‘Age Is Meaningless’ When Deciding Whether To Retire An ‘Old’ Horse
News General Equestrian
Two weeks after having to put my 25 year old mare down for kidney failure, I received an interesting call from my husband. Our vet had told him about a 28 year old gelding who was in perfect health other than a slight issue with some lameness. The gelding’s owner wanted to put him down rather than take off a few months from riding. Our vet had cared for this horse for years and was trying to find a home for him.
Enter my compassionate, soft hearted husband. This poor old horse just needed several months of rest and deserved a good home to live out his remaining days. And even though my heart was still heavy with grief from losing my mare, I could not refuse my husband’s request. And so in short time, we became the new owners of a registered, 28 year old Appaloosa gelding named Shonee, who had no front teeth.
After 10 months of rest, our vet checked out and cleared Shonee to be ridden once again. We started out slowly, then eventually worked up to riding him during half hour lessons every other day. With my trainer’s approval and our vet in agreement, we decided to enter Shonee in some of the local horse shows. And as they say, the rest is history. In June, Shonee won 2nd and 3rd place in the Walk-Trot competition of the Western Pleasure category. And even more impressive, he won Reserve Grand Champion in the Senior Halter Class. When the judges made the announcement, my tears started pouring. Here was a horse whose owner had given up on him, and now he was being recognized for his worth.
Shonee has taught us all some valuable lessons over this past year. You can always go back to doing what you love (in my case). And an animal at any age still has value and worth. As for Shonee; we’re taking it one show at a time; one class at a time. With his health and soundness foremost in mind, we will not hesitate for a moment to retire this good old soul and allow him to live out his remaining years in peace.