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BarleyTwist
May. 11, 2010, 10:55 AM
Hi, any ideas about placing a retired horse in safe, happy, healthy environment in southeastern US? Horse needs home immediately, but must also find home where he can be companion horse as $$ currently unavailble to keep him. This is for a good friend who takes excellent care of her horses. I am researching as she is busy at work and at home. Thanks!

RockinHorse
May. 11, 2010, 10:59 AM
Hi, any ideas about placing a retired horse in safe, happy, healthy environment in southeastern US? Horse needs home immediately, but must also find home where he can be companion horse as $$ currently unavailble to keep him. This is for a good friend who takes excellent care of her horses. I am researching as she is busy at work and at home. Thanks!

No offense, but giving a way a retired horse so someone else can support him is not, IMO, taking excellent care of her horses.

pinkme
May. 11, 2010, 11:10 AM
I have to disagree with you, big time. Things happen, all the time, that prevent you from being able to afford your horse that you have always been able to afford. Finding a good home for the horse, when you can no longer provide it, is the most responsable thing any owner could do.

Ozone
May. 11, 2010, 11:18 AM
I agree that instead of unintentionally starving your horse because you cannot feed it, try and find it a home that can. What's wrong with that?

vxf111
May. 11, 2010, 11:22 AM
Give horse away with little-to-no-leadtime and expect someone else to pick up the tab versus starve horse to death.

False alternative. Other possibilities include- planning ahead a retirement budget (maybe skip 3-4 shows/year and put that money in savings instead). Finding a very low cost pasture boarding barn where you can work off the board. Finding a friend who might like to lease the horse for up/down lessons (if he;s capable).

Barring that, you can put your horse down if you can't afford to keep him anymore.

There are always CHOICES. Just because you prefer one choice (someone else ponies up the $$$ to support the horse you used and enjoyed) does not mean that the only alternative is to abandon the horse entirely.

SuperSTB
May. 11, 2010, 11:29 AM
It would help if you could provide more details. Age, temperment, can horse still do light riding?, if not sound- what is the issue causing unsoundness?

Finding a straight up retirement home for nothing- pretty hard to find. Homes can be found though that need a sane light riding horse. Please make sure your friend does a diligent check on potential homes though- there are many wolves dressed in sheep's clothing.

SGray
May. 11, 2010, 11:32 AM
Hi, any ideas about placing a retired horse in safe, happy, healthy environment in southeastern US? Horse needs home immediately, but must also find home where he can be companion horse as $$ currently unavailble to keep him. This is for a good friend who takes excellent care of her horses. I am researching as she is busy at work and at home. Thanks!

maybe paring down # of horses would be appropriate

NorthFaceFarm
May. 11, 2010, 11:49 AM
I don't see it as looking for someone else to foot the bill for a useless animal. OP said friend is hoping to find someone in need of a buddy/companion. Plenty of people in this world enjoy horsekeeping, even for ones with no use as riding horses.

InWhyCee Redux
May. 11, 2010, 11:54 AM
maybe paring down # of horses would be appropriate

Amen — if you can't afford to keep your retired friend turned out in a pasture, it's time to rethink your entire horse budget, IMHO.

OP, it might help if we had more info on the horse: Is he sound? Special needs? Suitable for light trail riding and/or equine therapy?

DieBlaueReiterin
May. 11, 2010, 12:05 PM
Give horse away with little-to-no-leadtime and expect someone else to pick up the tab versus starve horse to death.

False alternative. Other possibilities include- planning ahead a retirement budget (maybe skip 3-4 shows/year and put that money in savings instead). Finding a very low cost pasture boarding barn where you can work off the board. Finding a friend who might like to lease the horse for up/down lessons (if he;s capable).

Barring that, you can put your horse down if you can't afford to keep him anymore.

There are always CHOICES. Just because you prefer one choice (someone else ponies up the $$$ to support the horse you used and enjoyed) does not mean that the only alternative is to abandon the horse entirely.

THANK YOU. i am so @#*&^$@# sick of threads here and elsewhere about people giving away their retirees bc they "can't afford them" anymore. funny how these same people are never trying to give away their show horses. :mad::mad::mad::mad:

Poniesofmydreams
May. 11, 2010, 12:25 PM
These types of threads burn me up. Although the OP is not forthcoming about the entire situation, we can assume she has other horses and doesn't want the old guy. But I truly hope that isn't the case.
And yes things happen. But your first responsibility is to the horse who took care of you for many years. Sell the other ones first if you have to.
At our trainers barn, the old school horses are loved and treasured. Both well into their twenties and doing well. Our trainer would never think of dumping them even though they no longer can carry a rider. Every time I see them I know my kids are learning a lesson much more valuable than how to ride.

Chaila
May. 11, 2010, 12:38 PM
One of the horses that I'm going to look at this week is for sale due to owner's finances. She's keeping her difficult horse and selling the nicer one because she's afraid the difficult one would end up in a bad place whereas she feels confidant that she can find a good home for the nicer one.

Seems like a very wrenching, difficult choice no matter what.

lesgarcons
May. 11, 2010, 01:13 PM
Give horse away with little-to-no-leadtime and expect someone else to pick up the tab versus starve horse to death.

False alternative. Other possibilities include- planning ahead a retirement budget (maybe skip 3-4 shows/year and put that money in savings instead). Finding a very low cost pasture boarding barn where you can work off the board. Finding a friend who might like to lease the horse for up/down lessons (if he;s capable).

Barring that, you can put your horse down if you can't afford to keep him anymore.

There are always CHOICES. Just because you prefer one choice (someone else ponies up the $$$ to support the horse you used and enjoyed) does not mean that the only alternative is to abandon the horse entirely.

This is so right. I just absolutely hate ads/posts like this. The horse gives you (almost) its whole life, and then you want to throw it away "to a good home" at the end? How many people out there are happy to cough up hundreds of dollars a month for board, special shoeing, senior feed, supplements, meds, etc, on a horse they can't do anything with and have no history with? Not many. If finances are really that bad, euthanize the poor horse in the home it's familiar with, around people it loves, before it has to go be frightened and uncertain in some giveaway home.

Ozone
May. 11, 2010, 01:15 PM
But your first responsibility is to the horse who took care of you for many years. Sell the other ones first if you have to.
.

THIS.:yes:

tidy rabbit
May. 11, 2010, 01:19 PM
There are SOOOOOO many pasture board places around all parts of the country that only cost 100 or 200 a month. What is so wrong with putting a horse out to pasture and paying the pittance it takes to let it live out its life happily in a herd?

You'd be amazed at how you can take nearly any horse and put it in a pasture and it will be very happy with its new life. For the cost of 2 lessons a month, you could just let it live out it's years in a field.

danceronice
May. 11, 2010, 01:31 PM
I can see that for people who own multiple horses. But I think in a one-horse situation, expecting someone to keep a horse who's no longer suitable for them (old, injured, just doesn't do what they wanted) is a bit unreasonble. Doesn't sound like that's the case here, but would the people saying "sell the young ones" say the same thing if it wasn't a question of selling off other horses, but "keep the unrideable horse for the rest of its life even if that means your riding goes on hold for a year/two years/five years/however long it takes for this horse to die or reach a low enough quality of life a vet will euthanize it?"

Quinn
May. 11, 2010, 01:56 PM
There is currently a post on EMG (Canadian Board) which "offers" a 19 year old double registered Hanoverian mare. "Retired from breeding and want moved as soon as possible to make room." In this case, they are asking $1K. So, this mare has been a broodmare for them, can no longer do that job, and down the road you go. This makes me crazy.

In this situation, even if finances are tight, there should have been far more preparation than just "horse needs home immediately." Where do you think these horses go? Do you think there are people lined up to take on someone else's responsibility???? I have two on retirement board. One is 19 and the other is 31. I pay $265.00/month for each plus vet, plus farrier, worming etc. Can I afford it? Not really but it would be kinder for me to euthanise them than to have either in a questionable situation. They are MY responsibility and as such, their care will looked after.

http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q40/Ballyduff/SplashHudsonJanuary2010.jpg


http://community.webshots.com/user/ballyduff

HRF Second Chance
May. 11, 2010, 02:08 PM
But there is also no guarantee that the cheap pasture board places will take great care of the horse either. Either way, whether it be to a freebie home or a cheaply boarded home, the person giving the horse up still needs to do routine site visits to make sure.

I have a dream to one day be able to afford a nice place to keep old and retired show horses to live out their days at a reasonable rate. All my old show horses were free leased to a friend who lived down the street and had foster kids. So they just got brushed all day. And ate. What a life. It's a shame they can't all have that!

BeastieSlave
May. 11, 2010, 02:47 PM
Sorry, OP, I don't mean to slam you or your friend but...

I also think it's unreasonable to ask a total stranger with that oh so elusive "good home" to take on an older horse as a companion "immediately".
I totally understand feeling the need to place such horse(s) in loving home(s), but I have come to believe that it IS the responsibility of the owner (especially the one said horse gave many years of service to) to provide that good and forever home.

I have a pasture full of companion horses and I have one whose people pay for his retirement. He gave his girl a few years at the top, then he had colic surgery. They gave him much love and care and a chance to recover. When he didn't make it back to the top of his game and the girl went off to college, they leased him out (for free) at a lower level. When he needed surgery not once, but twice, for different reasons they stepped up, even though he was too old for insurance and no longer out competing. When he was ready to retire, they left him with me and have been as involved as owners from another part of the country can be (even coming to visit). They pay for all his expenses. These are not wealthy people. They live in a big city, not the country. Only the daughter is even 'horsey'. This horse has been leased out or retired for many more years than he was doing his job for these people, but they still feel they owe him!! I can't help but feel that's the way it should be.....

Lucassb
May. 11, 2010, 02:48 PM
I don't like posts like this any better than anyone else, but sadly I recognize that life can change in ways that people don't anticipate, and I try not to judge.

Ideally everyone would always keep their horses for life, regardless of what their circumstances were. In reality, this is not even the case for a lot of children, much less horses. When I see something like this where the horse immediately needs another home, I tend to assume the owner has been suddenly faced with some hardship... an unanticipated job loss, divorce, illness, etc. Dunno if that is the case here but given the savings rate of our country generally and the desperate straights a lot of folks are in these days, it is at least a possiblity.

Maybe the person in the OP just no longer wants to pay to keep a horse that has served them well and IS trying to pawn him off on others while continuing to enjoy their other, younger, rideable animals.

I have no way of knowing and frankly, just hope the horse finds somewhere safe to land.

BeastieSlave
May. 11, 2010, 02:54 PM
I agree, times are tough, and I'd much rather see folks try to find a home for those good old horses before they give up.
I just have to wonder how hard people try and how bad things have to get before they try. Some people's perception of not being able to afford a horse is different than others.... It seems like some people give up too quickly and others hang on too long <sigh>

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
May. 11, 2010, 04:50 PM
I am lucky to be in a situation where I can retire my horses to my family's horse-heaven type farm. I understand others cannot do the same. But here's the kicker:

Because I am in a position to retire my horses for life once they are no longer suited to do their jobs, I can afford to USE THEM UP. Not ride them into the ground, but show them until their very last capable day, at which point they will likely not be suitable for someone else. In the best of circumstances, I wouldn't be comfortable simply passing them on even if they COULD do walk/trot/trail rides because who knows what their new people will be doing with them. For all I know, they could take my 25 year old serious maintenance requiring fellow and start jumping him around because, hey, it's only "once in a while".

So this is what gets me: if you KNOW you're not going to be able to retire the horse yourself (which, let's face it, a lot of people KNOW from the get-go. Yes, circumstances change, but not often for the better these days), then DON'T USE THE HORSE UP TO THE POINT THAT IT CAN'T SAFELY PERFORM AS A WALK/TROT/TRAIL HORSE. You know how you have no need for a horse that can't be ridden or used for anything except destroying pasture and creating poop, feed bills, and vet bills? Well I don't either.

There are VERY few good situations for unrideable retirees for the reasons stated above. And while the options for lightly rideable older horses are only slightly more abundant, there are definitely more of them. So if you're concerned that you won't be able to retire your horse adequately in 2 or 3 years, perhaps it's time to retire him NOW instead of waiting until he's completely unrideable.

Here's my (now 25 year old) retiree: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1584871&l=3c1953cb46&id=508234048 .

ETA: I am not berating the OP. I am berating her friend. There is nothing wrong with stepping in and trying to help a horse in need, regardless of how "useful" it is to someone else. It is also not her responsibility.

Coreene
May. 11, 2010, 07:20 PM
Hey, when you signed up you had rules that said "No advertising." What do you think that first post is?

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
May. 11, 2010, 07:33 PM
Hey, when you signed up you had rules that said "No advertising." What do you think that first post is?

Well, in all fairness, she's not selling anything, and there IS a giveaways forum. Perhaps it's misplaced, but it's not against the rules...

magicteetango
May. 11, 2010, 08:18 PM
I have three horses. A young mare whom I love, a gelding who I haven't always gotten along with, and a horse who's been retired since I got him basically.

If something happened? Gelding #1 goes first, he's more finished, and in work is not a bad horse. If he doesn't go quick enough, my mare goes. Much as I love her, she's gorgeous, good mover, even if she's a drama queen. The retired horse will NEVER be leaving my sight. If I had to "place him" (IE still couldn't afford after parting with the first two), he'd be put to sleep at my home.

There are occasionally good retirement homes... but I have acreage and I wouldn't take someone else's used up horse. I'm sorry but I am responsible for my own horses and won't take up for someone else.

I worked off board for my horses for over five years. I worked my butt off and it was hard, but I made it work. Your friend can find something like that. What you don't have in $$ can be made up with sweat equity.

I've heard horror stories of horses being given away as "companions". It rarely ends up that way. I had a very difficult dog in college and I called a rescue, explained the situation and what they said was very poignant and greatly impacted my life and how I care for my animals. "If you don't love her enough to keep her, and you've known her all her life, why would anyone else?"

I'm sorry but it's so true. No one will have the attachment I have to my horses. And so I don't trust anyone else with any horse that can't support it's own value (IE provide use or enjoyment aside from "companionship").

BarleyTwist
May. 11, 2010, 08:28 PM
Thanks for the info. I will pass it on. Appreciate the time for responses!

leatheralter
May. 11, 2010, 08:41 PM
...and it's a matter of education.

I know lots of horse people who don't know the underside, and don't care to know. They live in a world of happy (and miraculously knowledgeable!) families that will be happy to have a geriatric horsey to brush, who know all about feeding and shoeing, and proper maintenance in winter. These are the same upstate farms where Fluffy (your childhood doggie who bit your neighbor) can go to frolic forever!

If you actually work on the rescue side, hearing the stories from the naive folks can turn your stomach -- because you are out there, listening to all the stories (from the naive and well-meaning, as well as the destitute). You're well aware all of the behind-the-scenes machinations that go on in order to rehome a useless animal, and you really wish that the original owner (if they had the bucks) would just do the right thing and put the animal to sleep if it no longer suits their purpose. It does make you want to push folks off the turnip truck sometimes...

lesgarcons
May. 11, 2010, 09:28 PM
"If you don't love her enough to keep her, and you've known her all her life, why would anyone else?"

What a perfect way of putting it. Of course, sometimes finances stand in the way of love, but then the phrase can be adapted to read, "If it's too hard for you to give him a good life, why do you think it would be easy for anyone else?"

Props to the OP for coming back to post, and for giving such an equanimous response. I wish your friend luck, this is no easy decision.

mvp
May. 11, 2010, 09:35 PM
I was warming up for a rant about the OPs friend who 1) got "take the horse" ASAP surprised by bad circumstances; and 2) Can't find the $200 a month it would take to put the horse in some pasture, or 3) Euthanize it.

Really? You didn't see this coming months ahead, or can't find, say, 90 days of board during which you find a solution.

I also think most of us can find $200 a month in a budget or earn that. Am I way wrong?

But then I saw this and I had to do a big rant U-turn!




So this is what gets me: if you KNOW you're not going to be able to retire the horse yourself (which, let's face it, a lot of people KNOW from the get-go. Yes, circumstances change, but not often for the better these days), then DON'T USE THE HORSE UP TO THE POINT THAT IT CAN'T SAFELY PERFORM AS A WALK/TROT/TRAIL HORSE.



I hope I didn't delete any part of the quote that would be unfair. But in this sentiment, you eliminate about 70% of the horse owners out there. That's true because not every show horse retired "in time" will *ever* have the mind it takes to be a W/T trail horse for someone who wants that.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for pensioning the horse who served me well. I also quit before they are *that* crippled. But this is my kicker: Because I don't use horses "all the way up" I have a larger set of problems (and bills) than does the person who stopped with a horse just about beyond pasture sound or who can afford to retire many and still ride.

SMF11
May. 11, 2010, 09:50 PM
You know how you have no need for a horse that can't be ridden or used for anything except destroying pasture and creating poop, feed bills, and vet bills? Well I don't either.



This.

Sorry, there just aren't many people who want a completely retired horse.

Your friend might increase her chances of success if she offered to pay his vet and farrier bills.

NYCGIRL
May. 11, 2010, 09:55 PM
If you buy a horse you to step up and be responsible I have retired horses I had t retire one at 9. I would never Euthanize them, would you Euthanize your dog no so why is it okay to Euthanize your horse. I live in the city and obviously cant not have horses but for a few hundred a moth I found a great place that treats them like their own horses. Unfortunately, it is in about 10 hours drive from me so I don't get there much. However, they are well taken care of and I get pictures all the time.

S1969
May. 12, 2010, 07:35 AM
So this is what gets me: if you KNOW you're not going to be able to retire the horse yourself (which, let's face it, a lot of people KNOW from the get-go. Yes, circumstances change, but not often for the better these days), then DON'T USE THE HORSE UP TO THE POINT THAT IT CAN'T SAFELY PERFORM AS A WALK/TROT/TRAIL HORSE. You know how you have no need for a horse that can't be ridden or used for anything except destroying pasture and creating poop, feed bills, and vet bills? Well I don't either.

Agreed. I looked to BUY a semi-retired horse to have at home to school on; very light work, no jumping, 24/7 turnout with beautiful pastures, and would be willing to deal with manageable maintenance issues. But the only older horses I could find were fully retired: elderly, lame and unrideable. I ended up buying a young horse instead, but would have loved to find someone's "looking for a lighter workload" horse before it was all used up.

Moderator 1
May. 12, 2010, 08:53 AM
If the original poster would like to provide more specifics about the horse the friend would like to rehome, please feel free to submit them in the form of a thread in the Giveaways forum, which is provided for that purpose.

We'll leave this thread open to allow the philosophical discussion that's developed to continue.

Thanks!
Mod 1

KBEquine
May. 12, 2010, 08:55 AM
I don't like posts like this any better than anyone else, but sadly I recognize that life can change in ways that people don't anticipate, and I try not to judge.

Ideally everyone would always keep their horses for life, regardless of what their circumstances were. In reality, this is not even the case for a lot of children, much less horses. When I see something like this where the horse immediately needs another home, I tend to assume the owner has been suddenly faced with some hardship... an unanticipated job loss, divorce, illness, etc. Dunno if that is the case here but given the savings rate of our country generally and the desperate straights a lot of folks are in these days, it is at least a possiblity.

Maybe the person in the OP just no longer wants to pay to keep a horse that has served them well and IS trying to pawn him off on others while continuing to enjoy their other, younger, rideable animals.

I have no way of knowing and frankly, just hope the horse finds somewhere safe to land.

Exactly.

My 1st dressage horse took care of me as a newbie (he was green himself, but wise & calm & we went from training to 2nd from ages 4 through 7 or 8, with mostly just weekly lessons with a good trainer), then he helped a friend launch a career as a jumper trainer, then, around age 10, had a career-ending injury.

He is now 24 & living more-or-less in my backyard. I'm lucky that I had the ability to offer him a retirement for what he gave me. The problem with threads like this is it is not possible to tell if the owner won't or can't support the horse who gave them so much.

But as Lucassb says, I hope this horse finds a safe place to land.

Hampton Bay
May. 12, 2010, 09:40 AM
What's funny is that a post like this appeared on the Giveaways a month or so ago, a lesson horse no longer sound for any riding at all. I posted something along the lines of "why do you think someone else should foot the bill for the horse YOU used up", and everyone save one person disagreed with me, that LOTS of homes want a pasture ornament.

I personally don't know of ANYONE who wants a totally retired horse. I have land, and if I were in the market for another horse, I absolutely would NOT take and keep a lame, totally retired horse. Now, if the horse were very nice and just needed some time off to rehab an injury, maybe, but older and not able to be ridden at all, no way in heck. They are just too expensive to go into it knowing you will just be putting money into and and not be able to use the horse at all.

SMF11
May. 12, 2010, 10:24 AM
I personally don't know of ANYONE who wants a totally retired horse. I have land, and if I were in the market for another horse, I absolutely would NOT take and keep a lame, totally retired horse. . . . They are just too expensive to go into it knowing you will just be putting money into and and not be able to use the horse at all.


Exactly!!!

For those very few homes that are looking for a companion, they are going to want to have the cheapest, nicest companion possible. Why not pick a small equine (pony, donkey) who will eat less. WHy not have them be sound and healthy so less chance of vet bills. Why not have them be incredibly sweet so the are nice to have around? And if you can have some of the bills paid for them, why not take that horse?

That's why a horse w/issues (on the ground or healthwise) is going to be WAY less attractive . . .

If a good home for a companion ever does open up, it will be SWAMPED with offers of nice horses (I had a spot once -- I had people emailing, calling and even leaving notes in my mailbox!). I ended up taking my trainer's retired school horse whom I already loved, and she paid his vet and farrier bills. It made it easy to pick him.

ShadesOfBay
May. 12, 2010, 11:03 AM
But then I saw this and I had to do a big rant U-turn!

I hope I didn't delete any part of the quote that would be unfair. But in this sentiment, you eliminate about 70% of the horse owners out there. That's true because not every show horse retired "in time" will *ever* have the mind it takes to be a W/T trail horse for someone who wants that.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for pensioning the horse who served me well. I also quit before they are *that* crippled. But this is my kicker: Because I don't use horses "all the way up" I have a larger set of problems (and bills) than does the person who stopped with a horse just about beyond pasture sound or who can afford to retire many and still ride.

I have to say, posts like the original about trying to desperately find a home for a used-up older horse just really p*ss me off - people need to be responsible for their animals, in good times and bad. Aside from that, I wanted to comment on the above.

We bought a 13 year old paint mare who had been a fabulous jumper with her previous college-age owner, as a first horse for my daughter. Within a year, we were having a lot of trouble getting her to jump and tried all kinds of things with different trainers. We were novice horse owners at the time, and consequently learned all about the importance of X-rays during vettings, arthritis, and joint injections. The poor little mare has never been able to stay 100% sound since she was 13-14 yrs old. She is ridden a couple times a week by my daughter, but no longer jumps & rarely shows. She also has some 'issues' with anxiety, etc. that prevent her from ever being a trail/beginner horse for a little kid. Therefore, I know I am keeping this little horse forever and paying board even though she is more a pet now than anything else. Would love to buy or lease a fantastic hunter for my daughter to show, but if we sold or gave away this mare, there is no doubt in my mind she would either be used up until she couldn't stand anymore, or would end up on a truck to Mexico. My daughter will have to show lesson horses for now, and that's okay. We bought this horse and will care for her until she passes - she has always tried so hard and will remain loved, even though it's not always my favorite thing to be paying what we pay for her care.

Point being, horses may have to be 'retired' much earlier than anticipated, and in this case I would be much more upset thinking about what the future would hold for this mare if we got rid of her, compared to paying the $$$ to be in control of her care & environment. :(


Sorry for the long-ness...

mvp
May. 12, 2010, 11:23 AM
I'd be really curious to know if your average horse in our Age of Joint Injections is more crippled when we finally say "uncle" than was the same horse in, say, 1970. Are they more broken on an absolute scale?

I'd guess that horses are being "uncled" at younger ages now. Not all of that has to do with joint injections. It may have lots to do with futurities becoming big business in some sports and the general rising cost of land that drives the whole "Get 'em there sooner" trend in our sport.

But I'd be interested to hear from my elders on this point. I do think that horses have been crippled and disposed of by all sorts of unsavory means at all times. It usually happens quietly. Heck, even pasture-sound companion horses were kept in-house by land-owning horsemen or found homes through local friends. Maybe we're just peering into that because of the internet?

MoJo
May. 12, 2010, 11:24 AM
Therefore, I know I am keeping this little horse forever and paying board even though she is more a pet now than anything else. Would love to buy or lease a fantastic hunter for my daughter to show, but if we sold or gave away this mare, there is no doubt in my mind she would either be used up until she couldn't stand anymore, or would end up on a truck to Mexico. My daughter will have to show lesson horses for now, and that's okay. We bought this horse and will care for her until she passes - she has always tried so hard and will remain loved, even though it's not always my favorite thing to be paying what we pay for her care.
.

ShadesOfBay, thank God for people like you. Not only are you doing right by this mare, but you're shaping your daughter's character in such a way that being responsible and doing the right thing will be second-nature--she won't even have to think about it--it will be who she is.

Yay for you and other moms like you.

Atreides
May. 12, 2010, 11:26 AM
I think in a one-horse situation, expecting someone to keep a horse who's no longer suitable for them (old, injured, just doesn't do what they wanted) is a bit unreasonble. Doesn't sound like that's the case here, but would the people saying "sell the young ones" say the same thing if it wasn't a question of selling off other horses, but "keep the unrideable horse for the rest of its life even if that means your riding goes on hold for a year/two years/five years/however long it takes for this horse to die or reach a low enough quality of life a vet will euthanize it?"

I respectfully disagree. And this is where the personal, individual feelings come into the equation. I do not personally think there is anything remotely "unreasonable" in retiring a horse I own, at the expense of my ability to own or ride other horses for 1/2/5 years or however long it takes. I realize that sounds loaded with "martyr syndrome"; but I know from experience that no one can make that decision for you, you have to make it for yourself.

Three years ago I hunted out the horse I had bought at age 2 then sold at age 13; I knew he was reaching mid-20s and I was worried about him. It took me a year to find him, via off and on internet searches, but a fortuitous memory from a previous owner pulled up the name of a town, I searched and made phone calls randomly, and finally someone on the other end said those magic words in response to my oft-repeated "chestnut gelding, one hind sock, blaze": "Oh, Toby! Yes, we had him here, we sold him to a woman whose kids wanted something safe to climb around on and learn to brush. She's looking for a home to retire him to, here's her number."

Yes I burst into wild tears, totally unexpectedly. Thank goodness the woman on the other end was a horse person, she understood and sat there until I could speak coherently again. Hubby and I went to see him: he was about 400 pounds underweight (hidden under winter coat), blind in one eye, and it was clear walking caused him pain (ignorance, not active abuse). My long-suffering and forever adored husband saw all this, set his jaw, handed the woman a dollar, called a guy with a trailer, and we shipped my (mine again) old guy to a long-overdue respectful retirement.

I gave up lessons, my dreams/savings to own a warmblood got put on hold indefinitely, and we disappeared our already small vacation budget. In exchange, after the teeth floating, shoeing, Adequan, lots o' grain and good hay, I spent a year learning which kind of treats my old guy preferred, butterscotch or licorice. (They didn't have all these choices when he was a youngster.) Licorice won out in the end, but it was a close call.

I'm finally back on track with the warmblood budget. I never looked back on that decision with anything but absolute conviction that I made the right decision. Neither did my hubby, who has no interest in horses. His innate sense of caring for those we feel responsible for made him do what he did. Neither of us would have ever considered the word "unreasonable" in contemplating our behavior and decisions, unless we were cutting grocery money, mortgage, or our own medical care to do what we did.

I'm not Saint Theresa by any stretch of anyone's imagination. I simply did what was right, down in my core, for me. I wouldn't expect others to do the same; no situation would ever be exactly the same anyway.

I just felt lucky to be able to give him the respect he deserved in the end (and wish I had come a year or so earlier back into his life.)

FineAlready
May. 12, 2010, 11:36 AM
I can see that for people who own multiple horses. But I think in a one-horse situation, expecting someone to keep a horse who's no longer suitable for them (old, injured, just doesn't do what they wanted) is a bit unreasonble. Doesn't sound like that's the case here, but would the people saying "sell the young ones" say the same thing if it wasn't a question of selling off other horses, but "keep the unrideable horse for the rest of its life even if that means your riding goes on hold for a year/two years/five years/however long it takes for this horse to die or reach a low enough quality of life a vet will euthanize it?"

Yes, I actually would say this. But that is just my perspective and the only way I can justify my participation in this sport. I have and can only afford one horse. As some people know, I have been rehabbing a suspensory injury for close to a year now and this horse just turned five this month. If he were to become permanently unsound, I would keep him and not ride until I could afford another horse in addition to him. I decided long ago that I will not buy a horse without committing to it for the long haul.

Lucassb
May. 12, 2010, 11:48 AM
I'd be really curious to know if your average horse in our Age of Joint Injections is more crippled when we finally say "uncle" than was the same horse in, say, 1970. Are they more broken on an absolute scale?

I'd guess that horses are being "uncled" at younger ages now. Not all of that has to do with joint injections. It may have lots to do with futurities becoming big business in some sports and the general rising cost of land that drives the whole "Get 'em there sooner" trend in our sport.


Ah, I dunno.

When I was young (and dinosaurs roamed freely) we got our horses off the track, mostly, started just as they are now, as 2 year olds. I'd say that TB breeding since then has favored early speed, but not soooo much that the horses are THAT different. Maybe they have more downmarket options, though. We used to get ours from the bigger tracks, before they got to the real bottom of the barrel.

We didn't do joint injections back then, but I don't believe those break horses down (quite the opposite, in fact.) Having had those injections myself, I know what a godsend they are for pain relief and soundness. And now we have much better treatments for soft tissue problems - stem cell and Acell, as I was just discussing with another COTHer recently. Truly incredible advances in returning horses with significant injuries to soundness that holds up even to relatively high workloads.

Back in the day, there *was* a fair amount of nerving... it wasn't at all uncommon. And those horses were often used for years afterward. I never owned one myself but knew of quite a few, and they did quite well. Not sure what category you'd place them in. Broken? Fixed? Somewhere in between?

I guess my feeling is that these days, just as in human medicine, we are able to do more to keep our horses happy and comfortable in their work than in years past. Some of those therapies can be over or mis-used, certainly. But I would not agree that we are creating more crippled horses ... not at all.

JumpWithPanache
May. 12, 2010, 11:53 AM
Personally, I can really only afford one horse at a time and my passion is to ride and jump. If at any point my horse became uncomfortable at the level I can afford to show at (locally 3', occasionally rated) then it would be time for me to find her a new home that was looking for something to perform at the level she's comfortable with. If that means she's for a kid who is currently 'plopping' around 2' but ultimately wants to do 2'6 then perfect. If the horse was permanently injured to the point where she'd never be sound then euthanasia would be my choice. No, I cannot justify spending tens of thousands of dollars on something that cannot fulfill its purpose. I would certainly want to ensure that a sold horse still has a purpose in life, if there is no purpose then it's time to euth.

danceronice
May. 12, 2010, 12:01 PM
To me, it's a sport. If I cannot use a horse for anything other than a lawn mower, and keeping that one means I'm on the ground indefitely but want to be RIDING, if I can sell, I'll sell. If not, I can find a vet or a huntsman with good aim. It's not a dog that's small and has a relatively short lifespan who's a companion animal and serves no other purpose than to be petted. Nor is it a pair of skates or a dress I can hang in a closet if I'm not using it.

I also believe in selling and not looking back. I don't do first-refusals, buybacks, etc. I knew when I bought my horse there was no return policy and I wouldn't offer one unless I had a LOT of money and land. If someone called me with one of our old ponies (how they'd find me I have no idea, except for the neighbor who AFAIK still has the old mare) and asked me if I wanted it back, I would WANT to say yes, but if the cost was selling off a horse I'm actually riding for an older pony too small for me to do anything with besides stick in a pen, I'd have to say pass. I don't have an unlimited budget. (In reality, for a pony unlikely to live THAT many more years, I could probably convince my parents to toss it in their barn/corral and they'd do it, despite being less than thrilled as I'm too far to do chores every day. But not everyone has family with land, buildings, and the money.)

Of course I also don't do injections, nor would I spend five or six times the purchase price on major surgery, don't have a regular chiro, don't give ten different supplements, have five blankets for varying weather conditions, need him to eat only superpremium hand-mixed science diet for horses (or dogs--the next person who suggests a no-grain high protein diet for my dogs is welcome to come clean up the vomit; won't be making THAT experiment again) or spend 80% of the money that is supposed to be 'necessary' these days. So $150 retirement pasture board actually seems pretty easy. But if I lived somewhere more expensive, I see not keeping everything forever.

mvp
May. 12, 2010, 12:35 PM
We didn't do joint injections back then, but I don't believe those break horses down (quite the opposite, in fact.)... And now we have much better treatments for soft tissue problems - stem cell and Acell, as I was just discussing with another COTHer recently. Truly incredible advances in returning horses with significant injuries to soundness that holds up even to relatively high workloads....

I guess my feeling is that these days, just as in human medicine, we are able to do more to keep our horses happy and comfortable in their work than in years past. Some of those therapies can be over or mis-used, certainly. But I would not agree that we are creating more crippled horses ... not at all.

I cut out the extra to make my original question more clear-- I show the parts that speak to it. I agree we can do much more to make an "otherwise done" horse be comfortable enough to keep going. So my question was about whether or not they have even larger problems at the point that we finally stop.

I agree that the stuff out there for healing soft tissue injuries is spectacular. That means many horses have longer careers even with a year-long hole in their resume. But OA has yet to be cured. And I don't know how many people wanting walk-trot or therapy horses will do maintenance for a stiff good ol' boy.

In fact, having looked into the therapeutic riding world, I'm really surprised by how high their standards are for soundness and soundness with minimal help. They also want a horse who is amazingly tolerant and even a bit dull to the goings on on his back. That made me think that the therapy horse option was not a good one for an aging show horse who would do well with bute or the occasional joint injection. It wouldn't work for the horse who had been taught to listen to his rider.

No complaints about the therapy world at all. Just sharing my own process of getting educated. It does suggest that if you have the horse with the right mind, you absolutely should "quit while you are ahead" and when the horse is still sound without daily meds if you are thinking about the therapy job.

Oh, and I looked into some mowing contracts for my gelding. While he could promise to not raise his head for 20 hours at a stretch, he refused to mow in cool, discernible patterns or clean up after himself. So no gigs on baseball diamonds, golf courses or working for anyone else with standards. We'll keep looking for another job....

Seven
May. 12, 2010, 01:05 PM
I cut out the extra to make my original question more clear-- I show the parts that speak to it. I agree we can do much more to make an "otherwise done" horse be comfortable enough to keep going. So my question was about whether or not they have even larger problems at the point that we finally stop.



I think to some extent there are more seriously broken down horses and more with catostrophic injuries then before but the reasons for that have to include that (1) horses are living longer in general and (2) the year round nature of our sports.

I easily remember times when late teens-early twenties was generally considered quite old and done (save a few old lesson ponies). I also remember that for those showing that shows pretty much stopped after 'Indoors' in November. Few traveled south to keep showing. And actual indoor rings were much less common, so riding was light or non-existent during the winters. Most horses had the winter off or nearly off and that allowed a lot of injuries and strains to heal. I think these sorts of management elements allowed the horses to stay useful longer without the medical interventions we have today.

The flip side of that is that some injuries that would have been catastrophic in the past are completely healed or expertly managed given the medical advances we have now. It's an interesting question.

Lucassb
May. 12, 2010, 01:18 PM
I think to some extent there are more seriously broken down horses and more with catostrophic injuries then before but the reasons for that have to include that (1) horses are living longer in general and (2) the year round nature of our sports.

I easily remember times when late teens-early twenties was generally considered quite old and done (save a few old lesson ponies). I also remember that for those showing that shows pretty much stopped after 'Indoors' in November. Few traveled south to keep showing. And actual indoor rings were much less common, so riding was light or non-existent during the winters. Most horses had the winter off or nearly off and that allowed a lot of injuries and strains to heal. I think these sorts of management elements allowed the horses to stay useful longer without the medical interventions we have today.

The flip side of that is that some injuries that would have been catastrophic in the past are completely healed or expertly managed given the medical advances we have now. It's an interesting question.

These are good points and I totally agree it's an interesting question. Lots and lots of horses did get their shoes pulled and were turned out for some R&R in the winter and I suppose even during the show year we didn't have quite the same merry go round of points chasing that exists today.

The only other comment I'd make is that I don't think injections are routinely used to make "otherwise done" horses comfortable enough to continue, at least over any kind of intermediate or long term.

They are certainly useful in stopping or at least slowing the deterioration of joints that would otherwise be problematic. I suppose it depends on how you characterize "otherwise done" horses.

My older horse (now in his 20s) got two rounds of injections at a relatively young age - he was around 8 or 9. At the time, he went through a period when he was quite sore in his hocks. The injections helped his comfort level while the joints fused. Once they did (which took about six months IIRC) he was absolutely sound and never required another dose, going on for years and years in the hunters, jumpers and eq. In fact he is still in work and perfectly sound to this day, although he no longer jumps the big tracks.

Might he have been considered done before the fusing (or injections)? I suppose so. He was pretty darn sore. Of course in the old, old days, we'd probably have turned him out for six months or a year and might have gotten the same result.

mvp
May. 12, 2010, 02:06 PM
Yeah, when I was thinking of joint injections leaving us with even less horse at the end, I was thinking of injections to moving and multiple joints.

I'm a big fan of injecting the lower joints of the hock. Back in the day, or so vets tell me, people used to simply bute their horses and ride them in order to hurry along the fusing process. I don't wish for a return to that.

Maybe I'm thinking of an era after steroid injections were available but before things like Adequan, Legend and the huge array of joint sups we have now.

I remember a friend being appalled when she sent an A/O horse to a BNT to be sold. This was early 1990s on the West Coast. A MNT with ethics and a clue, she considered him sound. The BNT proceeded to have coffin joints, ankles and perhaps some other stuff injected in order to make him perfect. If, in fact, steroids do hasten joint degeneration, this kind of story make me think that this horse would have a steeper fall to a lower bottom when his show career was finally deemed over.

Lucassb
May. 12, 2010, 02:32 PM
IME, steroid injections, properly used, should not hasten degeneration of a joint. They reduce the inflammatory process which should actually enhance joint health. (Yes, of course there are risks anytime a joint is invaded, and there can be complications, etc.)

There are lots and lots of articles on this within human medicine. As someone who has had a ton of orthopedic work done including the human equivalent of multiple hock injections (called Synvisc for our use v. Hyvisc in ponies) this is a topic I have researched fairly extensively. :)

grandprixjump
May. 12, 2010, 07:57 PM
But there is also no guarantee that the cheap pasture board places will take great care of the horse either. Either way, whether it be to a freebie home or a cheaply boarded home, the person giving the horse up still needs to do routine site visits to make sure.

I have a dream to one day be able to afford a nice place to keep old and retired show horses to live out their days at a reasonable rate. All my old show horses were free leased to a friend who lived down the street and had foster kids. So they just got brushed all day. And ate. What a life. It's a shame they can't all have that!

And even a movie of the horse, just a couple min's to see their healthy, happy. Make them include a current paper, or give them a word they have to write on a white board, and NO BREAKS in the video. Even distance can be done, with regular check-ins, and NOT driving 9 hours each way....

rarebricksmom
Jun. 13, 2010, 01:30 AM
Good God. Will people ever stop barking about people looking for a good home for a horse they cannot keep and maybe try to help out? I am the proud mother of 27 such "freebies" and love everyone dearly. I lost two this last year and I still grieve their passing. I know their last days were filled with the best I could provide and a pasture full of loving herd buddies. I work to pay for these children. No one helps and I don't ask for donations. I have rehomes 852 equines last year alone. I don't have money. We live paycheck to paycheck like most of the people in this country now a days. But I believe in honoring the stewartship God gave us humans to uphold. Call me crazy but the love I see in their eyes tells me its the right thing to do. I fell and shattered my ankle in Feb of this year and still work before the surgery, during and after. Its been hard but I uphold the promises I made to these children and their owners who had to give them up. So please don't judge all of the people who accept "Freebies" as being such a nightmare.

mvp
Jun. 13, 2010, 07:13 AM
rarebricksmom. You are a rare brick indeed and we should all be so lucky to have more people like you around to take on our retired vehicles. Keep up the good work!

Looking at the whole picture, however, I think it's a really bad idea to do anything to encourage horse owners to think that they are off the ethical hook. The idea that an auction might land their horse in a family home, a rescue might take their horse, someone might want to breed their animal, etc. gives them the rhetorical room to not plan for the care or euthanasia of their animals after they have gotten out what they wanted.

The expense of keeping horses and the nature of our sport already push us to treat them like cars. IMO, we need to continue to emphasize common decency toward old horses. There are just too many reasons not too.

pony4me
Jun. 13, 2010, 10:51 AM
Let's do some math! Assume the horse to be retired is 20 years old, and assume that with good care, he will live to the age of 30. That means he's occupying a retirement space for 10 years. Assume I have spaces for four horses at my farm, and that I take four in year 1. That means it's 10 more years before I will be able to take any more. Therefore I do not have a place for your horse. Further, all of the retirement barns I know of are full too, and have waiting lists, for the same reason.

To the OP, I hope your friend is able to find an appropriate retirement situation for her horse. To others who may be in the same situation someday, perhaps scouting out retirement places a year or two in advance and getting on the waiting list would be best.

juststartingout
Jun. 13, 2010, 12:25 PM
IMHO ----its a personal - and difficult -value decision. For most of us, resources are not unlimited and every part of this sport requires tradeoffs - from how much to spend on the horse initially, to how often and where to show, to what treatments and maintenance make sense and so on.

As someone who has two totally retired unrideable but happy in the pasture horses my choice was clear - these two guys did everything ever asked of them and took care of DD. In my mind they deserved to live out their days assured of proper care and security. Is it easy or inexpensive NO - and neither of them is suitable for pure pasture board. Does it restrict my ability to have another competitive horse - ABSOLUTELY. But I know where they are and how they are doing and I am certain about the quality of their care.

This sport is different - it involves another living creature and in my mind my purchase involved a commitment to them. Horses are not like basketballs that deflate and get tossed away. I am also ready to put them down when their physical conditions impringe to greatly on the quality of their lives (I will cry endlessly but I will do it).

There are endless reasons why one cannot keep a horse - and if it came to feeding my children, the horse would be a lower priority. So I will not judge those decisions. Still, for me, another horse to ride is not a justification for failing to care for the horse I have... JMHO

KTRider
Jun. 13, 2010, 02:56 PM
This is an interesting discussion. I'm curious what people would say to my situation - I bought a young horse (5) early this year. I had her two months before she flipped on me, sending me to the hospital with a cracked-up hip. It turns out, she injured herself pretty significantly in the process. She's got some damage to the meniscus, and she's got a suspensory injury.

I'm one of those people that is uncomfortable riding a horse that rears. I know some people, while not happy with that trait, work through it. It's been two months, and she is showing some very slight improvement and I'm just back to being able to try and ride again, if I can find something to ride. I'm not ready to ride her, even if she can start back on a rehab program.


I live in an urban area so board is very expensive, and I can't afford two horses at this barn. I am willing to pay a couple hundred a month, or expenses, or some combo thereof to try and rehab her through turnout and downtime. But, even if I can bring her back somewhat sound, she's not likely to work as a hunter, and I still just don't really want to ride her. So what do you all think are my options? What would you all do? If I keep her for the rest of her life, I could be looking at 20+ years of paying for that, and it will limit my actual ability to ride. Obviously I didn't have time to plan for her retirement. If we can get her serviceably sound, is it better for me to sell her for a real low price and hope she ends up okay? Is it wrong to try and find a pasture pet home for her?

If I ship her out for some downtime, and she comes back still pretty lame, is it better to euthanize than some of the other options?

I'm not being sarcastic with any of this; I'm really curious how people would tackle this situation.

Twisting
Jun. 13, 2010, 03:14 PM
I'll probably be seen as cold, but in the case above I would euthanize the mare sooner rather than later. Finding a home for an injured horse with temperment issues is just not going to happen. I can't afford to spend crazy money rehabing a horse that may never be ridable, nor would I keep a horse for 20 years that wasn't ridable. I can only have one horse. If it were a horse I had for years who had given me everything they had then I would make sure it always had a home with me.

I love my 6 year old mustang to death, and if he was injured tomorrow and would never be anything but pasture sound I would bawl like a baby while I had him euthanized.

Jack16
Jun. 13, 2010, 03:27 PM
If I had a lame pasture ornament that I had no attachment to with very scary issues I would also put her down.

magicteetango
Jun. 13, 2010, 04:00 PM
Perhaps ship her out of the area to a more affordable pasture board place where you can visit to make sure she's okay. I'd give her a year off and see what happens, and if not, I'd euth. her.

The reason I say that is my retired horse, whom I rescued (legitimately, he was near death), had a bolting issue. He was given away to a couple who wanted to trail ride first (he apparently was doing better), well, another member of one of the forums I am on found him at auction, bought him, extremely skinny (perhaps a 2 on the scale?) and missing all the hair on his back from their saddle rubbing him.

He went back to that owner who then gave him away to someone who promised to keep him as a pasture ornament. They did not, they sold him and he eventually wound up being drugged and used for a beginner rider. This only worked for so long and he sent her to the hospital with this poor behavior.

That's when I found him at auction and bought him for $220 dollars. I tried to ride him as well and also could not with any regularity, and started researching his background. Which is how I found out all this.

IMHO THIS is what happens to 98% of the horses that are sold with bad behavior issues. Which is why I will not do it. I don't think anyone should expect you to keep her forever when you've only had her for two months and she has severe behavioral issues that you did not cause.

If you feel generous, give her time in the field and see what she comes back as. If not, euth her sooner then later. I have acreage, which is why the old guy lives with me and he's not my only horse... different scenario.

The one thing I would NOT tell you to do is try and rehome her.

magnolia73
Jun. 13, 2010, 04:45 PM
If the horse was permanently injured to the point where she'd never be sound then euthanasia would be my choice. No, I cannot justify spending tens of thousands of dollars on something that cannot fulfill its purpose.

I respect this attitude (and that of those who provide for their older horses) far more than trying to pawn off useless horses on people with good hearts. Take responsibility for the horse. Offer to pay for its care until the horse dies or have the horse humanely euthanized.

By all means, if you are lucky to have a friend or know someone who will take your horse to retire him, that's great- but at least cover the horse's expenses. But don't just go randomly looking online for someone looking for an old lame horse to pays bills on. Because there are probably exactly ZERO people who want the horse.... you might get some person who takes pity and takes the guy and retires him (bless those people), but in all likelihood, your horse is going to end up in a bad situation.

SMF11
Jun. 13, 2010, 05:05 PM
KTrider, I wouldn't ride your horse again, and certainly would not advise you to, not knowing what kind of a rider you are. Your situation is very different than the OP. If you are working w/a reputable trainer, I'd take their advice (without being there, I don't think we can say if the horse should be euthanized, or rehomed, or given time off etc -- all options). I would certainly support any one of those options; I would not insist you had to pay for this horse now for the rest of its life. If it can't be rehomed, and you are (understandably) not willing to ride it, I would put it down.

I absolutely don't fault or criticize anyone who takes in a free retiree -- they are fantastic. But agree no one should think there are lots of people like that out there.

The need for retiree homes is so vast that in order to be responsible to my horses (where they have homes for life) AND my boarders' horses (one boarder is fighting for her life, and her horse will have a home with me if she loses the battle) I cannot take in anyone else's horses. And I think that many people are in situations like this.

theoldgreymare
Jun. 14, 2010, 02:37 PM
The need for retiree homes is so vast......

Yes, it is. Unfortunately, there is not much incentive for people to open retirement farms because it is generally not profitable and few people are willing to take on the commitments that are involved. Kudos to you SMF for being responsible to the horses in your care.

SMF11
Jun. 14, 2010, 03:02 PM
Thanks! But I actually think there are a lot of retirement farms out there :lol: In fact, some people (myself included) really only want retirees. What I meant was that there are a vast number of horses whose owners don't want to PAY for retirement. They want to give their horse to someone else so that new person can pay for the retirement instead. It's those kinds of homes that are very scarce, not places to board retirees . . .

Tiramit
Jun. 14, 2010, 04:53 PM
How many people out there are happy to cough up hundreds of dollars a month for board, special shoeing, senior feed, supplements, meds, etc, on a horse they can't do anything with and have no history with? Not many. .

My husband and I did years ago as a companion to my young horse. I agree there are very few people who'll take in a stranger's floppy-lipped, grey faced, drop fetlocked 25+ year old gelding and feed him a pint of Guinness in his special food every night, but we were very happy to do it. We even got him his own donkey to keep him company so he'd never have to be alone later on. We loved that old guy and didn't mind spending a fortune on his feed, shoeing and meds.

Having said that, I have no qualms about keeping mine forever. I commute a long distance to work each day so that I can live in the country and keep my horses with me. It makes decisions like retirement a little easier.

Brandy76
Jun. 14, 2010, 05:02 PM
I can see that for people who own multiple horses. But I think in a one-horse situation, expecting someone to keep a horse who's no longer suitable for them (old, injured, just doesn't do what they wanted) is a bit unreasonble. Doesn't sound like that's the case here, but would the people saying "sell the young ones" say the same thing if it wasn't a question of selling off other horses, but "keep the unrideable horse for the rest of its life even if that means your riding goes on hold for a year/two years/five years/however long it takes for this horse to die or reach a low enough quality of life a vet will euthanize it?"

My riding went on hold for 7 years. I owed him that. He owed me nothing, and gave me everything. So, yeah, when the time came to make that decision, I never even thought that much about it. Was it fun sitting it out - even watching other people I know getting new, young horses, competing? Not so much.

But, I had no choice. I could afford one. And that was the one who took care of me when I asked it of him, so I took care of him.

I don't regret it.