What To Do?
I have a friend that has a horse dilemma. She asked me to reach out and help her find a solution. She has a 19 yr old Thoroughbred gelding that has arthritis. The horse has always been lame but likes having a job. He comes out really stiff, but works out of it after 15mins or so. My friend has another horse and is looking to retire the Thoroughbred gelding or sell him because she can no longer afford two horses. She can't find any retirement places that offer boarding in her price range. She also apparently tried to give him to an equine therapy facility for disabled kids, but the didn't have any room to take him. What are the chances of her being able to sell him to a good home for next to nothing?
Depends on the area and horse market. With the arthritis, I wouldn't have high hopes. She could consult a vet and see if there's anything that she can do to help with the lameness. Some people will accept an arthritic horse if there's a known management system that is keepin the horse happy and sound. Most people would not be willing to take on an aged horse with soundness issues and take a gamble on whether or not supplements or meds would help.
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Her best bet would likely be to try to find him a home as a companion horse or a family horse where he would give leisurely pony rides once a week or so. I'd probably not try to get any money from him because she may never find a home willing to buy him.
I'd look for a companion home for him. Also, some people don't always take on horses to ride. I know a lady here who has 3 and she never rides. She likes horses that are older and just has them as pasture pets where she grooms them and spends a lot of time with them on the ground.
As DA said, your friend will likely have a difficult time, placing this horse. Certainly she could advertise him for next to nothing, but what kind of a home will be be getting? Could she be sure that the new owner would keep up with the costly medication he will possibly need for the next 10 or even 20 years? Could she be sure he wouldn't be abused by new people riding him without his meds? Could she be sure he wouldn't end up on someone's dinner table? The answer to all really, is a 'no'.
So she is left with one alternative and I know she won't like it, but if a truly suitable home is not found, then she should do right by the old fellow and put him quietly to sleep. And really, he is not old by today's standards, so having arthitis already, and should he live a very long time, it will only get worse and become costly.
We took in a very arthritic TB. He was in his 30's. Luckily he has been placed with a friend of ours. They have adored him for a few years now. He is fed, fussed over, given his meds, groomed and well loved. He is now going on 40 years old. VERY few will be this lucky.
Smrobs, I meant list him and sell him to a good home for like $1 to make it legal. I should have clarified. Sorry. I know it would be hard to place him. He is a super gentle horse who is great with kids. I hope that she'll find him a home where he'd be a pasture buddy and do pony rides once in a blue moon for little kids. I haven't suggested euthanizing him yet because this is her first horse and I know she just wants him to have a good home. I know it is a very real possibility that she will have to euthanize him. I'll put the idea to her gently. It will be a last resort though. I have informed her of the very real possibility of not knowing where he could end up eventually, good, bad, or indifferent. She is aware of the risks, but really feels that she can feel out a good place for him.
Do you have any recommendations on where and how to advertise him as a companion horse?
There are many websites where she could list her horse. The better idea, is for her to advertise somewhat locally, where she could visit the horse occasionally.
She will need a contract, spelling out exactly what she requires of the new owners and what is not to be done with him. This will also help weed out those who just want a free horse and let their kids and their friends ride him and possibly make his problems a lot worse. I repeat the word 'exactly'.
This should include his housing, diet requirements, supplements and medication for his problems, how much riding and by what size riders and anything else peculiar to him, his age and condition.
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