One of my goals for 2018 is to investigate retirement situations for Tristan. To be clear, he’s in fine health, sound, and working happily – but he’s also 23 years old, and I’m going to need a lot of time to emotionally transition to his retirement. I know this about myself, and I’m trying to reassure my brain by doing as much thinking and research as possible.
I’ve reached out to a few farms and have heard back from one. My ideal situation would be to keep him here in Vermont, somewhere that I can visit a few times a month. Or daily. You know, whenever I have the kind of emotional breakdown only he can fix.
While Tristan used to be the world’s easiest horse to manage – he lived out 24/7 in Vermont without a stitch of clothing and was happy and fat – with age he has become considerably less so. In the last few years he’s needed careful blanketing in the winter, maintenance medication, and has come to quite enjoy his stall. (He has a regular nap time. Woe to me if I decided to ride during that nap time.)
Could he transition back to a more rough & tumble field board lifestyle? I don’t know. I need to work on figuring that out. Does he really need blanket changes? If he does, can I commit myself to doing them, or do I need to find a situation that will do them? Can I find somewhere within my vet’s radius?
My ideal situation would be somewhere within an hour’s drive, a small private farm, where I can work with the owner, help pay their mortgage, and Tris can be a good companion for their own horse(s). I’m hoping that by starting early I can seek out that right fit.
I’m putting together a list of questions I need to ask both myself and potential barns, and would appreciate any additional ideas you have!
- How much is board? What does it include? Farrier, holding for vet, hay, grain, blanketing, grooming?
- Are there stalls available? Do you have any horses that are regularly stalled?
- How often are you hands-on with the horses?
- Do you have visiting hours?
- Do you provide updates? If so, how?
- Could you share references from other retirement boarders?
- If there are riding facilities, am I allowed to use them if I want to hop on?
That’s what I’ve got so far. Any other suggestions?