You want to give your retiring performance horse the best retirement possible. You want to give back to your horse, repaying him for the years of incredible work he gave you on the track. The following will outline some of the options available for you to ensure your campaigner has a quality retirement.
Maintain a routine
You don’t necessarily have to put your horse out to pasture if you decide to keep him. It’s best to maintain activity, in a diminished capacity, as opposed to ceasing what she’s used to. If he’s used to jumping, keep jumping, but over smaller fences; if he’s used to you riding, keep riding, just less often. Maintaining a routine of moderate exercise will help your horse maintain his health.
If your horse is injured, that’s a different story. Depending on the severity and nature of the injury, talk to your vet about whether your horse needs a pain medication, such as anti-inflammatory bute or banamine. Veterinary care and medication may be the only route towards restoring your horse to where he can safely get the exercise required.
Make sure to continue wellness checks, vaccinations, dental examinations and farrier appointments. Don’t take your horse off of any supplements and medications unless expressly directed to do so by a veterinarian. Minimize stress for your retired horse and consult feeding recommendations to ensure he doesn’t get gastric ulcers. If you fear your horse already has ulcers and/or colic, talk to your vet about the effectiveness of omeprazole and other solutions.
Your horse may benefit greatly from special care that doesn’t involve medication. Daily grooming, therapeutic massage, and acupuncture are all great for retired performance horses.
Make sure to prioritize routine for an animal used to running on a regimen. And, do your best to provide your horse with some companionship. If your horse doesn’t do well with other horses, try another animal, such as a goat, donkey, or pony.