retirement options

I have four possible retirement homes now for Big Guy. Two are very promising and the other two not so much. I need to keep in mind that I am looking for the PERFECT situation that fits HIM…not me.

The top two situations are located in a town that is west of where my horses are now. It wouldn’t be infeasible to drop by for weekly visits and make sure that all is okay with him. I don’t think I would be comfortable sending him hours away from me with people I don’t know unless they came highly recommended by people I trusted (and I trust very few people).

Situation #1: he would be the third horse on five acres with his own private stall. My two concerns here is 1.) he might be the odd man out or decide to tell the other gelding he owns the mare; and 2.) the owner admitted that he will just feed and won’t be messing with the horses. That later is good in that Big Guy won’t be used as a riding horse unexpectedly but might be bad if injuries are not caught early.

Pluses: plenty of grass, private stall, separated feeding, less then an hour away, the guy struck me as intelligent and a cattleman (I have a lot of experience dealing with ranchers), and he would also provide hay. The cost is going to be low also, perhap even half of what I’m paying now, because he really wants a companion for his senior mare as the senior gelding is in poor health.

Situation #2: is a name I’m familiar with from my horse message boards though I have not actually met the lady. He could be retired with another senior gelding and have a private stall with separated feeding. She is also located in the same town as above. 8 horses on 40 acres which should be plenty for the horses to eat in grass.

I don’t know as much about the #2 place yet but I’ve made Saturday appointments to meet them both.

In discussing with Hubby my concerns for Big Guy is primarly about him not having another senior friend to hang out with, as well as the lack of grass where I am currently boarding. I really believe it’s been the lack of grass that has caused the weight loss because in the years of owning him I’ve never had a problem with him retaining weight.

While he is riding sound, he is just not up for the amount of work I want to do. His periodic unsoundness means that he can’t stay in consistent work; it’s stop and go.

OTOH, I don’t want him kicked out to a field somewhere with no love and human attention. He is a horse that seeks out people for reassurance and becomes upset if he thinks he has done wrong. And his accident-prone nature means he just can’t be kicked out on 300 acres to “live like a horse” – he really is a big softie, Stall Baby of a horse.

Tentative plan is that if it works out, I’ll give 30 day notice for Big Guy by Monday, and move him over Thanksgiving weekend which is generally a very nice, pleasant weather weekend before winter hits about mid-December with ice storms. That will give him time to settle in while the temps are nice. Before the move he needs an updated Coggins.

If it doesn’t work out, I’ll just move him back home with my other horses.

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