Horse Retirement Farms And When They Are Appropriate


by Marla Mills


Horses can live up to thirty-five years, but some horse owners are not prepared to take care of elderly horses. For this reason, they may decide to retire the animal to a farm. Horse retirement farms specialize in caring for aging horses so that they can live out the remainder of their lives in peace and comfort.

When such animals are no longer raced, ridden, used for work, or trained for other activities, they are considered retired. Although there is no universal age at which to put such animals out to pasture, there are some general signs one can look for to determine when a horse has reached this age. This time frame depends on numerous factors, such as how the animal was used, if it was well cared for when it was younger, and its breed.

Signs of reduced vitality should signal an owner that it may be time to retire his or her horse. Even young animals of this type must rest between training sessions so that they do not become exhausted or experience an injury. However, as horses age, they typically begin to require additional days off in order to regain their former energy. Owners who notice that their animals continuously need more and more rest before they are able to participate in their normal activities should consider this an indication that it may be time to allow the animal to retire.

Most animals of this type need to be warmed up before participating in exercise routines. The normal amount of time that needs to be allocated for a warm-up is typically 15 to 20 minutes for healthy horses. Those that need a warm-up of 45 minutes or more in length before they can exercise or run are ready for retirement.

Individuals who own such animals are wise to evaluate them for changes in behavior. For instance, horses appearing to have no enthusiasm for activities they previously enjoyed, such as work or training, may be trying to tell their masters that they are tiring. Fatigue and general lethargy are also indications that the animal needs to slow down.

Watching for signs of reduced endurance is another important task. Additionally, poor coordination and weakness are also signs that are displayed by aging horses that are ready for retirement. For example, if the horse stumbles or loses its balance when it is mounted, it should no longer be ridden. To continue to ride an animal that has exhibited such a pattern can cause injury to both the horse and the rider.

When the decision has been made to retire such an animal, one must choose a farm with care. It is best to select an establishment that has a positive reputation in the local area and has been in business for a considerable length of time. It is also wise to ask the owner of the farm which veterinarian he or she uses for horses that become ill or experience injuries.

It is also in one's best interest to personally visit any horse retirement farms where they are considering placing aging horses. This will help the prospective customer to acquire a good idea of whether or not the farm is well run. Ultimately, older horses can live out their final years in a happier and healthier state when they are retired by their owners.




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