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Mean and cruel?

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  • Mean and cruel?

    I have a 16 yr old tb gelding that I've owned since he was 4. I'd like to buy another horse who is a bit of a better mover and had a bit more energy (my horse is lazy, which can be good b/c it's safe but bad b/c I get tired of pushing him).

    If I get another horse, I could not afford board for 2 horses. My friend said I could put him out at her place w/ her mare. However my horse has always lived in a stall. I'm afraid he'd have trouble adjusting to his new home. Also he has bad hooves. My friend's mare is out all the time and eats off the land so she doesn't handle her a lot. She just looks out at her mainly.

    My friend and I both teach and I know she wouldn't have the time to look after him the way he is used to. Is it awful of me to think of retiring him b/c I want a better mount and he is getting on in age? Thanks for any feedback.

  • #2
    Different horses adjust differently, so it's hard to say for sure. But many horses do really enjoy living out, and it can especially help with the stiffness as they get older.

    Personally, if it were me, I'd try relocating him first, see how he copes, and then decide what to do from there. He might hate it. He might love it. He might even get a fresh spring in his step from being out all the time.
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
    -Edward Hoagland


    • #3
      A 16 year old lazy TB that is reasonably well trained should be someone's dream horse....a new rider that needs a safe horse. I'd market him rather than retire him. He's not that old (horses are competing well into their 20's so with good care he's got a lot of good years yet).
      Colored Cowhorse Ranch
      Northern NV


      • #4
        Def agree with cch. I would think you'd have no trouble finding someone to free lease him. I'd try that route first. I bet you find someone to love him in no time.
        I would like to think I will die an heroic death...

        But it's more likely I'll trip over my dog and choke on a spoonful of frosting.


        • #5
          Ha ha -- I just bought a 16 year old lazy TB who is reasonably well-trained. I love him to pieces, too!


          • #6
            Also remember that sometimes turnout is the best thing in the world for them. We've had one go from incredibly neurotic to significantly less neurotic just by living out - he'd been in a stall his whole life. It's not "mean and cruel" if you do it correctly and make sure the happy with the change.

            Some love it, some don't. Most seem to.
            They're small hearts.


            • #7
              Turnout 24/7 is a wonderful thing for a horse! I got a OTTB whose feet were awful when I got him. Threw shoes ALL.THE.TIME. Finally I got smart and just pulled them, got him trimmed and left him barefoot. We didn't work in a ring, but he did climb my hilly rocky pastures. When I sold him two years later (after mostly 24/7 turnout, stalled only in dead of winter and 8 hours in hot summer sun) he had the best.hooves.ever. according to the farrier who bought him. Was going to put shoes on him, but his walls were so strong he ended up not bothering. Horse went on to hunt barefoot.

              My suggestion is (before you buy another horse) to try him at your friend's for a month. If it works, great. But if it doesn't, bring him back to your barn, put him into work and sell him. Sixteen is young to retire if he's sound.
              ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
              Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

              "Life is merrier with a terrier!"


              • #8
                Yes, I say sell him rather than retire him. It shouldn't be too hard. Check with Pony Clubs - I have a 19 year old TB that is being used by PC to move girls up and he's happy and content - better than retirement for sure!


                • Original Poster

                  Thank you for everone's advice. . My trainer called another trainer who wants him for her riding program. I'm hoping this works out b/c he would still be used (some of you said that would be good, and it makes sense). Throughout my time w/ him he's had spells of being off (bad hooves). He threw a front shoe a couple of weeks ago and he has been a bit tender footed.

                  I haven't talked yet w/ the person who would take him, but I will. What is a free lease? Is that when I still retain ownership but he just gets used by someone else while I don't pay board? B/c after his years of service, I would want to take care of his welfare and not just wash my hands of him.


                  • #10
                    Free lease is generally where you retain ownership, but the leasee pays the bills and uses the horse. Just make sure you have a contract spelling out the terms of the lease, and what happens if he gets hurt or they want to return him for some other reason before the lease is up.

                    Keeping them in some kind of work does seem to keep them from going downhill as quickly due to age. My 20-yo does better staying in work.


                    • #11
                      OP, trust your gut- if you feel your guy would not do so well out "in a field" believe yourself. I "retired" my 19yo last spring after trying to find a pony club, 4-h, trail riders, ect who would like to ride him on a free lease basis. He retired to a field with a few other horses, daily grain and hay and all basic care. I feel that he now looks horrible having lost his muscle mass and the spark is gone from his eyes. All his physical needs are met, but it wasn't the right choice for him.

                      If the schoolie job doesn't work out I would agree with the "try" the retirement BEFORE getting your new horse.
                      Karma and Drifter girl


                      • #12
                        Teal, which trainer called yours? PM and let me know -


                        • #13
                          I agree with the people suggesting a free lease or sale.

                          While many horses love living outside and just being horses, some don't. Some enjoy contact with people, enjoy their stall, enjoy being groomed, are more comfortable with shoes, and would be miserable "just being a horse in a pasture". And turnout without shoes doesn't always fix hoof problems. (ask me how I know all of this)

                          Good luck finding a new situation for your guy!
                          Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


                          • #14
                            There just comes a time when a rider has to move on in order to keep improving.
                            But solid citizens are hard to come by and invaluable.
                            Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                            • #15
                              Find a free lease, and you can be picky about it too, make sure it is a person you trust 100%. I have my horse free leased, is everything as perfect for him as I would like? No there are things I don't like, but he is extremely well cared for and loved. He is used in a lesson program, and enjoys the attention. He will be 22 this spring and still shows and jumps and looks great. In fact he was just reserve champ out of 10 yesterday. I am good friends with the person leasing him and she still often asks me opinion on changes for him, ie changing his turn out, feed, etc. I often let her use her best judgment as I am several states away from him and she sees him every day, but it is nice to be asked. Make sure you feel good about the situation and have a good way to keep track of how the horse is doing. I see pictures on facebook all the time of how he is doing, and it is great.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by teal tea View Post
                                Thank you for everone's advice. . My trainer called another trainer who wants him for her riding program. I'm hoping this works out b/c he would still be used (some of you said that would be good, and it makes sense). Throughout my time w/ him he's had spells of being off (bad hooves). He threw a front shoe a couple of weeks ago and he has been a bit tender footed.

                                I haven't talked yet w/ the person who would take him, but I will. What is a free lease? Is that when I still retain ownership but he just gets used by someone else while I don't pay board? B/c after his years of service, I would want to take care of his welfare and not just wash my hands of him.
                                If I were with this horse in this situation, I wouldn't sell him to someone who wanted to use him as a school horse.

                                I might lease him to them more or less indefinitely if I liked the trainer and the program. I do mean "free lease"-- trainer pays all bills, you still own him, you and the trainer agree about the terms of ending the lease and all. Ideally, you go see him from time to time so you know how he's doing.

                                Good for you on two counts--- making a nice horse that is useful to other people, and wanting to take care of him the best you can!
                                The armchair saddler
                                Politically Pro-Cat


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thanks for everyone's advice. .

                                  Foxtrot yes I'm hoping that I won't regret the decision. He's been good to me and never really has moved so quickly that I've come off, which is good. But that also is part of the problem, he is very dead to my leg. The mare I'm looking at is more sensitive, which of course means I'll have to be sensitive back, or I'll end up on the ground. . I'm hoping he'll please a beginner or more novice rider b/c he's not so sensitive. Then in a perfect world everyone ends up winning.