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Retiring your horse

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        10-02-2013, 10:07 AM
      #11
    Weanling
    I think you should check into the idea of a retirement boarding farm! Let us know what you find out, I'm curious about hurdles, things we may not even think about. I think the rewards would outweigh the heartaches- that's the old hospice nurse in me coming out :)
         
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        10-02-2013, 12:46 PM
      #12
    Trained
    I've got two in retirement right now. One is 26 and the other is 27. The 26 year old was my old "gaming" and trail horse for years. The 27 year old I got as an 18 year old when her owner had to go in for mulitple surgeries and could not care for her. She was shown as a youngster all over and retired to a broodmare. Sorta wish I had gotten a foal out of her.
    The 26 is in great health other then a small blind spot. The 27 year old is also having eye problems and getting arthritis now, so I'm supplementing, but I don't know how she will handle this winter.
    I'm lucky enough that I have 160 acres and rent another 80 acres so I'm not short of space for them. I will let them stay here until they go of natural causes one morning or I have to make that decision. When I was in a car wreck and couldn't walk for 5 months, it was the youngsters that went, not my old ones. Letting them go in a tough decision, but I won't let them suffer, either. I suppose they will both let me know when it's time to go.
         
        10-06-2013, 08:20 AM
      #13
    Foal
    I have been lucky enough to keep my retired horses at home when they are past their prime. That is my first choice. We also own a Retirement Facility as of a few years ago :) For most people we would have no advantage over keeping their horse at home where they can take care of them themselves. We mainly have clients that don't have their horses at home, or that save quite a bit of money boarding with us over a traditional riding/training barn. There is a definite market - but it is small, so we have grown slowly (perfect for us). Do a business plan - it helps a lot!
         
        10-06-2013, 12:54 PM
      #14
    Yearling
    I have a 28 year old gelding that I've had since he was 2. He more than earned the retirement that he's enjoying although he still has a few odd jobs. If there's a little kid here that just wants to sit on a horsey, he's my man. If one of the younger horses are spooked by something I can use him to show them there is absolutely nothing to be scared of. He's also the herd leader so they pay attention when he's showing them something is ok. He gets whatever he needs in order to keep him healthy and happy.

    With that being said, he is the most expensive horse to keep that I own. So, if you want to start a retirement boarding facility don't go into it thinking you can charge way less than a normal boarding facility, throw them out on pasture and make a profit. Sure some can thrive that way up to a certain point but there comes a time where you have to supplement their pasture with feed. Then there'll come a time when they can no longer easily chew their hay in winter so you have to provide processed forage (soaked hay pellets, cubes, beet pulp, whatever). When you add all these things it takes them forever to eat and you'll have to make sure they are separated from the other horses so they don't get run off before they're finished eating.

    If you plan on your boarding facility furnishing all the food they need & full care just keep all that in mind while considering what you are going to charge.
         
        10-06-2013, 01:10 PM
      #15
    Yearling
    My barn where I board does a few "retired" boarders. We had a nice show mare come from California to live out her days with the herd, a nice old gelding who lived out his days in the field, and a couple of others. I like the idea of a retirement home for horses but personally I don't think I could send either of mine off. I don't think that with my current two I could send them to a therapeutic place because I enjoy their company too much and though it's selfish I want to see them every day. (Well, and my geldings neurotic and my mare retired from lessons so other than the occasional short pony ride she's never going back to that).

    I'm having to consider these things about my mare as she's about 20 and is beginning to show her age. I decided that I'd break her to drive and if she takes to it then great, if not then that's swell. When she can't do the riding as much or at all I'll start driving her until she's no longer sound for that. I believe work is good for the older horse, and keeps them from tying up and getting arthritis real bad. My mare will always have a home with me even when the most she can do is eat and keep me company.

    My gelding is another matter, he's up there in years to, but when he is no longer okay to be ridden honestly I will probably keep him as a pasture ornament and just continue his trick training. I don't trust him pulling a cart and he's been through enough in his life all ready that I want him to live out the rest of his days in his herd and with his people.
         
        10-06-2013, 01:17 PM
      #16
    Started
    I don't have the land to keep mine through retirement age unless I'm retiring from the saddle as well, but already know both will go to my old boss. He is a trainer who also breeds a handful of mares every year. My gelding will become a babysitter for the foals once they are weaned. He will still have a warm bed, and a full belly every night but his job will be simply to keep the youngsters calm and relaxed. No better man for the job and I love knowing I won't have to worry about him as I can visit him whenever I want :)
         
        10-06-2013, 02:07 PM
      #17
    Cat
    Green Broke
    I have land, so as long as a retired one is comfortable they will be staying here. If they are not comfortable then they will be put to sleep so they don't suffer. They will not be passed on to anyone else.

    However - your idea of a retirement facility is a great idea. There is one a couple hours away from me that has a really good reputation. People from out of state keep retired horses there even. So if you research and then work on getting a well-run facility that keeps a good reputation you will get customers from all over.
         
        10-06-2013, 04:11 PM
      #18
    Weanling
    My horse will also not leave me once he becomes unrideable. I hope it will be many years from now, and not sure what the arrangement will be then (in an ideal world, we'll have enough space to keep him on our property by then), but he won't be going far away from me.
    I am VERY wary of giving away an unusable horse for free and I question the motives of people who are willing to tae on a free retiree. Of coure, there are always exceptions to the rule, but I've seen too many cases of these horses going on a painful journey through a few hands, because the new owners lose interest or realize there's more to caring for a retired horse than putting it in a field and letting it eat grass.

    A "retirement home" in my vicinity I might consider, but I wouldn't send my horse far away where I couldn't check up on him regularly. I think the problem with retirement facilities and such is that a horse usually becomes more and more expensive to maintain in good shape as it becomes old (feed, extra care, vet, teeth etc). Many people - despite good intentions at first - are not willing and/or able to pay this for a horse they don't use. So I agree with the previous poster, if you want to do things right, you'd probably end up charging more for the full care of a retired horse than one that's healthy and still being used. Also, what if the owner lives far away and you disagree on when a vet is needed, when the horse shuld receive etra feed / supplements, etc? Would you be able to make an owner pay for the care that you deem necessary, or would the horse go untreated in your care?

    All things you would have to cosider carefully before starting such an undertaking...
         
        10-06-2013, 05:38 PM
      #19
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by boots    
    I dealt with the "what to do" question with my kids first mare. After my thinking and planning, she led the process.

    When she became too old to keep up with the day to day work, she became the favorite for short rides by us (check water, open or close a gate, get the mail) and took unskilled guests around the pretty pasture in front of the house. When her conformation changed and saddles didn't fit right, but she still felt well, she became the horse that we led little ones on with a bareback pad. When really all she wanted to do was stand a bit, eat a bit, and drink enough, that's what she did. For about 8 months.

    Finally, most of her teeth were gone. She was 32. Winter was coming. And there was no way I was going to a) keep her stalled (away from others and risk the health problems associated with that), or b) let a predator take her down and... well, they start eating herbivores like horses, deer and all while still alive!

    So I put her to sleep, non-chemically, because of the toxic results on the environment. She was not going to be able to maintain health that winter and condemning her to that would have been unkind.
    It's always been that way with my family. Horses need to work. I even sold one of the best horses I've ever had because I was no longer able to use her to anywhere near her potential (I wasn't working cattle or hunting from her back anymore) so she went to someone who could appreciate all her talent.
    They work at something and when the time comes that their quality of life and ability to do things isn't there anymore they've been put down by someone in the family.
    My cousin Russell will teach them to pull a plow and wagon when they aren't up to the riding needs and when the plow is too much they can turn the cane press. When they can't do that then they basically can't walk well and their quality of life is gone and they'll be starting to suffer. Then it's time.
    While I'd have a tough time eating one of mine, I'm thinking about looking into dressing out one that's not mine. When you think about the amount of meat that's being left to the worms or buzzards. It bothers me to think about mine rotting and becoming a lower life form more than it bothers me to think of them becoming a higher life form. Just haven't mastered being able to take a knife to one of my horses (or dogs), but I could do one that I didn't know. I might need to visit Russell and see who's getting old (besides Russell )
    boots likes this.
         

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