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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Sep. 27, 2008


    I have one a wonderful mare she will never be sound again after an injury to her coffin bone luckily it was a hind foot so she is pretty comfy on her cosequin and MSM. Which always makes me laugh because my horses that I ride everyday don't even get that.

    She is a wondeful horse who if I had to get rid of all of them I would keep her because of my relationship with her on the ground it is priceless she makes me remember why I fell in love with horses in the 1st place..

    My Golden girl!!!

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006


    My riding buddy doesnt, at least not to my knowledge, play on this forum, but I will post on behalf of her old lame mare, Feather. Feather is 20-something, completely blind, and badly foundered. Susan has her at home, gives her the best of care, puts boots on her sad old hurty feet so she can cross the gravel drive, bathes and grooms her, and keeps at least one other horse at all times so Feather will have a seeing-eye horse and equine company.

    A little over a year ago Susan lost her riding horse to choke and had to cope with the trauma of putting him down and consoling Feather at the same time. Feather is fat, spoiled, and trained to precise voice commands. She used to be (very gently, like around the yard) rideable when she still had some vision but not for a long time now. Susan currently has a new riding horse, young and sound, and says she will never buy another horse (she knows how easy it is to get freebies!) and that Feather has a home with her until she is no longer comfortable.

    I hope, but I doubt, that I could equal her in compassion and sacrifice when it comes to my aging pets.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2005


    I have two although they are not old. The first one, Diamondindykin I bought as a three year old at an auction. She is well bred and was nice to ride although young. 11 months to the day that I bought her she milked up and the next day the vet told me that she was pregnant and would give birth within two weeks!! I tracked down the guy who I bought her from and he first denied it saying that he only had her two weeks but finally admitted that he put her out with his stallion. Luckily he was a nice stallion and sure enough two weeks later the love of my life came into the world........a colt named Whiskey. I didn't ride Indy for a couple years after she had her colt but when I sent her to my trainer for a refresher course she came up off on her front end. I took her to my vet and did a full lameness exam. Long story short she was diagnosed with a rare but devestating birth defect called Bi Partite Navicular. Her navicular bones were formed in two pieces instead of one and over the years the bones developed lesions that was now putting pressure on the deep flexor tendons. Indy's prognosis is grim and my vet says that one day one of her deep flexor tendons will go and she will have to be put down. She is only 7 years old, beautiful and full of life. She will be here until that day comes and then she will be buried here and her son will be buried next to her when his time comes.

    The next one is a AQHA mare named Skeeter. I bought her at an auction as well for my daughters birthday and I felt sorry for her. She is a halter bred mare and built like a tank but I thought that she would be great for a beginner to learn on. Well my daugher lost interest pretty quickly and it was discovered that she has an issue with her front fetlock locking. She is now a pasture pet who will also live here forever. She was abused in her previous life and it took a long time to trust. I feel it is unfair to make her have to trust strangers all over again.

    I have two other healthy horses and they will also live here with me until they die regardless whether or not they are rideable.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2003
    The good 'ole State of denial


    OMG, these stories are choking me up!! Thank you!

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2001


    Okggo great topic, you know I'm looking for a home for my old guy, and granted that right home hasn't come along, but he will always have a home with me if I can't find a suitable one....

    I just had to put my other old gelding down that I'd had for 20 years...he packed my behind around the long stirrups when I was a kid and got me through the matter what he had a home...even when he went through several rounds of Marquis, and other EPM treatments, he tried and had the will to live....last week in the end (after a year of battling it), even though his heart and mind hadn't given up his body had, that was the hardest part.......he had a wonderful final few moments with lots of carrots and grass and hugs and kisses. As hard as its been I wouldn't have it any other way, and I was never able to thank him enough for all he did for me, and think my keeping him in a wonderful home (if I do say so myself) was a small token. I got as much or more from my old guy in his last year than I did the previous 19, and wouldn't trade a minute of any of the 20 years!!

    and if I can't find Coasty that perfect home, I feel obligated to do the same for him...he's a wonderful guy who deserves the hats off to all of those who take the time, money and emotion to keep these old "unwanted" guys a chance.... To me the emotional part is the hardest, and granted I'm going through a difficult time at the moment.

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Mar. 13, 2006


    So, my 'unwanted' horse may not have been unwanted by everyone, but he was by the people who had him, and I happened to be working for the right people at the right time.

    I managed to get the 4* horse that I had been grooming for (for free) although I can't sell him or anything. AND I managed to get a season of upper level riding out of him! I had to be ok with with occasional "mom, I can't jump it from here and I'm sorry!" moment because of his injury, but it was the most fun I'd had running around cross-country, so I never really cared.

    One ride this spring, however, he let me know he was done. I don't really know how to describe it, but I knew ten minutes into the ride that in his own way, he was telling me that he was not coming back to where we once were. I don't know how he told me, but he did - and for some reason I felt like he'd been waiting to trust someone enough to say it!

    He has recently moved to my back yard, growing the first winter coat he's ever grown, and has no shoes and a long mane. I figure after the HARD life he's had, I owe this time to him - the time where the neighbor kids feed him Cheerios and all he is required to do everyday is stand at the gate so my SO can scratch him on the head while I ride my other guy. (and hopefully some of his coolness and talent will transfer to the ridable one through osmosis!)

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Dec. 1, 2007
    Gettysburg, PA


    My journey with my guy began at Eylers Auction where this bag of bones OTTB spoke to my heart. I nursed him to good health and he returned the favor by hauling my butt around the dressage ring, trails and even dabbling at a try at jumping. I love my 16 yr old DSLD retired OTTB gelding. I consider each day a gift and he will be here until he tells me its too painful. His coat is shiney, hes in good weight and there's still a glimmer in his eye.
    Epona Farm
    Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

    Join us on Facebook

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2008


    Thanks for all these stories-loved every one.

    Here's mine...I had an OTTB for 19 years. He was a 4yo off the track when he came to me, and he fox hunted and lessoned and showed and trail rode all those years and never said "I won't" once. Arthritic hocks ended his riding career, but I was lucky enough to have him for several years more before I lost him to colic. As generous as he was to me how could I not take care of him? Most people aren't as unselfish as he was.

    He pulled like a train and had the ground manners of Attila the Hun. He could sunfish with the worst bronc, but he would stop bucking when he shook my feet out of the irons. He loved his hunting and hated to go in early. He had the typical TB heart-as big and brave as you could imagine.

    You can't know how much fun he was to ride!

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Jan. 15, 2003

    Default Miss Scarlett

    I owned Scarlett years ago, sold her and always regretted it...and wound up finding her here on the COTH Giveaways needing a new home. We were just a few months away from a major move and I knew my husband would say I contacted her owner anyway and said "I'll take her."

    At the time we were boarding and stretched pretty thin boarding 4 horses. I knew there was no way I would let her go this time. Scarlett is quirky and I was really afraid she'd wind up in a bad place. She wasn't really rideable (not if you planned on enjoying it, anyway ) and there was no guarantee she was breedable. I figured her options were pretty limited as she aged.

    So, I called a transport company and arranged everything. One evening I announced to my husband that I was headed to the barn where I boarded to meet the transport...this was the first he'd heard of her coming home. She drove him crazy the first time I owned her He took it amazingly well considering how I sprang it on him She got there around midnight and it was a great feeling.

    That was 4 1/2 years ago and she is still living in my pasture. She'll be 27 in the spring. She has aged alot this year, and I fear a decision may be looming in the not-so-far-off future...but I am just relieved that I will KNOW she is taken care until that time. I dread making the decision but that is what I promised her.

    I wish that I could take more on...I really enjoy the old ones. I took in another old Arab mare right after I got Scarlett back, but lost her about 6 months later. I have another mare that is semi-retired but is only 12, but we'll have her forever too. We've had her since she was a yearling, so she's part of the family

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Jul. 20, 2004


    I've said it before, old horses is the best horses.

    Fred is my "hairshirt." Bought him as my first horse at the behest of a trainer who did not have my best interests at heart. Sensitive TB with a sloppy rider, who never got any better than mediocre on the best of days. Coupled with his flighty demeanor, he also has had more unsound days than sound. He will live out his days here. He's 17 (or is it 18?) now. I built my farm for him. Sometimes I still ride him when I need to be reminded how crummy of a rider I really am.

    Tom I think was my payment for sticking it out with Fred. Gifted to me for free at the ripe age of 24 when he was no longer a fit for the lesson program he was in. He has proven to be a perfect match for me. We both like to mosey, and if you can breathe you can ride Tom.

    Peanut is the 38 yo mini I adopted for $65 and promptly spent $1200 on dental work. Just in case you can't see the word "sucker" on my forehead, I also wear a hat and t-shirt with the same word in bold red letters, just to make sure.

    I saw Bill the 8 yo perch/haflinger stallion cross on AC4H broker pages and was skeered he wouldn't get a home, so I agreed to take him. I thought the average age of my herd would be coming down.

    Then they showed me Dan, the 17ish walking skeleton. But as I said before I like old horses. Antique treasures.

    Thanks for starting this okggo - it is heartwarming. I used to be a child protective services worker and I still get wrung up about my hot-botton issues, and I tend to be suspicious and easily convinced that the whole darn world is evil. Especially when I see the craigslist ads trying to sell the 32 year old mare for $500 or to rehome the broken down horse who taught someone how to ride. Sometimes I think we all need a reminder that maybe there are more good people than bad people out there.

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2007
    Boston MA

    Default Ok Here's mine

    I wasn't looking for a "rescue" I was looking for a dressage horse, trained to at least 2nd.

    What I got was the skinniest horse I'd ever seen. The ad said he was a 2nd level dressage horse, but all I could see were bones, a giant head, and the saddest expression. Of course we took him, brought him home, had the vet out for shots, floated his teeth, and started feeding him.

    The initial plan was to send him south for the winter to live in my friend's pasture. He gained 60 lbs in the first week. Needless to day he never left He's had Lyme disease, arthritis, abscesses, xrays, Legend, Adequan, you name it, we've done it. He's still here, 13 mths later lame again with another abscess, fat and happy and ruling the pasture.

    When he's sound he's the perfect horse for me. When he's lame, he's still the perfect horse for me, just not rideable. He's been about 50/50 over the past year. He is brave, willing, forward, sane enough to be safe but still opinionated enough to be fun. We've been to the beach, out on trails, team penning, to dressage and natural horsemanship clinics and even jumped a bit.

    He is the perfect horse for me and I would be hard pressed to ever find another like him. Did I mention that he's an OTTB??? I consider myself lucky that he came into my life, despite all his issues, I wouldn't trade him for anything. This horse has a home with me for the rest of his life.

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Apr. 25, 2006
    out west


    Ok, I have a story.

    I have an 18 year old gelding. I have owned him since he was 3 years old and we have grown up together. (I was 13 when I got him)

    I showed him through the childrens hunters, juniors, A/O's and then A/A's until he was 16 years old. (he has won numerous zone 8 champions, medal finals and was circuit champion in 2005 at Hits!)

    At that time (16 years old) I thought I could lease him out for a year while I got a job in CA and saved up to be able to keep him. (this was my only horse at the time)

    I sent him to a trainer and 2 months later he was broken. Long story short I told them not to lunge him in the arena (too deep) and they chased him with a can full of rocks and he tore 2 parts of his tendon.

    Anyway, for 2 years I have had him with me at the show barn that I work at and I still had to pay his board, but got free grooming. Never could get him quite right, so I decided to retire him. I paid for stem cell and everything!

    He is now at a retiree farm and I work my butt off at her farm to pay for his board. I help clean and house sit the 8 horses, 2 dogs, cat and 2 chickens when they go out of town, just because my horse is happy their and loves his 32 year old pasture mate.

    Now none of this has been easy and he has pretty much put me in the poor house, but I would never put him down and never give him away. He is my once in a lifetime horse and I will be with him until the day he dies.

    I quit my job a couple of weeks ago and am now back to looking for a chef job, but I have worked out everything in order to be able to take care of my old guy.

    I am sorry, but these people that have had these great old show horses and when they are useless, they just want to dump them. Sorry, but I just think that is terrible!

    I live with my mom at 28 years old so I can afford to have my old gelding and my little weanling up and comer. I don't mind to sacrifice. He was so good to me, I can only try to repay him by taking care of him.

    To some people it is out of sight, out of mind, but not for me!

  13. #53


    Oh this makes me happy to see and share too!

    I just put up a video the other day with my boy.
    He's my pride and joy home bred and yes, he hurt himself in his youth and has a proprioception issue that simply makes him too dangerous to ride imo. After spending an expensive week at Fairfield Equine with a team of vets fascinated by him, I came home with an extensive program to rehab him. What they failed to realize is that his mind simply believes his foot is 4 inches back of where it really is and thus in some situations he crumples. Not exactly what you'd want to be sitting on. But he loves life all the same.

    My game "plan" (rather than totally throw him out to a retirement farm), is to continue running a small boarding operation to support his sorry butt (he's my world mind you)... in the manner in which he needs/likes (and any horse ought to imo)... and perhaps work on some in hand work more seriously. He's got mighty skills with verbal and gestural/body language reading. We have fun, and he does miss having a job (he was so proud to work back when his training started).

    So there ya are. Enjoy the silly little 30sec video and melodramatic music I guess. lol!

  14. #54
    Join Date
    Mar. 7, 2003
    Horse Heaven, GA :-)


    I have Z. She went through a scary auction in Florida a few years ago and a few COTHers got together to 'ransom' her. She had 8 owners and 7 babies (not including the 2 that died) before she came to me at age 14 because she can no longer carry a foal to term. She was skinny, had rain rot and a giant fused ankle from her days on the track. The poor thing didn't even know about treats

    I could talk about that mare all day long, but for now I'll just say, she's not sound and made it terribly clear that she will not be ridden, so she's living large in my pasture. Here are before and after pictures:
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    Y'all ain't right!

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2001


    These are great stories.
    I have quite a list.
    Matilda came from a barn where the guy bought every available horse and when I was there, every feed trough was full to the brim and they were all eating away. His double decker sat right outside. So, 24 year old lame, heavie, moon blindness old grouch came home with me, for $450. Had her 4 years, she is a great nanny, living the life in a stall, senior feed, et al.
    Derry I bought as a 5 year old, he went through prelim 3 Day, then was hurt in the pasture. A friend loved him and leased him for alow level horse and I gave him to her for xmas. 10 years later, he needed a home, so he is back, 26 now. Also has to have a stall, senior feed, msm...
    Khat someone gave me and forgot to mention she had navicular. She had one foal and has lived the life for 10 years with me. She also has to stay in, msm, special food.
    And soon I am getting one back, Gage. He was abandoned at my boarding barn, 21 and about a 2 body scale. I got him fat and healthy and he has been through 2 pony clubbers. Unfortunatly, neither want him now so back he comes.
    I hope karma remembers me when I am old and have no money.
    Oh, I forgot, Queenie. Some a$$ made us pay $300 for her, she was close to 35. I babied her for a year, then laid her to rest in June.
    I am a sucker for the old ones.

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Apr. 7, 2005
    summerville GA


    I have a huge list too but no point in trying to tell you about the favorites cause they all are. I have many many old, lame, nonrideables, but no unwanted's. I want them.

    I love this thread. It warms me to my toes to know that there are hundreds of old folks out there that I will never meet cause you guys know the value of a pet as well as I do.
    Our horses are not seen as the old and disabled they may have become, but rather as the mighty steeds they once believed themselves to be.

    Sunkissed Acres Rescue and Retirement

  17. #57
    Join Date
    Mar. 21, 2006


    the yellowhorse was picked up at an auction to be a school horse and within minutes of arrival to the barn it was obvious she was not school horse material, was a beinnger working student, it was Mon, they said she was going to the tuesday sale, I bought her, she was unrideable and difficult to handle, I owned her for the rest of her life, she turned into a great riding horse, i doubt i'll meet another like her
    at some point we had bought a young horse for my husband, we knew her since the day she was born actually, as a 4 year old, she was injured in a stupid drunk bo accident and woiund up essentially being off and on sound for trail walks only

    at some point i had 2 horses that were no longer rideable, i was boarding and working my real job and worked off board for 18 years to afford them, it became difficult to manage both horses with their various age and old injury related problems, so i thought well i just have to buy my own farm, too expensive in the state where i lived, so i bided my time until my daughter was out of school and on her own and moved myself out of state, my husband thought i was comiong back but after about 6 months figured i wasn't so sold the house and we moved onto our own place shortyly afterwards, i promised both horses i would take care of them for life and i did, the yellowhorse lived out her remaining days secure in that this was our farm, ebony after 16 years of being unsound was finally put down at our farm

    right now i have sable, a freebie i picked up a few years ago, she is old and swaybacked, she has cushings and the worst trot ever, she has a home here for life, it was funny when i got sable, i was filled with grief after losing the yellowhorse and ebony was grieving for her friend, so just kinda got thsi free horse and didn't give her much, she was just what we both needed, sable is very self reliant and ebony and i could not be a good freind to her right away, so sable just was there, trying to fill a hole that was too big to fill, after a while we kinda saw all her good points and she too has a home here for life, she was with ebony when we put her down and was a comfort to me and my husband. sable had been sound for a short time, its mostly her back that bothers her, she was borrowed a few times for kids to learn on her as she is very tolerant. when i got sable, i told the previous owner i'd keep in touch, when we got home i called her sand said the horse made it here fine, previous owner said you don't have to give me updates, just glad she's gone, wow is all i could say

    anyway the prime reason why i uprooted the whole family years ago was so unless disaster struck i would never have to worry about what to do with an old horse

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000


    I know money is tight for a lot of us (or even most or all of us)

    One of the things that makes me very happy is that I have my own farm. It makes it much easier to take in needy animals. I could never afford the board for unwanted horses, but I do have enough grass for a couple.

    I don't know any landowners that don't have a few needy animals napping in the sunshine. Whether it's a dog thrown from a moving car, cats that show up with kittens, someone's cast off horse, goat or other animal..... there's always a kind face and a hard luck story wandering around the yard or pasture.

    Uh... two of them are laying at my feet as I type this, actually. They're the nicest, kindest happiest dogs I could ever hope for.

    I don't know about y'all, but I feel like the luckiest person in the world.

  19. #59
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2008


    I don't know about y'all, but I feel like the luckiest person in the world.
    Me too Hubby complains every now and then and says: "Tell me again why we have all these animals?" He's a city guy and I'm a country girl, but I'm so lucky to have him because he understands how much my lifestyle means to me and works hard so that we can afford it (barely).
    Here is my "unwanted" horse story:

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Jul. 10, 2008
    Wales, UK


    I lost my old guy just this last summer. I was lucky enough to be able to keep him through his retirement until he had to go.
    I know I was privilidged to have him until the end, to know that he had a good life and was loved right to the end.

    I miss him such a lot now, at the time I was just grateful that I was able to repay him for all the good years that he took care of me and my friends - I could let anyone ride him (as long as I was there) and he would take care of them whatever their ability.
    But now I really miss him-grief is a strange process isn't it?

    To give him a good retirement and death was the least I could do

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