Older horse advice. Sorry its Long Please don't judge me.(25 Posts)
My old boy, 3/4IDxTB will be 26 in the new year, (with TB brain) and my mum gave/bought him for me when I was 15, he's seen me compete at BSJA, but mainly hunted, and boy we've had some cracking seasons, and he's still going.
obviously, he's been there through exams, uni and marriage, and now children, he owes me nothing and my husband and I want to do right by him.
My husband and I were out at the weekend on our two horses and we had a big heart to heart, since having the children now aged 4 and 2.5 our weekend commitments are increasing, and the enjoyment of the horses is decreasing as we're spending less time with them.
This would be fine if it we could go out trail laying during the week and leave the weekends for family time, but we don't and the only day my husband can ride is at the weekend, usually on a saturday.
As we don't want to dump the kids with friends and family on so that we can go out on a saturday enjoying ourselves or dragging the kids foot following. My husband already feels that he doesn't see the kids enough as a result of his work hours and riding on a saturday, and feels his relationship with them is suffering (he also resents his parents dragging him around the golf courses and tennis circuits, and doesn't want history to repeat itself)
So we've decided to sell his horse, a wonderful giant 18hh.
Our dilemma is my old man as i said will be 26 next year.
We are not prepared for him to sit in a field and rot, that would break my heart. my plan is to get him an MOT from the vet so we know exactly what state he's in, he is still hunting fit, but is beginning to struggle so timing wise this works as we plan to retire him from hunting after this season anyway.
so i suppose my question is, if he is fit to carry on being ridden, a small amount of dressage (he had 19dressage points once upon a time) and a bit of jumping, would i be unreasonable to find him a home or a rider who would ride him from my parents house - although that too would break my heart, although my other worry would be moving him to a new yard would also Finnish him off - my mums yard has been his home for the last 16years. He's the type of horse that won't do retirement, he'll brake fences etc! Obviously if he's found to be unfit I won't hesitate to do the right thing by him.
PLEASE PLEASE don't judge me, I'm really struggling with this decision but there just aren't enough days at the weekend for this to work, and we don't want the kids growing up saying they never saw us that the weekend because mummy and daddy where doing horses. they're not showing any interest in the animals. Selling the other hunter I have no issues with, we've had him for 4 years and he's got people lining up offering us money if we ever decided to sell him (he's not even on the market officially yet - got to get my old boy sorted first.)
if you've got this far, thank you.
I should add, we're in no rush, but would like to get sorted before september.
Don't understand what we would be judging you for? Times move on, he won't live forever and your kids are only young once.
We had our 28 year old put down last year. I'd had him since I was 15. His 'retirement home ' manager said his companion had reached the end and had to be put to sleep. he just felt ours would not cope alone. This might sound harsh but we choose him to be asleep rather than suffer.
I'm not saying this is the choice for you, but I think we have to make decisions balanced on a number of things where horses / pets are involved.
Why not try a loan and see if that works.
Ours was on part loan since I was at university and it was great until lady offered a younger model (after many years), that's when he went to retirement
Why would anyone judge you? Advertise in local tack shops and riding centres for someone to loan him from your parents's yard. That way you will be able to keep an eye on him and even ride him every so often.
The only thing I would consider is whether he would be OK on his own or he would need a companion once your other horse is sold.
I don't know why i feel judged, I just can't stop crying.
I know its the right thing to do retiring him, but giving up horses all together I didn't really contemplate it. I suppose I just hoped that he would have a heart attack over a hedge or not get up the following day. and that would be the natural end.
I really can't see him in a field being hacked out once in a blue moon - also I'm not the sort of person who likes to happy hack, the horses are there for a job, and if your not riding them they are sold. I just never contemplated that I would be the one ending it.
He lives out 24/7 we're very lucky my parents have 13acres, and will be looking to rent the yard out once we're gone, I'm not sure how a new person would be to take on a live in resident, when he's not great - has to be him and one other - although with age he may have mellowed that idea
do you think there would be someone who would want a quirky schoolmaster, he's got the knowledge, he just makes you work for it, and out hacking he can be a jackal and hyde character, a slug on the way out and a steam train on the way home - even now he's definitely not a first horse.
You won't know till you advertise. If you are willing to accept a reasonably low rent more people may be interested in taking on an oldie as part of the bargain.
No judgement here. You could definitely look at loaning him out. (Check out proper loan agreements.)
thank you, will try advertising him, through word of mouth (assuming i don't break down crying), I've got some good friends who would/might be able to help, find him a 5* home, so will talk to them in the new year, I just wanted to see if someone said, your being daft, have you thought of XYorZ?
I always believed he'd leave me, not me leave him, i'm feeling very guilty and want the best for him.
But you want the best for him. You aren't choosing something for any other reason than you want the best for him.
Advertise for a sharer, ride him when you can, why feel guilty? The only option that would worry me is you selling him as there are many immoral people out there who would pass him on.
Have you heard of this site? It might help find a solution.
My mum was very upset when we went through all this. Easier for me as I was at uni or living away (we shared him).
Ours was no novice ride either. The lady who loaned him came by word of mouth, used to work at a stables. We said no jumping him and it was still an arrangement she was happy with for years to hack, school and dressage. (Horse had mild navicular and bad knee).
"I'm not sure how a new person would be to take on a live in resident"
Could your parents afford to make his retirement care a condition of the rental agreement, when they find a new tenant for the yard? Offer a reduction in the monthly/annual rent on condition that he has a grazing place on the yard, with day-to-day care.
If that could be arranged, you could then advertise for a sharer/rider for him.
One of our retired competition horses similarly couldn't bear to be fully out of work, and we were very lucky to find an adult rider for him ... a woman, previously experienced and returning to riding after some years, who now simply wants to school/do flatwork and a little light hacking. It has worked out perfectly for them both, but he is still very much within our ownership.
It does sound like a difficult situation. One thing that I have to ask though is why retiring him, would upset you? You mention you would not want to "Leave him on a field to rot" but who is to say, at the stage of his life he is now at, he wouldn't be perfectly happy with that? I don't know what your finances are like, but have you considered looking for retirement livery for him? I know a lot of horses mellow with age, so it could be that something that would have sent him loopy a few years ago, would be fine now, and he could enjoy a long and happy retirement.
The one thing I wouldn't do is sell a horse that age, as you don't know where he could end up if he is sold on. If he really couldn't cope with retirement, loaning, or looking for someone to share him, sounds like a good plan. I do hope you manage to come up with something that works for both you and him!
On the basis of my experience of loans, if he is precious to you and a bit quirky, I wouldn't loan him in a million years. I wouldn't really be happy to let other people ride him either if he's a bit quirky - you'll be lucky to find the right rider for him. Obviously it's an option, but it's a an option with lots of ifs and buts and worry attached.
I really don't think there's anything wrong with taking him to the kennels if he is at the end of his working life and you don't have a good option for his retirement. My old boy, who I'd had since I was 14, retired at 23 when I was pg with the first and stayed in a field until he was 30. I was lucky I could do this, and he seemed happy. But at 30, although there was nothing wrong with him, he was losing teeth and not wintering well. I also have to be honest, and I haven't said this to anyone else, I was also running out of time in the day to do horses, and he was needing more and more care. So I made the decision to take him to the kennels. I put him in a stable and said goodbye to him there, and the kennel man did the rest. I am pleased that I didn't have to go through finding him hurt or dead in the field, as my mum did with one of her horses a while ago. And he didn't have to suffer an illness or injury at the end of his life. It is a good way to go. Being sentimental about ending his life could end up being worse for him.
Good luck with whatever you decide.
thank you, the last pony we decided to put down, we took off bute and called the kennels to make the arrangements, he died in the stable that night - which was a big relief, as he seemed to agree with us it was time.
My old boy to day wouldn't let me catch him - it took me 20mins to get him and his friend in from the field for the saddler, he is the ring leader of the two, which is why seeing him sitting in a field just isn't an option, the saddler couldn't believe that he's 26 and I was out trail riding him last weekend jumping all the hedges, rails and ditches.
I've booked him in for an MOT next week with the vet, so we know exactly where we are with his health, he runs on adrenaline which is why the arthritis doesn't bother him when active, if it did there wouldn't be a problem. I always thought that he'd go either with me riding him out or be found in the field the following day.
4 years ago we pts my 13 year old on the advice of the vet, as he had server arthritis, so badly the vet couldn't believe he was still doing everything he was doing, but he was still enjoying life and working well and all of a sudden he went lame and didn't come right. My husband and I have always said that its the animal to decide when the time is right, unless something really obvious happens.
Thank you for all your thoughts and understanding.
I honestly don't see why one would put a healthy horse down, even if he is old.
I would go for a retirement livery... Letting the horse be horse again for a few years. Nice way to end the carrier of a dear friend.
Good luck with whatever you decide...
You say your reason for this change with the horses is spending more time with the children? Didn't see that finances were a factor in your plans to sell dh horse and loan out yours.
Can't you shift your pony playing and plan things with the children? We are in a similar position that horses live with parents and pre children husband and I rode out together, did a bit of hunting and I competed. Fast forward 4years dh would take dd on leadrein to meets pleasure ride, we as a family love pony club and not wanting to wish time away hoping to buy dh a new horse (sadly lost the horse he rode and I used to compete after 19years of owner ship this summer) and we can go out with her on lead rein.
Be careful with loans I had a horrible experience when pregnant put my old quirky school mistress, with a experienced friend who had lost her confidence, she become fairly lethal.
Good luck whatever you decide
I haven't rtft. Sorry.
Sounds like my old boy who was its aged 34 this year having been fully retired for 3 years. We gradually reduced his workload since his mid 20's. He was an ex high goal polo.pony so had worked hard but still loved work and WAS happier doing a job. He was noticeably perkier if he had been for a jog round the block (30minutes) once a week aged 31. We did in hand walk outs after that (he still jogged.....)
I would loan/ride a horse like yours in a heartbeat if i were in a position to. Just had a baby though.
We also moved yards 5 years ago and he really didn't suffer for it. He was with two friends though and still me going twice a day.
Sounds like he's still got lots to give so i would be investigating loan/rider option.
Just to say OP that I currently full loan a mare same age as your boy. It has been tricky at times - I'm very conscious of her age in the decisions I make and I had a Cushings diagnosis soon after getting her but she's still hacking and jumping with ease. She's on turmeric to ward off joint pain and you'd have no idea of her age.
The important thing for me has been support from her owners. They too didn't want to see her rot in a field and they pay for her Cushings treatment for me but otherwise what's not to like for a loan? She's been there, seen it done it and is teaching me all about horse ownership.
It sounds like with the right loaner/rider he could have more years of enjoyment ahead of him...
here's an update:
well I've now taken him for his MOT, I did NOT, tell my vet our plans as I didn't want that influencing his advice for me.
He doesn't have a heart murmour which is good, however, he does have an irregular irregular heart beat with High blood pressure, this is not so good, his resting heart rate mid 50's - mid 60's, when it should be at his age 26, around mid 30 to low 40's.
I asked what he thought his future held, the vet asked me does he feel like his engine cuts out, the turbo boost has gone or loss of top gears, to which i replied yes, but not all the time.
His advice to me was:
the horse is a doer, he's not going to be happy sitting in a field - look at him - he looks fantastic,
would I (the vet) be happy for my mother to ride him - no.
Can we fix his heart beat - yes, is it fair to him - no, too many complicaitions with the drugs and his age.
If he was mine (the vets), I would finish this hunting season quietly, be aware of how he is moving, sounding and then after the season I would then let him go (PTS) with dignity.
to this I burst in to tears, but it feels right, I'm going to enjoy him for the rest this season, if we make it to the end, great, if not I know i've done everything for him over the last 17years.
so sorry to hear this. Enjoy every moment with him and for you
Oh no, what sad news. Very difficult to hear but I think the vet is right, sometimes it's better to let them go with dignity.
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