Retirement home ads

I always wonder why there are so many posted ads to place horses in retirement homes?

Not to sound super critical but if you take in a horse, shouldn’t it be for it’s life nomatter what happens? I understand there are exceptions but can’t help think shouldn’t we be planning out ahead of time what we will do for our horses before we are put in the unhappy situation of having to take care of a lame or elderly horse?

I don’t know about anyone else but I can’t bear the thought of getting rid of my riding partner. It feels too much like disposal to me personally. I feel as though I sign a contract when taking on an animal…it’s for life for me.

I’d love to hear opinions on this because I have a hard time understanding the other side of it.

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One Response to Retirement home ads

  1. rontuaru says:

    Most of the people I know who’ve had to retire a horse did so because the horse suffered a career ending health issue and/or injury. By career ending I mean that it could no longer be ridden in any venue. We nearly had a five year-old have a career ending injury the second year we owned him. He had to take the better part of a full year off, and after that he was never ridden hard again. Now we did the opposite of what most people do, which is instead of retiring him and placing him elsewhere, we kept him and got a third horse. So he still got ridden lightly …. enough to keep him reasonably fit and mentally sane, but never was used heavily again. (We used to joke that it wasn’t in his “contract” to be ridden more than three times a month!) The third horse became the main riding horse instead.

    Now we were lucky. We had just enough land and (barely) enough barn to handle another horse. Not to mention the expense, which tripled, at about the same time as I became disabled and had to retire. (At age 40) So we didn’t make this decision lightly. Still, most people here do not have that luxury. So unless you’re willing to call your riding quits and live out your horses retirement with him, you’re screwed. There is no way my husband would have given up riding at 38 just because his horse was seriously injured. But many people have to choose between that or moving the horse into a retirement situation before they can replace it with a healthy, functional horse.

    Connecticut has the highest number of horses per-capita in the country, but size-wise we are (I think) the second smallest state. So there are a lot of people who own horses, but probably don’t keep them in their back yard. And even if they do, like us, they have small hobby farms under 5 acres. (We have only 6.6 acres, but live next to a large state forest) So those people can’t legally keep multiple horses on their property even if they wanted to. Others have to board, and the average cost of that (without extra training) is anywhere from $500-$850 a month. It quickly becomes cost prohibitive to board multiple horses, especially one you can’t ride. It’s one thing to support a lawn ornament when you keep it in your back yard, but it’s a pretty bitter pill to have to pay a lot of money, possibly for a very long time, to keep a roof over it’s head.

    Like you, my horses are keepers. But I can’t fault folks who have to retire their horses and decide move on. It’s one of the conundrums I guess of owning a large animal, especially here.

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