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The R-Word

I’ve been feeling a touch morose lately, what with the state of the world at large and my own re-quarantined state. (Which will hopefully end soon.)

Last night, I lingered at the barn after a short ride, thinking a lot about my relationship with Tristan. He’s been the center of my whole world for almost half my life – fifteen years straight now. And he’s 25, and he is starting to pop up health scares semi-regularly.

I’ve talked on and off on this blog about figuring out his retirement, and I wish all those words written had helped me arrive at some kind of an answer.

The reality: Tristan is ageing and has never loved being in work. Mentally, he would adjust quite happily to doing nothing with me visiting and fussing over him from time to time. Keeping him in work keeps him limber, but not necessarily happy.

More reality: I still don’t have a good answer about the logistics of retiring him. I can’t bear the idea of sending him further away than I could visit regularly. Retiring him in place is an option, but an expensive one.

Further reality: Financially, I cannot have a second horse while he’s retired. So a true, full retirement for him means I am done riding regularly.

Finally, the inescapable one: as hard as those things are to think about, worse still is the idea of him not being there. I don’t even know what the shape of my life is without him. I don’t want to know.

5 thoughts on “The R-Word

  1. I just went through this unexpectedly. Scarlet suddenly had nerve issues back in October. I was hopeful that time and rehab would help whatever had caused it to come up. I wanted us to get back to riding. But I’ve just talked more with my vet recently and given how things look now, we are done. Scarlet is happy and healthy outside his nerve issues. He can get up and get down. So he is retired. Not the retirement I want. I already lost him for six years so retiring him somewhere that isn’t his current barn is a no go for me. I can’t afford a second horse at this time so I’m hoping to catch rides.

    Its a hard choice but like you, he’s still here and that matters more than the riding. Hang in there. I can’t say it gets better but there is some peace in knowing that we are doing the right thing for our horses.

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  2. He looks like he’s doing good for 25, but trying to plan for the future is always a good idea. Being a boarder and having to pay for retirement is a tough situation. It was one of the big reasons we wanted to have our own property. I’m very fortunate. And the two retired mares are living a lucky life here even if they do t know it.

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  3. These decisions are so hard. I struggled with what to do for Rio when he was younger, but then with the EPM it seemed my place was okay for his old age after all. And I never did get there with Jampy. But I had never really formed a plan either. I know you’ll figure out what’s best for the both of you.

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  4. It’s a hard thing to contemplate. That said, he’s doing well and there’s no need to retire him right now. 🙂 it gives you time to look at some potential options.

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