Sure, there are terrible moronic fools out there who will try to swindle people by claiming to be a good retirement facility when, in reality, they are neglecting the horses. This is where continuing to be a responsible owner comes in - retiring a horse is more than just taking out your check book every month. (I know, sometimes it is hard enough to get people to even do that much...) Research needs to be put into finding a reputable place and then continuing to monitor your horses care to the best of your ability.
My experience with the out of state place I retired one of my guys has been fantastic! In fact, last spring I considered bringing him back closer to home - the shipper had been scheduled and the vet had already come out for the coggins - but decided against it at the last minute. I felt he was too happy and too integrated with his herd mates to do that to him.
For every one "horror story" I have heard about a horse going into retirement far away, I have heard two "success stories". The difference being that the owners in the success stories had great references before they shipped the horse to the facility and kept in close contact with the BOs, which included visits when possible.
There are many, many reputable retirement places for horses that are also affordable. I think it would be a disservice to frighten people away from this option.
Yes!! Just like any equine operation, there are good and bad among us. Do your investigation of a retirement farm just like you would a boarding barn in your backyard. GO VISIT. Any reputable farm will welcome visitors, and show you anything you want to see. Just looking at photos on the net is not enough. Get references from other current or past boarders, and make sure you are on the same page with level of care. There are farms that just do rough board, and farms that do full board.
It really is not hard to send photos via e-mail these days If a farm says it can't be bothered, or has no one to do that, keep on walking. If they can't send updates, or itemized bills, keep on walking. Ask how many are turned out in a herd, if its 20 horses in a 5 acre field, keep on walking. Equine retirement is a business like any other, and should be run like one. That said, I will admit I treat my boarders like my own horses. I get seriously upset when one is sick. Not business-like of me I know, but I get very attached to them. And I mourn them when they pass on.
You know your horse best, and what he/she requires. Its your duty toward that horse that gave you the best years of its life, to give him the best retirement for the rest of his life.
Last edited by lawndart; Oct. 11, 2008 at 08:30 AM.
Reason: spelling, as usual
When my husband's horse was ready to be retired, I was able to find him a wonderful home through word of mouth. A lady that I knew through a friend was looking for some horses for her mom who had lots of land and had lost her last very old horse a couple of years earlier. He went to them to be a 4H horse for the grand kids and to give grandma a horse to love and look after. He lived the life of luxury in a huge pasture with his own band of pony mares to boss him around and he even became grandma's riding horse as once she rode him she refused to share! (Hence the ponies.) He died in his sleep in his field this spring after 5 years with them. This fall one of my friends realized that it was time to find a home for her gelding because he needs a home where he can slow down. She contacted the same family and it looks like they want him and I KNOW that he will have a wonderful life with them.
The thing with these two is that they were/are perfectly rideable and we knew that they would hold up to 4H fair once a year and the occaisional trail ride. OP, you should get your guy back into work and see if he is going to hold up to light riding. He will be much easier to place if you can let people know that he is rideable. I would also spread the word around your local horse community as you never know who is looking. Best of luck to both of you.