best farriers in the country. Several equine vets and owners from around the country agree. We are very fortunate to have such highly skilled farriers as the Schocks working on our clients' horses.
Teeth Floating & EOTRH
Your horse is checked free of charge twice a year by our equine vets during their Spring and Fall wellness exams.
If required your horse will have their teeth floated by an equine dentist trained in the use of the power float.
Horses are sedated when the horses are having their teeth floated with the power float.
While sedated your gelding will have their sheath thoroughly cleaned and mares will have their udders cleaned , included in flat rate boarding plans..
Fifteen to twenty year old geldings are at risk for a recently recognized condition Equine Odontoclastic Resorption Hypercementosis, EOTRH first recognized in 2004.
EOTRH is a very painful condition likened to bone cancer pain. Experts in the condition believe it is cruel to maintain horses with this condition without extracting the teeth.X-rays are required to diagnose which teeth are involved before extraction.
Horses adapt very well to grazing using their lips instead of their incisors to grasp grass.
In 2018 we welcomed our first horse, Toto, with no incisors to Orchard Equine Retirement. Toto’s excellent body condition can be seen on our Gallery Page and in our various social media accounts.
For more information on this disease click on the link below.
More on EOTRH
Orchard Equine Retirement follows AAEP recommended protocol for deworming which includes fecal testing which determines the deworming protocol for each individual horse. Fecals determine which horses in a herd due to their immune system are responsible for shedding of parasites and a deworming and fecal testing program is then set up for each individual horse.
Products used may include:
Ivermectin with praziquantal, (Equimax or Zimectrin Gold) for tapeworms
Panacur Power Pack - double dose of fenbendazole given five days in a row
Strongid- pyrantel pamoate
Our deworming program is included in Orchard Equine Retirement’s flat rate boarding fee. Owners who select itemized billing are billed for each deworming product and fecal test.
In Case of Emergency
We live on the farm 24/7 with the majority of our four pastures within view of the residence.
Horses are checked twice a day and throughout the day. The advantage of a smaller facility is that the horses are always in close proximity to us 24/7.
New Bolton Center and Mid Atlantic Equine are both full service equine hospitals located within 90 minutes of the farm.
Kopec Veterinary Associates and Quakertown are two equine clinics within one hour of the farm.
When owners sign our contract, owners provide Orchard Equine Retirement with permission to arrange emergency veterinary care if unable to contact the owner. We recommend owners provide us with an emergency contact in case they cannot be reached. We also discuss with an owner their wishes for their horse’s care to help guide us in the event we are unable to reach the horse’s owner.
Geriatric Health Issues
Blue Seal's Sentinel 100% extruded feed line is designed with low starch and sugar ingredients are beneficial to all horses and specifically those with EMS.
Horses with metabolic disorders are managed in cooperation with our veterinarians, farrier, and owners. Management includes diet, limiting turnout on pastures during the time when grass sugars are at their lowest, and medication.
Horses are monitored & retested per veterinary recommendation
EQUINE METABOLIC SYNDROME - AKA “INSULIN RESISTANCE” & INSULIN DYSREGULATION
Horses that are obese, or that easily gain weight or have difficulty losing weight with fatty deposits such as cresty necks are suspect for EMS which may also cause an increased inflammatory response.
Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) or pars intermedia pituitary adenoma (PIPA)
Horses showing clinical signs such as fatty deposits on the neck, behind the shoulder, etc,long hair coat, delayed shedding, lethargy, and muscle wasting are tested to determine if they require daily treatment with Prascend/Pergolide.
Depending on the effectiveness of treatment these horses may require body clipping one to two times a year, or may just require their legs be clipped.
Our standard feed is Blue Seal Sentinel, 100% extruded low sugar and starch, the diet recommended for horses with metabolic disorders.
POLYSACHRIDE STORAGE MYOPATHY PSSM - Type 1
Horses with PSSM are managed in cooperation with our vets and owners depending on the degree of their disorder.
We utilize Blue Seal Sentinel Performance,a 100% extruded high fat feed, rice bran in pellet of meal form, and or other forms of fat to meet their daily fat intake. Pasture turnout is limited according to their needs and the grass sugar levels.
Arthritis and soundness issues go hand in hand with boarding retired horses.The best thing for arthritis is movement, keeping excess weight off, and the best farrier care available.
Orchard Equine Retirement has over thirty years accommodating the needs of horses with arthritis and its progression. Our farriers, the Schocks, are compassionate caring horsemen who are willing to go to great lengths to help horses whose arthritis limits the flexion of their joints. Some horses require an NSAID the night before having their hooves done to make their farrier visit more comfortable.
Never Too Old for Surgery
The number one medical death of horses is colic and has remained so for decades. In horses over fifteen, seventy-five percent have lipomas, a benign fatty tumor on a stalk that are ticking time bombs because they can wrap around a horse's intestine strangling off the blood supply and causing sudden severe pain because the tissue is dying due to a lack of blood supply. Horses suffering from strangulating lipomas need immediate surgery.
Unfortunately in thirty years of boarding retirees we have seen our share of suspected lipomas.
Less common are impaction and gas colics, in thirty years we have seen less than ten horses with impaction or gas colics, gas being the more common of the two.
Recently a thirty plus gelding, named Seiko developed a suspected impaction colic. Fortunately for Seiko the attending vet recommended transport to New Bolton Center for administration of fluids to help pass the impaction.
That recommendation saved Seiko's life. After arriving at New Bolton Center he continued to break through the sedation indicating a cause other than impaction. Dr. Maia Aitken D.V.M. Seiko’s surgeon told his owners that it was a myth that senior horses were not good surgical candidates. Dr. Aitken had experience taking horses in their thirties through surgery with the only difference being that senior horses required a day or two more on fluids and antibiotics than younger horses.
That information saved Seiko’s life as his owners decided to give him a second chance at life. Seiko’s case was very unusual as surgery revealed three large Fecaliths made up of hay, hair, and feces. Seiko’s worn and missing teeth led to the development of the fecaliths. Seiko is maintained on a diet made exclusively of Blue Seal Sentinel Senior and Lifetime, both extruded feeds. Seiko is permitted to graze pastures, except in winter or times of drought when the grass is dry or dormant.
When owners retire their horses at Orchard Equine Retirement we discuss their feelings regarding colic surgery. In the event of a colic and we are unable to reach the owner we have some guidance on how to proceed when time is of the essence. We never make a decision based on a previous discussion without first talking to the owner.
Sheath and Udder Cleaning
Don't Forget the Ladies!
Orchard Equine Retirement performs routine sheath cleaning for geldings and the cleaning of mare’s udders and urogenital area one to two times a year included in the flat rate boarding package or billed separately on itemized boarding plans.
Geldings have their sheaths and under their tails thoroughly cleaned while under sedation after their teeth floating procedure is finished. Geldings require sheath cleaning once to twice a year, however for most older horses teeth floating is only required once a year. For those geldings who require a thorough twice yearly cleaning we will sedate them for their second cleaning. We only sedate when necessary to perform a thorough cleaning. In our experience heavier horses tend to develop more build up of smegma.
Mares’ udders develop a build up of oil, dirt, and sweat just like geldings do inside their sheaths. Not all mares appreciate having their udders and teats handled so we perform this routine grooming procedure after your mare’s teeth floating is complete and while she is still under sedation. We also was your mare’s urogenital area at the same time. We also clean mares after their heat cycle. Majority of mares boarded with us are fine having us perform this grooming routine without sedation.
Dirty sheaths and udders can cause mares and geldings to rub their tails in an effort to relieve themselves of the intense itching caused by the buildup of oil, dirt, sweat, i.e. smegma and the formation of a bean gelding’s urethral diverticulum.
Thank you for all your help, and care and love you showed Smokie. I am pleased his last home is with you."
Daragh Gallagher, New Jersey
Reserve Your Horse's Retirement Today
Peace of Mind is Priceless.
At Orchard Equine Retirement we have been providing Full Care Horse Retirement since 1988. We know that retiring horses is so much more than turning a horse out in a pasture.
Much more. We understand and respect the special relationship owners have with their horses. We understand how difficult it is to separate from your partner and friend.
We've been there. Lying awake at night wondering if they are being fed properly. If they are standing out in the weather, or are they comfortable inside their box stall or run in shed with their buddies.
It is that very relationship with a horse named Prince and the failed search for a horse retirement farm where he could safely retire, that inspires us to this day.
We look forward to discussing the retirement you want for your horse. Please include your horse's name in your message!
We offer flat rate and itemized billing. Clients choose which method best suits their horse's needs and their preferences. Call or send a message to reserve your horse's retirement at the farm that continues to set the standard in horse retirement.
Christine, Jack, and Sarah
Orchard Equine Retirement