A horse is considered retired when it is no longer ridden, trained or used for work. There is no single retirement age for horses. How long a horse can work until can't work anymore depends on how it was fed and how it was kept through its life. Because of this, determining whether to retire a horse can sometimes get tricky. However, there are some general signs a horse that is ready to retire will display.
- Look for signs of reduced vitality. Even young horses need to rest between training sessions so they don't lose interest and to avoid injuries caused by exhaustion. As they get older, horses need more and more days off. If you notice your horse consistently needs more than one day before it feels like training again, take it as a sign that it's getting too old to train.
- Observe the time it takes for your horse to warm up. Normally, a horse needs 15 or 20 minutes to warm up. If it starts needing about 45 minutes of warming up before its ready, it's time to retire it.
- Watch for changes in the horse's attitude. If your horse starts to display a lack of enthusiasm for work, training or any activities that it used to enjoy, it might be trying to tell you its tired. Fatigue and general disinterest in anything but rest are both signs of a horse ready for retirement.
- Watch for signs of reduced endurance. Another way you can tell your horse is ready for retirement is when it starts displaying signs of poor coordination and becomes weaker. If it sways when you mount it, frequently starts to lose balance or stumbles, it is no longer suitable for riding.
Horse Retirement Facilities
Aledos Riverside Ranch - A 30-acre horse retirement and boarding facility. Pastures, stalls, and arenas available. Located in Random Lake, Wisconsin – (920) 994-1128.
Anchor Ranch - Retirement home for horses on 300 acres of pasture in southern Oregon. Includes list of provisions, charges, and land accommodations – (541) 837-3611.
Apple River Ranch - Horse care and boarding for retirement horses, details of facilities and prices. Galena, Illinois – (815) 591-3819.
Aurora Farms Retirement Farm - Horse retirement facility located on 30 acres of pasture. Features photographs and profiles of the current residents. Rates and services listed. Located in Shelbyville, Kentucky – (502) 747-9980.
Blue Ridge Dream Farm - Offers full care boarding. Includes description of facility, list of services, rates, and photos. Located in Montvale, Virginia – (540) 947-1828.
California Equine Retirement Foundation - Retirement and rehabilitation facility for former racing and performing horses. Includes pictures and brief histories of organizations' current horses. Located in Winchester, California, (951) 926-4190.
Hart-Trot Crossing Horse Retirement - Offering quality care to retired horses in Kansas City, Missouri. Provides details of the facilities, lists all services offered and rates, and has two photo galleries - (816) 726-5383.
Herd's & Horses - Offers full care boarding. Includes description of services, rates, and photos. Located in Stevinson, California - (209) 485-1385.
Last Chance Farm - Full-care retirement farm offering a horse barn, loafing sheds, pastures, and paddocks. Features photos and descriptions of the facilities, plus profiles of past and current residents. Located in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, (570) 345-3846.
Miles Horse Ranch - A full-care facility specializing in retirement and lay-ups. Located in Watsonville, California, (800) 906-2846.
Nodaway Farm - Provides retirement, layup and vacation care for horses. Details of facilities, charges and photos. Sequim, Washington State – (360) 582-9514.
Paradigm Farm - 100+ acre boarding farm for retired horses. Provides information on boarding packages, services available, and pictures. Located in College Grove, Tennessee.
Promises Kept Equine Retirement Farm - Boarding for retired and disabled horses. Details of facilities, services, and photos of residents. Summit, New York – (518) 287 1870.