As I’ve posted earlier, I’ve been trying to find a solution for retiring the Big Guy. While he is still riding sound, I’ve been coming to a couple of conclusions: with his history of injuries, he is moving stiffer and stiffer – is it right to put him under the type of riding I want to do? and if I could find a situation like Pandora has I would feel more then okay for him to be retired.
I don’t often write about Pandora so let me recap: my 39″ tall Shetland-Miniature mare was bought over the Internet, sight unseen, to be a riding lesson pony. That was about 8 years ago. When she arrived some things became clear: I was obviously lied to about her riding experience and she was pretty strong willed.
We had a lot of fun together with riding camps and her devoted lesson student (a girl allergic to horses), but it was clear that she did NOT “enjoy” riding. Being played with, taught tricks, and groomed by adoring fans was right up her alley – riding, not so much.
When I quit teaching lessons, my time got sucked away and I had less and less to devote to playing with Pandora. I had to drylot her by herself (had no other ponies) and I continually battled guilt over how I felt she was lonely.
One of the big reasons I moved to my current location was due to her – she is now retired (at 22 plus and in excellent health) and can live with a pony herd as opposed to be drylotted all alone, looking over the fence to the big horses. As the McDonald’s commercials slogan goes: “She’s lovin’ it!”
I used to feel so guilty about her and now I know that she is happy, sassy, and healthy. She comes when called and still loves to play with me but is also happy going weeks on end just being a horse with her pony friends.
Now, back to T-man. If I could find the same situation for him, I would jump on it. However, it has been elusive. First, I thought perhaps he could be leased out for a nominal fee that would pay for some of his upkeep – then he gets kicked in the face by Z and comes up lame later in the month.
His soundness issues makes it almost impossible to guarantee that he would be rideable on a regular basis. Then I thought I would contact a TB retirement association and a non-profit horse rescue. Nah. The first gave me an option that was as costly as housing him myself at FULL CARE! and the second never returned an answer. Both wash outs.
I thought about letting him be used for handicapped riders, but then you have the soundness issues and that he can’t stand 9 out of 10 riders who get on his back!
Finally, today I posted on Craigslist (watch out for loonies!) looking for a retirement field for him with shelter and companionship. I’ve gotten a very promising email back from a cattleman who needs a companion for his senior mare and gelding. The guy isn’t even interested in the board money and will do some minimum care.
The best thing is Big Guy would even get a STALL in the deal! And with hard winter coming in less then two months – and him being a Stall Baby – that is even better news. That way he wouldn’t need to be blanketed except in the very worst of winter (which doesn’t happen often around here or for very long).
The guy owns a ranch so when grass is viable, Big Guy would have 5 acres and up to 260 acres for the entire cattle ranch. The place is about 45 minutes away and that fits in with my plan to visit about twice a month to check up on him, do his hooves, and make sure that his feed is replenished.
Another good thing is though it is a bit further away it is in a town that has a very famous. holistic vet who I’ve worked with before. This means that vet-wise I would have someone I actually believed in on hand if something were to happen (I think my current vet might consider this location rather far and emergency wise might not get there if it was a dire situation in time).
I’ll be visiting it this weekend, so fingers crossed.