I always thought that I knew black and white what I was going to do when my mare hit her 20's and when/how to retire her. Now I'm not so sure. I've been with this girl for my entire life and know her like the back of my hand so I suppose I've been second guessing myself and my ideas because she's special to me.
To start off, I thought she was 18 or 19. But by whatever reason I found an old vet record and it turns out that she's about 22-24. I don't know how I missed that but I'm blaming the fact that I was like 9 years old when the record was taken. I'm hoping that the vet was wrong or that we told him wrong but I'm holding out little hope for that (I am going to have the vet age her when she gets back out because I feel awful for forgetting her age).
So here's my big dilemma. My mare really only "looks her age" (but she looks pretty darn good for in her 20's!) in the winter, in the summer/spring she's fine. I've never considered my riding especially strenuous because at most it's an hour of w/t/c either with a lightweight saddle (though I'm now in the process of loosing more weight to make things easier on her) or bareback and once in a while we go for a couple hours trail ride and if she's up to it go for a nice gallop in a field. She gets stiff once in a while but if it doesn't work out of her when we're riding then I take it very easy and don't push it (but that's a rare occurrence). We're going to start her on some senior feed/msm supplements again just to give her a boost this winter and reevaluate her in the spring. She's really healthy though all things considered both physically and mentally!
I've always said that the minuet she tells me that she's done I'll quit riding her, but until then we'll just continue on like we have only I'll keep an even closer eye on her. My trainer has done the same with her older horses and one's 28 and still gives lessons once a week, the other is in his thirties and only recently retired do to a severe bout of colic so I do think that this method will work, I'm just second guessing myself at every turn . So does this still sound like a good game plan? I know that ultimately it will have to be my decision but I'm still needing advice on if I'm doing the right thing on this one. She hasn't given me any indication to stop though (aside from her typical grumpiness, but she's always been grumpy even the day I met her.) Thanks for reading I'm just feeling kinda lost right about now.