Well I have had to make some hard decisions in the last week or so. I had the option of pursuing keeping my 23 year old gelding as a riding horse, or retiring him.
Now before anyone goes crazy (kidding), I was (and am) keeping him regardless of my decision. Really it was just deciding if his riding career should end or not.
The last month has been really rough for us. He has been acting out in a pretty severe (for him) manner. Being extremely hard to handle under saddle, pent up and anxious during almost every ride, bucked twice at a show, bolting, refusing to do simple tasks, etc. All things that aren't extreme, but things that are very odd behavior for him. I always said that he would tell me when he didn't want to be ridden anymore, and after sitting back and thinking about the last month I am convinced that time has come.
He is not suitable to carry the weight of a rider anymore and I think mentally he is just done being a working horse. He enjoys his time being brushed and loved on. Comes up to me and sticks his head against my chest whenever he sees me.
So I made the decision to retire him completely a couple of days ago. This was a hard blow because it meant that I was out a riding horse (my only horse). But I have decided that I am going to lease a horse that I can ride. I am choosing to lease so that if anything were to happen to my gelding that required extra money I could send the lease horse back and focus my time, energy and resources on him. He is, and always will be, my sole responsibility.
Currently I am keeping him boarded for the next month or so. After that he will be moved to a friend's property. She has a large pasture that he will be able to run around and play in, which will be good for him. The boarding facility isn't set up for retired horses, so he doesn't have much room to exercise himself. I think sending him to pasture until I am able to purchase my own property will be better for him.
So anyway, I found a mare to try out and we are going to pick her up next weekend for a week trial. After that week, if I like her, I will lease her from there.
Without further ado, here she is.
15 years old
Tons of eventing experience
(I will get more pictures once I have her. These are just from her owner's web page)