Retiring your horse from riding isn’t an easy choice. And it likely won’t happen overnight! In fact, there are many factors that need to be considered before you make this decision. Age, soundness and chronic conditions are just a few that can influence your decision.
The two most common reasons for retiring your horse include old age and ongoing lameness. It’s simple- the horse’s body is no longer able to keep up with the demands of being ridden. It’s the most practical and humane thing to do.
However, there are other factors like behavioral issues and intermittent health conditions that can make things tricky. Retiring a horse too soon could mean giving up years of quality riding time. On the other hand, no rider should want to cause their horse discomfort.
The best approach is to consider your horse’s point of view. Are they comfortable? Do they enjoy their saddle time? You’ll also want to speak with your veterinarian and discuss your concerns. They can do hands-on exams, flexion tests, ultrasounds and diagnostic nerve blocks. Supplements, alternative therapies and medications can sometimes improve a soundness issue.
If you board or have limited land, your decision can be further complicated. You may not have the space for a semi-retired horse. This would mean finding a retirement farm or someone in need of a pasture pal.
Ultimately, every horse will need to retire at some point. Slowing down is a part of your horse’s life cycle…