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What does the ideal retirement situation for a show horse look like to you?

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    I do have to muzzle my cushings horse, but he does fine with that limitation.
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


      Originally posted by hb View Post

      Or the horse with insulin resistance or a similar issue that cannot handle 24/7 access to grass. I have a beautiful field on my farm, but my retirees live in paddocks with limited turn out for health reasons. We've got really rich grass in this area and 2 out of 3 of my most recent retirees have been warmbloods and draft crosses that cannot handle it for more than an hour or so a day.
      Obviously special considerations would need to be taken for horses that can't be on grass 24/7 for medical reasons. My response pertained to the mental aspect of the "typical" horse coming out of show life and used to a stall and strict schedule.


        One problem maybe is changing needs of old horses. What if the happy pensioner turns into a special needs horse - is it possible to find solutions at the current barn or do you have to 'replant the old tree'?


          Ours are out for 18-19 hours a day in a herd, with run in sheds and other shady areas. They like to come in to their stalls for a few hours every day to flat out snooze and get their grain, and some grooming/attention. Sometimes it takes a little bit for the show hunters to acclimate to country living, but they all come around to loving it. You do have to manage the transition, especially for horses that have never been turned out in a herd. You also need to make sure they grow an adequate winter coat, are doing OK with no shoes, etc., so it's definitely not a matter of turning them out and hoping for the best--they need some management, but will come to appreciate the freedom.


            I have the perfect setup for my retirees at home. There's a 3 acre dry lot attached to 15 acre pastures. The dry lot has a 3 sided shed, 24/7 access to hay, and buckets for feeding grain. My dominant one is the one who is the hardest keeper so I have no issues feeding outside. The grass in my pastures is terrible quality so I have to feed hay year round. I do have pipe corral stalls in my barn for truly horrific weather (hail, blizzards) but they are very, very rarely inside.
            Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
            My equine soulmate
            Mischief Managed (Tully)- JC Priceless Jewel 2002 TB Gelding


              Totally depends on the horse. I've had two retired out in big fields in groups of 3-5 horses. They came into the indoor 3-5 days a year when the weather was horrendous, otherwise they stayed out. They made a pilgrimage to the barn ever 5 weeks for a hoof trim and a bath or a good curry.

              I had another retired horse who had a stall, and went out for ~5 hours a day on a dry lot with 2 friends. She was groomed several times a week and kept in shoes.

              I'm confident I had them all in the right situations for their needs.


                I board a number of retirees on my farm, including several of my own. All of my horses, retired or competing, are out 24/7 in large grass pastures with run-ins. I have a beautiful barn I spent entirely too much money building and the only horses that ever come in are my non-sweater when it gets too hot in the summer (I'm in Florida during the summers currently until my summer farm in Vermont is completed) and my equitation horse to keep her company because they're best friends. Otherwise, the only time my barn is used is when someone is injured or there is a hurricane. My show horses all came from a New England life of 18-22 hours a day in a stall and limited turnout on small paddocks and they often wanted in from being outside, but when I transitioned them to full turnout on lush pastures with excellent footing and shelter, they adjusted very quickly! Some of mine go out in small groups of 3-4, but many are out individually, some for feeding reasons and some because they're jerks LOL!

                They are bathed, groomed, clipped, and have their manes pulled/trimmed on a regular basis and all come in for the farrier. They're checked twice daily, fly sprayed in the mornings, and have their pastures mowed and dragged weekly or twice weekly depending on the growing season. Waterers are cleaned daily and bleached every other day. They're blanketed as needed and hayed in the winter (grass is so good from April-October that hay is unnecessary unless they come inside) and they all look fabulous. My youngest resident is 16 and my oldest is 34 and going strong! Though the show horses are the only ones that will go north, they'll live out up there as well...and yet somehow again I am spending entirely too much money building a barn I'll hardly ever use! Makes me feel better to have it in the long run, I suppose!
                Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.


                  Original Poster

                  Punkie, that sounds perfect!! Lucky horses!!


                    My retired OTTB is in a large grass paddock (1+acre) with a run in. He is one that doesn't care about whether he is out by himself or not, so sometimes he has a pasture mate and sometimes he does not. He has horses turned out on either side of him for company anyway.

                    My guy was never a big fan of staying in, but does like having access to a stall of some sort 24/7, and he is fed twice daily in his pasture. In the winter he gets grass hay provided by the barn and I will buy an orchard or timothy and alfalfa mix to supplement with. He gets blanketed/unblanketed as needed and is trimmed by the show horse farrier on his regular schedule.

                    It works, but I wish he was someplace where someone would take him out and groom him or just play with him (tricks for treats) sometimes. I can't make it out every week and he's a horse that likes attention and to be in the middle of things, so a bit more social activity would be great for him. That's really the only thing missing. He used to be in a paddock that looked down the main barn aisle and he found that pretty entertaining, plus he could easily beg for cookies that way. lol
                    Rhode Islands are red;
                    North Hollands are blue.
                    Sorry my thoroughbreds
                    Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :


                      We board retirees and although we offer both stall and pasture board, every horse ultimately ends up on 24/7/365 group turnout in a large (20-30 acre) pasture with good grass much of the year. Our biggest successes have always come from the fence runners and turnout haters. They end up being the most herd bound of all. We've found with these horses turnout in a small paddock (less than 5 or 6i acres) doesn't work for them. Turnout with other horses in a small paddock also does not work for them. But put them in a group in a big pasture and give them a few days to figure out? They become the horses you can't stall at all, without exception. We've realized the key factor for these horses is two things: there needs to be a group, and the pasture needs to be big. Both are key.

                      Our retirees are fed twice per day using feedbags so they each get a custom diet including supps/meds, etc. They are groomed regularly, see the farrier every six weeks, have their teeth floated annually, and are blanketed as needed in the winter. We watch a lot of horses improve in soundness and mental health. The only "complaint" our clients have is that after a few weeks to months at our farm, their horse has zero interest in seeing them anymore. They are much too occupied with herd dynamics to want to spend time with them. Treats are always welcome and do help the horses feign interest in their owner's visits for a short while, but even that only buys you limited time before the horse gets antsy and starts calling to their friends.

                      The horses retired with us come from diverse backgrounds. However the majority were show horses that competed in either hunter/jumpers or dressage and led the typical show horse life of limited, individual turnout.
                      Blogging about daily life on the retirement farm:
                      Paradigm Farms on Facebook


                        Originally posted by Limerick2017 View Post
                        I know of a few places with awesome grass and run in sheds but I feel like that is a harder life than having a stall to rest in each day. Then I remind myself that horses have less issues when they have hours to graze rather than standing in a stall.
                        Unless that grass and run in sheds comes with extremely harsh winters and inadequateshelter, it cannot be considered hard living. Keep reminding yourself that they have less issues AND they are (with a very few exceptions) much happier.

                        After all if Cortes C, Authentic, Coral Reef Via Volo, Mademoiselle, Cloud Nine, Capri, Prima and Victoria can suffer through 24/7 turn out in upstate NY, I feel confident it will probably be fine for all our peons.

                        My retiree and current show horse both have access to stall/run in and pasture. The ONLY time they spend any time in the stall is when they are locked in the paddock+stall during the day in the summer (diet control). As it turns out run in/stall+fan is preferable to the dirt lot in the sun... But only after their token hay is gone from the hay rack in the dry lot. There's even a shady area right next to the run in, and the non retiree prefers that to the run in.

                        And there are some horses who are very much in favor of routine and if the routine is all about going out for a brief time and then coming in, they can be very dedicated to that routine for a very long time. And the longer the routine the longer it may take for them to get happy with the new one. But most of them learn eventually. Like shorty, I had a chestnut QH mare that felt strongly about her stall although in her case it really was more because of a bad routine. When I bought her as an 11 year old she had been a show halter baby, a race horse and then she had 2 foals and in that entire time she only had access to a stall+stall sized paddock attached and she went on the hot walker for 15-20 minutes exercise while they cleaned the stall (yes, this included her foals as well). So when I got her and turned her out, she ran the fenceline after about 60 min turnout unless you bought her in for the first year. Eventually I landed a stall with about a half acre turnout attached and she started to figure it out, although she did spend a lot of time in the stall initially. But as long as she had access to both she figured out she liked the outside more than the inside living and in a few more years she transitioned to all day or night turnout and had to be be convinced to come in.

                        Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                          Originally posted by Rescuer View Post
                          Ideal retirement setup? I think the Madden's did a great job! Their Madden Mountain retirement facility is pretty amazing. No individual stalls but still free choice indoor access and each horse gets checked at grain time twice daily.

                          Authentic and Beezie's other jumpers were probably as pampered as any horse in the world during their show ring careers, it just goes to show how easily most of them adapt to just being a horse, living outside in a herd without an actual stall. What a great setup.


                            I had to retire my 18 year old gelding last year. Unfortunately, he has severe anhidrosis and also has allergic reactions to bugs, so 24/7 turnout was not an option. He is an incredible horse who saved me from silly mistakes too many times to count, so sending him away also wasn't an option. He needs his person and quite frankly I need him. So I have him at the Taj Mah Stalls - nicest barn I could find - because he deserves it. I go out and see him nearly every day. He is on treadmill service to keep him moving on those rainy days or too hot days when he can't be in the sun. He has professionals watching over him all the time and I can travel abroad for my job without a care in the world. He gets chiro adjustments monthly and massages 1-2x/month. My trainer thinks I'm nuts but I don't really care. It's so much less expensive than showing and I'm really enjoying my time with him with no stress of making it on time for lessons, or having to take time off for shows, or paying $2000/weekend to show. He's barefoot now so I get the nice expensive shoes every five weeks these days.

                            He falls asleep when he gets Bemer treatments so I may get him one of those as well. I know some people think it is total quackery but his physical response tells me otherwise, and I like a happy horse. It also seems to help with the sweating.

                            He is still able to be ridden lightly, and he actually gets excited about his trips around the ring. He gets a bit depressed when he is not able to work. Not all horses love retirement, and he is one of the special ones. Some horses, on the other hand, are THRILLED to never have to work another day in their life.

                            My suggestion is to find a place close enough to home where you can still pour on the love from time to time. It will make your heart happy! And let your horse tell you what is best - they have a way of speaking, we just need to listen. There is no one formula that works for all. 24/7 turnout is ideal as it does keep them moving, but some really just don't like or can't handle that type of situation.


                              Every horse is different/ The late Rox Dene only wanted to stay out for 2 - 3 hours a day.; And what Princess wanted, Princess got

                              My horses have pasture and grass and stalls with a 'lanai' (a 12 x 12 outside area attached to their stalls). I will never have more horses than I have stalls because when they need to come in, THEY NEED TO COME IN!

                              Several horses come in to eat because they are low on the totem pole. Others cleverly avoid anything that looks like a halter, except in severe weather.

                              Speaking of feed. No matter how many acres a horse has if the rain don't rain and the pasture is not maintained (weed kill, fertilizing. overseeding, fire ant control), then horses will need hay, even in the summer. So also ask (and look at) the hay the farm has.

                              Farrier? Vet? Shot,worming schedule? Supplements as needed for an aging horse.....

                              There is no one answer to your question and you will not know what is right for Remi until you try it. For that reason, I would keep him at a retirement place near you so you can assess his needs and how he functions in a herd.

                              PS: To get everything I have mentioned does not come cheap. As in everything, you get what you pay for

                              YEA for you getting a farm!!!!!! Will it be in the SP area?
                              "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"


                                Original Poster

                                All Hunter, have you tried acupuncture for the anhidrosis? It worked on my daughters’ Small pony years ago.