Horse doesn't like retirement...
My older guy isn't taking well to the retired life. He was always a "performer" and it has been hard on him being out of the lime light. I retired him because his arthritis was hurting him and he was diagnosed with ringbone. Once a week I take him on a walking only trail ride. I groom him atleast 4 times a week and all his basic needs are met ie free choice food, room to move (never stalled), fresh water and carrots and apples for snacks once a day. But whenever I work my new guy he comes over to the corner closest to the arena and looks so sad. He doesn't understand that it will hurt his body to work? Any ideas or similar stories?
Some horses just love to have a job and get very depressed or angry if they are not used. That is one thing that is a problem with horses is that they don't understand that more work could really hurt them, they just want to work. How old is he? Have you considered maybe donating him to a place where they give therapy sessions for handicapped people and children? That would give him a job every day and those horses are very well cared for. Of course, I don't even know if his temperment would be suitable for something like that.
I heard a story about a little black mustang mare that some people bought with the intention of just having her as a pleasure mount for leisurely rides one or two times a week. Almost immediately, she began to misbehave to the point that the owners were unable to handle her. The sent her to a trainer that was working in a feed lot and the mare thrived there. She would stick her head in the bridle every morning and the trainer had to almost fight her off to catch a different horse. He never had a problem with her and she seemed to be able to go forever and was an absolute angel. He sent her back to the owners and within about 3 weeks, she was back to her old problems and they ended up taking her to the sale barn.
You might look around to see if you can find a job for him that can keep him busy without causing him much pain or maybe get a companion for him that he can play and visit with. Past that, I don't know what else could help.
I like the suggestion of looking into therapeutic riding. I hope you find a suitable job for the old guy!
When my old girl had to retire at the age of 15 due to a deep flexor tendon injury, she was completely depressed. My younger mare stepped in as my main horse and my old girl was horrified! haha. She would mope around until I rode her and made her feel useful. She's now 17 and it's a bit better now but she still wants to be the center of attention over Uma.
To pass the time for her, I groom her all the time, give her extra treats, and make her feel like she's still my main girl. I ride her occasionally, but she has found a new passion for carrying around little ones. She LOVES the undivided attention she recieves from children and although she is a TB, she is the quietest animal on the planet. The kids love to dote over her and learn everything from picking up her hooves to how to post the trot. I have found that Ginisee is so much happier when she feels like she has a job!
Goldi and Smrobs...donation is absolutely out of the question. He's not that upset with his life for me to get rid of him...I owe him a forever home. And his temperament is not suited for it at all. Im hoping he will work for my daughter but she is going to have to learn how to be around him. He's never been one of those "babysitter" horses and is an even bigger bully to other horses.
Have you thought about volunteering you and him at like a 4h thing or something? Where they(the kids) can learn how to groom, pick hooves, act around horses, and if he's able to, give them mini lessons?
I like the idea idea of therapy riding, too.
We had an old guy who was 38, half arabian. He was the fastest horse at the barn, totally hyper and energetic; but he was so old, he was running his legs down. We couldn't retire him, he'd go crazy... and we ended up having to put him down. =[ Hope your guy doesn't end up like Badger.. :(
Anyways, you could always walk him around just a little. I mean, he's probably walking around in the field anyways, and that might satisfy him.
I agree with smrobs on the fact that some horses just absolutely love to work. They love their jobs and they want to please.
I would just suggest giving him more of a job than he has now. You said you walk him down trail once a week? I may bump it up to two-three times, or even if you could get him out and walk him everyday in the arena for a good 20 minutes. Make him still feel like he has a job. If he has arthritis this will actually help with it. You dont want an arthritic horse just standing around, they can stock up or get much stiffer.
Thanks everybody for the input! I will just have to make time to ride him more than once a week I think. His personality/energy level is not appropriate for most children so he could not do therapy or volunteer work. And he definitely doesn't sit around...we do Jacksons paddock paradise 24/7 so he spools around that circle searching for hay constantly. He looked much more please with himself today...kind of smirky...I think because it was sooo hot today. He was standing there under his big shade tree watching Parker work...like neener neener boo boo.:lol:
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