Out To Pasture

Fall Foliage-406(Click on photo for full size)

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We all think about it: What will we do with our horses when they grow old and unable to perform the tasks we got them to do? I didn’t have to think about it for very long. Suddenly that moment had arrived and I knew I had to face the inevitable. But I was lucky, I was able to keep, even ride (lightly) my aged mare until just a week or so before she left for greener pastures. Other people haven’t been so lucky.

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I know there are places where owners can retire their senior horses. A retirement farm will care for the aged equine and provide for their comfort while allowing the owner to move on with a younger mount if desired. Few people have the luxury of being able to stable and ride more than one horse at a time, so unfortunately that means sending your beloved, faithful senior to go live out the remainder of their golden years under the care of someone else. If the owner is lucky, they’ll find a retirement farm close to home, but often that’s not the case. Some owners have to send their horses to live in another state, where they’ll have limited access to them. That means relying on internet updates, photos and phone calls to stay abreast of the weekly or monthly changes.

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I can understand wanting to make room in your heart and barn to move on with a younger horse. After all, most horses don’t live but maybe a third of a human life span. But I can’t imagine missing those last few years of my horse’s life. Tia was engaging and fun right up until the week she passed on. To have missed those last few rides and months with her would have left me feeling sad and …. well, maybe just a bit neglectful. So with that said, if money was no object and I had all the time (and energy) in the world, I would love to have a retirement horse farm. I know caring for some aged horses can be stressful and hard work, but I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for elderly equines. I suppose running an old horse farm doesn’t exactly fall under the heading of a charity but it’s probably about as close as I’m ever going to come.

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13 thoughts on “Out To Pasture

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  2. Lovely. Along theses lines, both people and horses would both benefit from putting older well trained horses together with young/beginning riders. Like grandparents, older horses have a lot to teach the younger set.

    • Yes, sometimes if the horse has the ability to be ridden that’s a good solution. But that’s not always the case. I mean, I don’t think my grandmother would really have wanted to stand in my kitchen for an hour every day teaching me how to can or cook. I kinda think retirement should mean just that if need be. It tugs at my heart when I hear about people selling their aged horse to someone to use in a lesson program. Good grief. They may be bomb-proof, but give it a break.

        • Ah yes. That IS paradise! I did that as a kid. But do kids even do that anymore? Seems like today every child I know is being shuttled to and from one class and competition or another. No time to just hang out with a horse and …. yanno …. be a kid? Too busy becoming the next Olympian or shaping their resume for college. 😉

          • Me too, so it may be wishful thinking on my part. But just hanging out together would make such a difference for so many kids and so many horses….

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