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?
5 thoughts on “What questions to ask of a retirement situation?”
I hope you find the perfect fit! I’d love to have a retired horse come live with us for a monthly fee. Are you looking to maintain ownership and just reduce his total costs or are you open to the retirement places that have you sign him over?
Huh, that’s something I hadn’t considered people would want. I wouldn’t be comfortable signing over ownership – and legally, I can’t. I have a contract with his rescue that sends him back to them if I ever don’t own him. (I know that could be negotiated, but I have no particular interest in trying to get out of it.)
I would ask what their policy is when a horse comes up ill. Are they checked daily? If my horse was colicy (not that Tristan is), I’d want to know if the retirement place would take it seriously or just be like “oh well he’s old so I guess it’s his time and we will see what happens…” etc.
I’m dreading this having to be a thing. I can’t imagine not having my horse at the barn I go to every day. I also don’t think that CA has too many retirement focused boarding places because of lack of space. I’ll be interested to hear what you find out.