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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been riding all my life and I'm in my late 50s. I'm considering buying a horse who is 16 yo but I'm worried that I may only have about 10 years of riding her before she might need to be retired. I'll be close to 70 then but I hope to continue to want to be on a horse. However, I don't want to invest in a horse that I will fall in love with and then be unable to ride in 10 years and then have to pay board/vet, etc perhaps for another 10 years for a horse I cannot ride until she passes away. How do other people handle this? I've seen threads about buying older horses but not much on what happens when you can no longer ride the horse and of course cannot sell the horse (since it can't be ridden) but still need to care for the horse for the rest of its life?
Wondering if I should get a horse who may be about 10 so at least I'll have hopefully a good 15 years ahead and then we may both end up retiring together! Would love to hear the thoughts of this wonderful group of people. Thank you in advance!
 

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No guarantees about anything in life, whether you'll still be riding or your horse might be rideable in 10 years. Buying any horse is taking a chance. My first horse was estimated to be 19 years old by the vet when I bought him while I was in my mid 40's. I bought him because he was cheap, nearby, and gaited and I didn't want a horse that might out live me. He's still here at 27 and I'm still riding him. Never been sick or lame a day since I've had him and he only see's the vet once a year for routine shots. We also have a mare who came to us at 16 and is still here and rideable at 24 who has only had a few minor medical issues in her time with us. Our only injuries and major medical issues have been with younger horses. We've lost two who were much younger. My thought is if a horse makes it to middle age without issues they are probably pretty healthy. Also depends on how hard of a life the horse has had before you get it and what you plan to do with it. When we got our first horse, the 16 year old mare, my mother in law told her Amish cleaning lady who commented that their horses usually don't live that long. If the horse suits your needs I wouldn't write it off due to age. With that said, my horses are kept at home so boarding is not an issue and the two I mentioned will be with us for life. We have rehomed two middle aged horses who didn't fit our program and as far as I know they are doing well at their new homes. Welcome and good luck.
 

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You know that saying "carpe diem?" I would just buy this mare if she's right for you. A lot can happen in ten years, and it's not that I'm against planning, but I would be thinking more along the lines of riding now and enjoying the partnership you can build. Good luck!
 
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You really can't make set plans with horses.
I've known lots of people with horses that had an accident or developed a health issue between 10 and 23, and the horse had to be retired.
You can easily only have ten riding years with a horse under ten.

My Arab mare had an easy life and was taken care of, started late. But she still developed back arthritis and had to be retired at 26. People say many Arabs are ridden into their 30s. She is still healthy at 29, just not ridable.

My thought is to try to get a healthy horse that meets your needs for the forseeable future. You can't control the rest. If the worst happens, it will be different with different choices for every horse. You might have a friend that wants a pasture buddy. That was an option for my mare.

You may be able to board more cheaply and keep two horses, with one you can ride. You may be able to borrow a friend's horse to ride, lease cheaply or take lessons. Who knows, people also have accidents just like horses. You can't really make plans for every contingency. Better to live life while you can, and enjoy what you have while it lasts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you everyone! Yes, I'm going to go try her out and if it's a good fit, carpe diem! Something could happen to me before her so might as well do what brings me joy in the meantime. This is a great forum and I really appreciate all of the wonderful advice!
 
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