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West 01-21-2010 11:01 PM

Aging Horses
It's been years since I had that feeling of my first horse, Let alone my second. My first horse came to me when I was about 12 and that is a story all it's own.
My second horse has now turned 18 and our years together are coming to a point where they will be filled with some more riding, some illnesses and loss. Time goes by so fast. I was thinking of that the other day. I got my Silky at an auction in 1995. She as sold as an 8 year old but upon further examination I found she was only 3. She was a small little scrawny bay mare that was being sold to the meat guys as we call them. I just couldn't let it happen. I started bidding and was determined to take her home.
How fast time fly's by. That seems like yesterday and here she is 18 years old. I do not have much time to ride anymore and for that I am sad. I have promised her I would do my best to find a nice home for her. It still has not happened. She lives in a small shack with Indy my little pinto and they both have to endure the elements for the most part on their own. They are champs though and seem to do just fine. I live 12 miles from them and trek down to feed them once a day.
When I first got Silk she was drugged. The first day she was with me I took her on a ride. Well the drugs wore off on our way home and she became a complete fire ball. Not really what I was looking for. I found a very good trainer to help me with her and before the end of that next summer we were going alone very well. Silk and I attended a few open shows our second year together and our third doing pretty well for just a meat horse.
Time just seems to go by so fast that this year I plan on getting on her at least once a week. We used to ride every day but my body doesn't permit it like it used to. I also have to ride Indy my little guy. I wanted us to have a great relationship that I believe because I do not ride much we never developed. I took him to one show but he was so dirty and grimy from being out in a field all winter it was a complete embarrassment for him and me.
I know my time with Silk is coming to a fast end and it makes me sad to think about her not being with me any more. She deserves a better life than the one I am giving her. She is still my princess that does the silly things she does. So my goal is to get on her and ride as much as I can this spring and summer. To spend more time with both of them and to find us a home together. I know she could live to be well into her 30's but as fast as the time has pasted with us so far that it seems is just around the corner.

dimmers_double 01-21-2010 11:33 PM

It sounds like you and your horse have a special bond.
Khlassi is my 25 year old Arab gelding. he has been in our family since he was 6. its gonna be hard to say goodbye to him when the time comes :(. He was the horse that taught me how to ride and now i use him to teach other people to ride. he still gets ridden or worked almost every day and is doing fantastic.
My mare Emma has a pretty heartbreaking story but a happy ending. i bought her back in 2005 from one of my high school teachers. she was 7 then. she is a beautiful Appendix QH. I was told that she raced as a two year old and then did some barrel racing. she went through over a dozen owners before me (or so i was told) she was also abused at one time. her ears and face were super sensitive from someone yanking on her ears and face. she would rear up in fear. she was also scared to go through gate openings, big or small do to getting hung up on a bow gate. i have gotten her over both of those issues for the most part. every once in awhile, she has a small episode. she is scared to have anything put around her back legs. she would freak out and start violently shaking. we are still working on that one.
it took her a whole year to gain my trust. she acted like she knew she wasnt going to stick around. she has made a complete transformation. she is great on the ground (especially with children) and is a joy to ride (very fast too). i have been running her on the barrel pattern and plan to take up reining with her as soon as i can ride again (out with back injury).
Its amazing how horses can hold onto the past for so long and then be able to trust someone after so many years of abuse. I plan on keeping Emma and Khlassi for the rest of their days

thunderhooves 01-21-2010 11:34 PM

I think she has a while left. My neighbors freind still barrel races her 23 year old. It will be fine. Nice story,though! I know every horse ages differently, and I hope you two enjoy your next years together. I hope you will come here when she goes, because then we will all comfort you. :)

West 01-30-2010 11:35 PM

Since I posted this story I lost a close friend. Not my horse but one I used to take care of. Funny how I was thinking of silks death and my Friends horse died. His name was Cork and he was a stallion on a farm I have worked at for 7 years. There were days he could be a handful and when I first met him I was very intimidated. I never had worked with a stallion before him. We got things worked out and became good friends. The woman who owns him is over 70 and until 3 years ago still rode him once a week. He died at 36. I will miss him and his special gifts. He taught me a lot and we shared the same birthday. He is now free to run where he wishes.

Walkamile 01-31-2010 04:40 PM

Wow West, a 36 year old stallion, still being ridden till his passing. That to me is very impressive.

Like you, I have an older horse, my mare T. She will be turning 21 soon, and has been a very healthy horse until a few years ago. We are battling to save her eyesight, and then a further complication developed that we, the vet and I , will be exploring further.

She is my girl. I trust and know this horse completely. Being with her on the trails is effortless. She knows me and has given her trust to me. I am honored by this.

Because of the ERU, our riding is interrupted and therefore her conditioning is too. But, I will enjoy this so very special horse for as long as her health will allow.

Anyone with an older horse that has spent hours in the saddle and out with them knows what we are talking about. I can only hope Walka, her last foal who is soon to be 12, will be a fraction of what she has been.

He has shown that he has it in him, I just haven't embraced it because , I suppose, I feel it means letting T go in a way. But I am trying to reconcile this in my heart/head, and give him the opportunity to be my primary mount, and save the easy days for T.

May you enjoy your older horse for many years yet.

West 02-17-2010 10:11 PM

Yes having an older horse is a special gift. I have many stories to tell about my little mare. She is my charm and has got me through many a bad day.
Those who love to ride or just be around horses know what this feeling is. It is a disconnection from the real world while your at the barn or out riding. It is a real freedom to be able to mount such a beautiful graceful creature and have them give into your needs. We help them but we can never give them what we get from them. I truly will miss my girl and cherish every day I have with her. I am hoping for an early spring so we can begin to ride. I am lucky she has her health at this point and want to get every enjoyable minute with her I can. Even if it means only brushing her or braiding her main and fussing with her.
I really wish I had some videos of our beginning. What a fiasco it was. I will write about it my next post.

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