Why at only 23 is he not able to be ridden anymore?
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Well he is a Thoroughbred, registered with the Jockey Club, track trained. That means by Thoroughbred standard he was broke and started racing at the age of "2" which for him was really only 1 year and 8 months because he was born in May. According to the JC he is 24 right now.
After running a couple of races he was pulled from racing and sold to become an eventer. The rest of his life consisted of him being evented up to five feet (not sure what level that is).
When he was about seventeen or so, he was pretty severely abused and neglected. He was starved, left in a stall with two feet of his own manure, had no hoof wall, a four inch coat that was matted, a chunk of metal stuck in his eye, and we believe he had been beaten as well.
He was rescued but has had lasting issues from his abuse. He is partially blind in the eye that had the metal in it, there was nothing we could do to save him from sight issues. He has matching, round scars on his hind legs (one on each leg) that lead me to believe he had something done with his tendons or something of the sort. He also has arthritis in one hind leg. It took me a year and a half of owning him to be able to fix a quarter crack in his rear hoof that was all the way to the coronet band. This created a ton of lameness issues during the healing process.
The past month he has been pulling up lame under saddle. Tried lunging him, walking him around, etc. to see why he is lame. He is perfectly sound without a rider. Gave him time off, massages, chiropractor. He seemed better. Tried riding him, instantly came up lame and back sore again. Saddle fits.
He is not happy being ridden. Yes for one because he gets sore, but I also believe that mentally he just isn't happy with it anymore. He was never an anxious horse before and now when you go to ride him he is like a coiled spring.
I whole heart-idly believe that he is done being a riding horse. It just isn't far to continue to push him when riding him does nothing but make him sore and miserable. Had him vet checked, they said I could try hock injections if I want to make him a sound riding horse, or I could just retire him since he is sound without a rider. I decided to retire.
I feel that his rough life of being ridden young and hard and then being abused and neglected really did wear down his body. Rest assured that he has a forever home with me. He just gets to be a pasture puff and keep some others horses company instead of having to be a riding horse (:
One of our last rides together: