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To retire or not to retire ?

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  • When is it time to retire a young horse
  • Retire horse age school

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    08-26-2012, 01:38 PM
  #11
Started
I wouldn't think about retiring him yet, especially when you admit that you haven't had the time to actually get him in good shape and ride him regularly of late. Of course an older out of shape horse is going to be dull when it's hot out. My 7 year old has been dull lately too.

Bring him back into regular work, warm him up, get some muscle and fitness on him, teach him how to go out on trails safely, and then go from there. My friend's TB is getting retrained to be a trail horse at the age of 17 and it's doing him good. New challenges keep them sharp. Same old same old makes them dull.
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    08-26-2012, 01:48 PM
  #12
Trained
Back 30 odd years ago, we thought horses in their teens were old. I 'retired' my old QH from riding the hunter show circuit at 18 and brought him home and started trail riding on him. I pretty much expected him to lay down and die any day. Well, I just put him down due to severe arthritis in the winter of 2011. He was 32 years old and except for the arthritis, totally healthy. He kept his weight great, and until he got too stiff and sore to ride, he loved trails and parades.

Now we don't think 18 or 19 is all that old anymore, and I certainly wouldn't think a horse that hadn't been ridden but 3 times in the last year was so old he needed retirement.

I'd start riding him, and expect him to complain a little, and get him back in shape. He's out on pasture eating and being lazy and it's become a habit. If in 6 months you don't see a change for the better, then you might think of selling him on if you need a more energetic horse.

I currently have a 2 year old QH STALLION and he's so lazy the trainer has to set his dogs on the horses heels to get him to speed up. He's just lazy by nature, hasn't got a thing in the world wrong with him but he has no FAST on his speedometer. That's ok with me, I want a western pleasure horse but if I'd bought him for a hunter, yeah! That would not be happening.
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    08-26-2012, 10:20 PM
  #13
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by boots    
I don't keep horses forever. Sounds like you need a horse that can do more than the one you have, try to sell him.

But, it sounds like you made a poor decision when you bought this horse. And, on a budget, have a young horse that won't be worked for years? Perhaps, get the input of an unbiased, knowledgeable horseperson next time you shop.
Again, as I had mentioned he was a horse that was supposed to be younger and my yearling will be in training next year as a two year old, so the yearling is not a problem.

Also as of right now, I am not concerned about money. I had thought of what I was getting into when I purchased my yearling, and know money is not a problem for myself to afford them both on myself, I work my back end off, like crazy. But it's worth it, I still planning on doing just that, during my school year non stop.

I'm saying though in the future, I am naturally a worry wart and worry for the best about my finances as I have come from a very unstable, bad with money family, I don't want to be put into debt and become like them, and right now I honestly feel I am more than well off for my age.

Thank you to everyone for your suggestions ! I do agree, and I will keep at it most definitely, I had a surgery the beginning of my summer. So that put me off riding for the past 2 months, with him not really being ridden since March, so he is being put back into a workload and I do expect him to be lazy, and to test me, and to try and get out of it. That is where we are getting at, he is learning that I will not be pushed around and when I want something, I expect it, and if he gives me what I want, he gets slack.

I really do not consider 19 old AT all, In fact I've also had his previous owner suggest me against leasing him out, only because of how sensitive of a horse he is, but overall, I am looking for a leaser at the moment so I can get his ride load increased, and then we are planning on moving to a different barn, which is of course more expensive then my current barn but its what I need to keep him going during the winter.

My yearling. Costs me next to nothing.
     
    08-26-2012, 11:26 PM
  #14
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwisterRush    
I also want to admit, that I am nervous of owning older horses, due to the fact I have had my 21 year old pass away last year and that literally broke my heart, I have to say, I am afraid of the same outcome.
I know how hard it is to lose animals like that, and I freely confess that I dread the day that time arrives for my Huey. And that was something that was a big factor in my decision to buy him last year, when he was 17...

...and it stayed a big factor until I realized that young horses, adult horses, middle-aged horses, elderly horses - all of them - can get terrible injuries, or catch horrible diseases, or colic, and have to be put down even if they are young.

I think that any time you decide to own a horse, you have to confront that fear, or worry, or nervousness about possibly having to put your steed to sleep and losing a best friend. And it's not just horses - it's about 1,000,000 times worse when you're having a baby, or when you get married. The ultimate loss is always part of the deal from the very beginning. It's life. If you want that rewarding relationship, you take on the risk that you'll lose it all. In fact, it's almost guaranteed.

But we do it anyway, knowing - at the beginning - what the end will be. There's no surprise plot twist, here. No person, no animal, gets out of this alive, and unless that person or animal has led a sterile, cold, and solitary life, someone is going to miss it tremendously when it's gone. It's painful. Even when you know what's going to happen, and you prepare yourself for it as well as you can mentally, it still hurts like heck, and that loss still leaves a hole in your life. It always will be there. Hole hurts less after a while, but it's still there.

So, I am VERY sorry that you lost your other horse, and I know very much how frightening that is, and I applaud you for being willing to enter into that kind of relationship again. It means you are a strong person.

What I'm saying up there is scary, yes, but it can also be a source of strength. It is entirely possible that your yearling will die, or have to be put to sleep, before your middle-aged work-horse. It is not a question of "will you experience that pain" it is a question of "when will you experience that pain". You're already in that water with both of these horses. My advice is to just dive right on in. Let your older boy have your heart, right along with the yearling. Love him, ride him, challenge him, keep his mind active. You may still have another 20 years on him. There are two horses in my barn that are nearly 40, and they're both still trucking right along.
     
    08-26-2012, 11:58 PM
  #15
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThursdayNext    
I know how hard it is to lose animals like that, and I freely confess that I dread the day that time arrives for my Huey. And that was something that was a big factor in my decision to buy him last year, when he was 17...

...and it stayed a big factor until I realized that young horses, adult horses, middle-aged horses, elderly horses - all of them - can get terrible injuries, or catch horrible diseases, or colic, and have to be put down even if they are young.

I think that any time you decide to own a horse, you have to confront that fear, or worry, or nervousness about possibly having to put your steed to sleep and losing a best friend. And it's not just horses - it's about 1,000,000 times worse when you're having a baby, or when you get married. The ultimate loss is always part of the deal from the very beginning. It's life. If you want that rewarding relationship, you take on the risk that you'll lose it all. In fact, it's almost guaranteed.

But we do it anyway, knowing - at the beginning - what the end will be. There's no surprise plot twist, here. No person, no animal, gets out of this alive, and unless that person or animal has led a sterile, cold, and solitary life, someone is going to miss it tremendously when it's gone. It's painful. Even when you know what's going to happen, and you prepare yourself for it as well as you can mentally, it still hurts like heck, and that loss still leaves a hole in your life. It always will be there. Hole hurts less after a while, but it's still there.

So, I am VERY sorry that you lost your other horse, and I know very much how frightening that is, and I applaud you for being willing to enter into that kind of relationship again. It means you are a strong person.

What I'm saying up there is scary, yes, but it can also be a source of strength. It is entirely possible that your yearling will die, or have to be put to sleep, before your middle-aged work-horse. It is not a question of "will you experience that pain" it is a question of "when will you experience that pain". You're already in that water with both of these horses. My advice is to just dive right on in. Let your older boy have your heart, right along with the yearling. Love him, ride him, challenge him, keep his mind active. You may still have another 20 years on him. There are two horses in my barn that are nearly 40, and they're both still trucking right along.

Honestly, this is the type of words I needed to hear so much from someone.

It is true, you are right, to the point it makes me shiver, that it can happen to any horse ,at any time. Because no only in October did I need to put down my 21 year old, but December I had to put down my 8 year old, so I took a double blow within a short amount of time and I guess that does make me timid, and worried and that is the type of person I am.

Horses are next to the only thing I let myself get close to and now I have a hard time really letting myself, care that much because of how greatly I was hurt.

I do need to accept it wont always be like that, and that I need to not give up and just keep going. Thank you for that. I really hope you are right. I really do.

It's not the fact of his usefulness towards me, that's the truth.
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    08-27-2012, 12:23 AM
  #16
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwisterRush    
Horses are next to the only thing I let myself get close to and now I have a hard time really letting myself, care that much because of how greatly I was hurt.
It hurts like Hayell to have to let one go that you've become really close to. I still miss Lucky every day. Understand that if you don't take the risk of loving them and getting close to them, you're cheating YOURSELF out of some of the greatest joy you can ever have. With great joy comes great pain when loss occurs, but without it what's the point of going on? If you paint yourself into an emotional corner so that you stay 'safe' and don't feel any pain, you also lose the opportunity to feel joy and everything becomes bland and really, to me, depressing. Horses are the greatest joy of my life and they are my greatest sadness when I lose one and they're also my biggest PIA. And I wouldn't change a thing.

Be safe when it comes to physical danger, investing money and buying things like houses. Be really adventurous when it comes to loving your horses, it pays back in so many different, rich ways.



Here's the old man just a few months before I had to let him go. He was such a sweet boy and I had him for 30 years! What joy I had in those years. Losing him was painful but no one can take away the joy and fun we had together.



And here he is back in the day when he wore and 82" blanket and 56" girth, about 8 years old.
     
    08-27-2012, 12:33 AM
  #17
Yearling
Thank you DCA <3 you're post actually made me tear up.

I guess I just need to not feel so afraid, and just.. go with it all. Not expect something that can happen for a very long time and just relax.
     
    08-28-2012, 08:19 PM
  #18
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwisterRush    
Horses are next to the only thing I let myself get close to and now I have a hard time really letting myself, care that much because of how greatly I was hurt.

I do need to accept it wont always be like that, and that I need to not give up and just keep going. Thank you for that. I really hope you are right. I really do.

It's not the fact of his usefulness towards me, that's the truth.
Huey is my first horse, and I'm 45. It took me a LONG time to be able to get to have a horse, and I've wanted one since I can't even remember when. And he's an AMAZING horse in so many ways.

And 1 week to the day after I bought him, the horse in the next stall over, who was 2 years younger than Huey, colicked in the middle of the night and died.

It was terrifying. All I could think was "that could have been Huey!!" It was so incredibly scary, I lost sleep, I kept crying, and it wasn't even my horse, it just really brought it home hard that stuff can *just happen*. And I kept thinking about how completely devastated I would be if that were Huey, and I couldn't imagine, and I've had animals my whole life, animals I loved, and that I had to put to sleep, so I *know* what it's about. But it was STILL scary as heck.

After a day or so, I said to myself, "You need to pull yourself together and make a decision. Either you're going to be so scared that something will happen to Huey and it will hurt bad that you don't let yourself get close to him, and he stays a distant animal that lives in someone else's barn and you treat him like a lesson horse that you get to ride a lot, because that's the only way to make this hurt less when it happens. Or your going to pull up your Big Girl Panties and LAUGH in the face of fate, and say 'Yeah, that's going to happen and it's going to really suck when it does, but I REFUSE to live my life in fear and I WILL go and have the best relationship I can, and when it hurts, I'm going to go ahead and feel that and be miserable, and know that it was worth it anyway."

And that's what I did. I decided that the answer to my fears was to stare 'em down and go OUT to that barn and give my heart to that horse as hard and as fast as I could. I'm glad I made that decision, even though I know it's going to be truly awful somewhere down the line.

You just can't get the Really Good Stuff without taking on that risk too.
     
    08-28-2012, 08:44 PM
  #19
Started
My humble opinion. If you can't commit (within reasonable prediction of the future) to providing care for a horse's lifetime then buying is not the best option. There are very few good homes left for typical horses. At our rescue we get calls Every Day for young, sound, fairly well trained horses who have no where to go. Do not buy a horse you can not keep if a better home doesn't arise. This, of course is within reason, you can't predict everything and shouldn't be faulted for having something come up.
But if you KNOW you can not commit a life time of love and quality care for a horse then the best option would be leasing. You can full lease horses for long term. You can compete in many levels with leased horses. If for some reason the horse doesn't work out it's not hard to switch and no one is being let down or put in a difficult situation.

Now if you can keep him, but are just afraid that he may not be around for long, remember - tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.
The best way I think to wake him up is to make training more fun. Sounds like he's bored doing his arena work - try giving him some pick me ups. Carry some treats on you while you ride, when he does something exceptionally well turn him to you and sneak him a treat. Knowing that something That good could happen he will keep trying and be more motivated. Obviously this is just a little patch to pick him up, but you could always do things to make riding in general more fun. Why not take him out on the trails for a while? He's not going to perk up and want to work just by being worked more and harder, it's just going to drain him. A 19 year old horse shouldn't be that mellow without a valid health reason. Having had a few mares make it to 38 and sound enough to take for little plodding rides, 19 is still a baby! Don't give up on him. :)
     
    08-28-2012, 09:29 PM
  #20
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians    


And here he is back in the day when he wore and 82" blanket and 56" girth, about 8 years old.
ROFL, Dreamcatcher...I looked at this pic and all I could think of was of that SmartPak ad about how one-size-doesn't-fit-all and it's got a massive horse wearing a mini saddle...
     

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