Suggestions for my elderly horse?

(12 Posts)
TinyDancingHoofer Thu 10-Jan-13 12:53:09

Are you near any colleges? A friend of mine keeps her old man at the local college. It is free but he is used in their animal husbandry courses. He is a gentle giant and is spoiled rotten by the students. Turned out all day and just used for a few things in the morning- points of the horse/bandging/bathing etc.

I know what you mean about not being there yet. My old girl had 5 years retirement at grass, but we never had any hope of getting a house with land.

Definitely worth investigating a pony-mad teenager, or even recent retiree (overgrown teenager)! Maybe local riding school or bridleways group could suggest one, especially if you offered a small financial incentive (pay for a lesson a month?). Hope you've got plenty of rugs if going to live out!

ReturnToPlanetVenus Thu 10-Jan-13 11:27:55

Thanks for all of your replies. Yes, he would live out happily (he pretty much did for the last few years until he moved to this home). Unfortunately there is not enough grass for him to live out where he is, but grass livery somewhere else could be an option, if I can find somewhere (we are in a fairly expensive livery area, so I'm more likely to find a good deal through word of mouth than from any of the livery yards). I'll also look into retirement livery locally.

He still does seem to young to me to put to sleep. Although I know that I'll have to make the decision one day. We hope to buy a house with a bit of land in the not too distant future (although probably still a couple of years away) and at that point he could come and live with us and it would all be nice and easy. He can't really be ridden but could probably be used as a very gentle mother's hack - it just seems too soon to me to go down the PTS route and I think I'd regret it if our circumstances change.

It's been really useful to get all of your opinions, and especially info about what other people are paying for grass livery.

snowpo Wed 09-Jan-13 23:43:45

Will he live out as the others have suggested? One of mine is on retirement livery which costs £140pcm for everything. Brilliant grazing, ad lib haylage in winter, checked 3x a day. Probably cheaper than you're paying now.

countingto10 Wed 09-Jan-13 18:08:35

I would suggest grass livery too - it may also be better for him, rather than getting stiff in a stable overnight. It shouldn't bother him if he is a native type and you should be able to fit in looking after him with the DCs as he will be out all the time and therefore not having to turn him out in the early hours etc.

Horrible situation to be in though sad.

Pixel Wed 09-Jan-13 17:51:52

Firstly I'm thinking that this is the hardest bit if you were able to consider DIY. The weather is at its worse but hopefully will improve at some stage and things will get easier as your children grow. Do you know any sensible teenagers, maybe a neighbour's child or a niece/nephew? If you could get someone willing to sit in the car and entertain/watch the children for half an hour in return for some pocket money while you got the horse done quickly would that help? (must be better than doing a paper round this time of year!). In the summer you would be able to take them along the field in a buggy I'd have thought. I have a friend who does this. She has a fenced-off section of the field so the dcs are safe while she feeds and poo-picks. They are happy enough in the buggy for a short while, they seem to sleep a lot, it must be all the fresh air!
I know it's not ideal but I agree 20 seems too young to PTS if you don't think he's near that stage yet. You've had him long enough to know if he's happy or not.

horseylady Wed 09-Jan-13 16:37:17

Can you find grass livery much cheaper?!

I pay 70 every four weeks for stable and grazing. We help each other out so generally only need to go up once a day. £30 is cheap if practically full livery. Could you ride him?

Perhaps you do need to consider euthanasia? But id look at grass livery first if he can take it.

CMOTDibbler Wed 09-Jan-13 16:37:16

I think, sadly, I agree with Blue Champagne. If she can't be ridden at all, then you can't just keep throwing money at her - it would be different if she could live with you etc, and she obv can't just be a living out, low maintenance companion now

ReturnToPlanetVenus Wed 09-Jan-13 16:36:59

Blue, thanks for your reply. I wonder if I could take advantage of a pony-mad teenager grin? Actually I think I would have been happy to do this sort of thing when I was young and carefree. That's given me some food for thought.

Sorry to hear about your horse. I don't think I'm quite there yet, but I can see how you'd have to make this kind of decision. 20 still seems fairly young to me for this though, and he's happy and (apart from arthritis) healthy for the moment...

Can you find a reliable horse-mad helper for DIY?

I doubt this will be what you want to hear, but after 5 years in retirement, I had my old mare put down. Similarly: money tight, 2 small children, plus she was getting increasingly creaky.

Good luck whatever you decide.

ReturnToPlanetVenus Wed 09-Jan-13 15:03:20

Sorry about typos / autocorrects, am on phone. Wormer, playgroup...

ReturnToPlanetVenus Wed 09-Jan-13 14:28:25

I own an almost 20 year old native horse (good doer, should be easy to keep). I bought him about 10 years ago (had him on loan before that so have had him about 13 years in total) when my circumstances were very different - single, well paid job. I always had a sharer to help me out financially and time wise.

My horse has become increasingly arthritic, and hasn't been ridden now for 5 years. I have since had 2 children and become a SAHM, so money is much tighter. I was lucky to find him a great companion home for 3 years after I had DC1, but sadly that came to an end. I then asked around and a friend offered to give him a home on the basis of me covering costs, in her fields next to her house with her horses. I have been paying her £30/week plus bedding, farrier, vet, workers, which I know was a good deal. He has been there for 5 months and we 'be both been very happy. She's now said (very nicely) that as he is taking up lots time she needs to be paid for that too, at an extra £5 /day. I completely see where she is coming from, but I just can't afford this (even in my competing days I had a sharer to help with costs and did DIY livery so wasn't spending this much). DH is going spare. She would also be happy for me to do DIY, but with 2 Preschool children this is not very practical (youngest is one so not even playground age yet) and at worst dangerous - although her place is lovely it's not a yard as such, there is no parking anywhere near the field ap I can't even leave the children in the car on wet days, and there is nowhere safe for them to play.

What can I do? I really love my horse and view it as 100% my responsibilty to ensure that he is well cared for, but this is getting to be financially crippling for us. He is not sound so I can't loan him out as a riding horse, and couldn't sell him (which I wouldn't want to anyway).

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