Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Because of Horses

Sep 14, 2018

Elise’s guests this episode are veterinarian Dr. Tracy Norman and Rosanna McMillan. Dr. Norman works as a vet at the Blue Ridge Equine Clinic. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, completed an internal medicine residency at Texas A&M University, and is board-certified in large animal internal medicine with an equine focus. Elise’s other guest, Rose McMillan, owns White Rock Manor — a retirement facility for horses, in Lexington, Virginia, known for providing quality, individualized care for retired horses.


So often, the horse world is judged through the lens of old age, with some believing that older horses are hard to care for and have more health issues than their younger counterparts. However, Dr. Norman and Rosanna not only shatter these misconceptions, they also share many compelling reasons why older horses may very well be preferred. They make it clear that managing an older horse can be no more complicated than caring for any other equine.


Today’s episode is a three-way panel discussion about owning, enjoying, and managing equine senior citizens — including topics such as nutrition, activity levels, stabling, blanketing, and medical and dental care — as well as what retirement looks like. They also talk about the tough issue of how to and when to say goodbye to your dear horse (or pet), regardless of its age.


Topics of Discussion:

[:45] About Elise’s guests, Dr. Tracy Norman and Rosanna McMillan.

[2:41] What are the qualities of older horses that owners enjoy so much?

[5:05] Breaking the myth that older horses are higher maintenance.

[8:05] What Dr. Norman and Rosanna wish owners knew before they decide what to do with an older horse.

[13:39] How the equine body ages and how owners can help make their golden years comfortable and great fun.

[17:40] How a horse’s dental needs change as they grow older and the importance of “floating” teeth.

[22:11] How owners know when to make changes in their horse’s tack to continue riding comfortably.

[24:10] Potential signs that indicate pain for horses of all ages.

[26:37] Why knowing your horse as an individual is so important: a story about a particular horse that was almost too good at masking pain.

[32:13] How Cushing’s Disease shows up in horses and some of the ways it can be managed.

[36:18] About Elise’s book, A Parent’s Guide to Riding Lessons.

[37:38] How owners of older horses can gauge body weight and appropriate fitness levels to ensure their horse is healthy.

[44:59] How does an owner know when it is the right time to retire a horse?

[49:28] When is it time to say goodbye, regardless of age? How do Dr. Norman and Rosanna guide owners through this discussion?

[56:05] A preview of next week’s episode!

[57:13] Giving owners “permission” to say goodbye and helping them make this most difficult decision.

[1:00:32] All about White Rock Manor is like as a retirement (or vacation option) for horses.

[1:05:18] Dr. Norman’s and Rosanna’s favorite resources for senior horses, and where to learn more about Dr. Norman’s practice and Rosanna’s work with White Rock Manor.


Know Someone Inspirational, Whose Life Has Been Forever Changed Because of Horses? Because of Horses would love to get to share their story!

To recommend someone please send an email to


Mentioned in this Episode:

Because of Horses Facebook Page

A Parent’s Guide to Riding Lessons: Everything You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive with a Horse-Loving Kid, by Elise Chand

Washington and Lee University

The Virginia Horse Center

White Rock Manor


Blue Ridge Equine Clinic

Blue Ridge Equine Clinic on Facebook


Like what you hear? Because of Horses would love to hear your feedback!

Please email to send Because of Horses your thoughts.


To Support the Podcast:

  • Donate on Paypal to help keep Because of Horses running — all amounts are welcome!