First off, this if my first post here on COTH, I just joined yesterday, so forgive me while I get used to the lingo and what not.
I got my mare about 11 years ago and she has been an absolutely wonderful companion, teammate and pet. We did the jumpers for many years together - doing the Children Adult Highs until she couldn't do it anymore. She was chronically lame, x-rays showed no problems with her bones, and MRI was suggested but we just couldn't afford it. The vet couldn't make a definite diagnosis without the MRI but we would block her and she would be about 99% sound - it could be navicular but basically we didn't know - so my trainer and the vet recommended that we should nerve her and so I did. (I'm not sure if I'm happy with that decision).
We spent about a year rehabing her - and she is still not sound - only about 80% sound. Not as bad as before, but not good enough to ride.
I am not the type of rider who goes through horses like they are nothing. I stayed at the Children Adult Highs not because I couldn't advance but because I didn't want to sell my mare - I really love her and don't want her to be in any pain, so rather than continuing to rehab her or try other options, I really just want to retire her.
I don't know what to do though - she could have another 10 years in her and I'm not sure I can afford $350 a month for the rest of her life especially if I want to lease another horse (although my mare's health and happiness and care comes before any future prospects).
Could I donate her? Retire her? What are the things I should look for in a retirement facility?
Does anyone have any good retirement facilities on the east coast - VA/MD/PA area would be good (I'm currently in DC and would like to visit her.)
Keep in mind that she either needs pads on her front feet or someone to pick up her feet twice a day and make sure she has not bruised herself or stepped on a nail due to the fact that she is nerved and probably won't feel it.
Does anyone know anything about Elmington Farm? I'm looking for the cheapest best care possible - or any other options besides a retirement facility. Euthanasia is not an option - she is a wonderful horse, has been wonderful to me and I want to return the favor to her.
You sound like a wonderful, caring owner. I have a particular interest in retired horses as I board a few, and have one of my own.
Your options are a bit limited -- do a search on donating a horse: I wouldn't recommend it. First of all the horse has to be rideable. I'm not aware of any schools that actually keep the retired horses. Some schools are horrible and dump at auction, some retire them with former students, but in any case, none keep the horses forever.
You can certainly retire her, but that means you continue to pay board and expenses for her. There are farms that specialize in retired horses. The price range varies widely depending on geographic area and services offered.
You could try finding her a companion home, although they are hard to come by. Network like crazy! Because she's a bit more expensive than a barefoot horse, you might want to advertise that you will pay for the farrier and vet to make her a more attractive prospect.
There are quite a few of us on COTH that board retired horses, so think through what you want in a facility, tell us your requirements and perhaps someone will either do it, or know of such a place. Do you need a stall? Any supplements or meds given? Blanketing? Are you OK with her in a large herd of horses in huge fields, or do you want smaller groups -- that sort of thing.
Best of luck! My horse has navicular, was nerved before I got him, and is now retired age 13 on a regime of 24/7 turnout and bute every other day.