Freeze Frame

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If I could make time stand still I’d spend one more day with Tia.

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Work or Play

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When I was young my favorite toys were plastic horses. I didn’t just collect them and put them on a shelf. No, I got them out almost daily and played with them. I played make believe because we didn’t have computers or the Internet or prefabricated play barns or stuff like that. Instead I used empty shoe boxes and the legs under the dining room table to “build” my stable and house my trusty steeds. I “fed” my horses shredded Kleenex for hay and made up lots of elaborate stories about wild ponies that needed to be rescued and trained. Naturally, I always played the part of the heroine cowgirl.

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¬†When I got a little older I progressed to the real deal. And I’ve never looked back. I’d like to imagine the young lady in the photo is a lot like I was at her age; more happy being with real horses than collecting them and putting them on a shelf.

Out To Pasture

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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.