Planning for Your Horse’s Retirement

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Thanks to continuously-advancing technology and veterinary medicine, our horses today can have longer active careers than ever before. Still, at some point it’s likely that you will have to retire your equine partner. Even if your horse is still years away from retiring, it’s important to give some thought to what your plans will be.

Consider Your Options

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various retirement options for your horse before you actually need to make decisions. Remember, retirement for a horse doesn’t have to mean that the horse sits in a field for the rest of his life. Many horses can comfortably retire simply by moving down a level or two in competition, or by being taken on less frequent and less intensive rides.

The truth is, there are many retirement options for your horse. Consider leasing your horse out, selling him as a schoolmaster for a younger rider, donating him to a therapeutic riding or equine assisted learning program, or bringing him home to retire at your barn.

Save Money Well Ahead of Time

Retiring your horse is an expense that you should prepare for. Even if you plan on selling or leasing your horse to a younger rider for his retirement, realize that situations may change and your horse may encounter medical issues that require additional treatment. It’s best to have significant savings set aside in order to support your horse during retirement. The sooner you can start planning for this, the better – consider establishing a savings account for your horse’s retirement when you first buy him.

Look into Retirement Farms

Many horse owners opt to send their horses to retirement farms. If you think that this might be a possibility for your horse, then start looking into the farms early on in your planning process. Take the time to do your research, find out about the services offered at different farms, and the rates that you’ll be looking at. You’ll also want to get and check references for each farm – ask around and find out about the quality of care and others’ experiences with the farms that you’re considering.

Be Prepared for Difficult Decisions

Retiring a horse can be a sad decision to have to make. You’ll need to carefully consider your horse’s quality of life, in addition to your financial situation, when thinking about potential retirement. The more that you can plan ahead of time, the smoother this difficult time may be for you.

Don’t forget to also talk with your vet about your questions on retiring your horse.

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