Solid Citizen blog hop

Eventing Saddlebred Style started a blog hop based on SprinklerBandit’s post about the myth of the forever home, and I think it’s a great topic. Moe and Gina do have a forever home with me, barring some extreme worst-case-scenarios. They are accounted for in my will, but for the sake of this thought experiment, let’s say that both horses need to find new homes RIGHT NOW.

Moe

The most obvious factors working against Moe are his age and his relatively high-maintenance diet.  He is not an easy keeper, and his age (21) is likely to freak a lot of people out. Moe is not a placid, great-for-anyone packer, either. He is very energetic and not for the timid or very inexperienced rider.

Moe's "WHEE!!" attitude is not for everyone!
Moe’s “WHEE!!” attitude is not for everyone!

However, he has a lot going for him! He is a solid Novice-level event horse, an okay First Level dressage horse, a brave trail companion, and would probably feel just fine about doing 1 meter or lower jumper classes. Moe is sound, requires no joint maintenance, and is comfortable barefoot. (His farrier claims Moe has the toughest hooves he’s ever seen on a Thoroughbred.) He has good ground manners (well, except for trying to rub his head on people): he ties, crossties, clips, loads, bathes, behaves for the farrier and vet, and is generally personable and pleasant.

I would be very hesitant to sell Moe, simply because he’s older and requires a lot of feeding. I’d hate to see him dumped at the local feedlot auction because someone thought he wasn’t useful any more or got tired of feeding him. However, I think he’d make a great mount for an adrenaline-junkie tween who really wanted to learn the ropes of eventing. (Ask me how I know.)

Gina

Like Moe, Gina’s age (19) is the biggest strike against her. She’s also unpredictably spooky at times, pulls back for reasons beyond my understanding, and has a permanently fat hind leg and creaky joints. She’s forward enough to scare extreme beginners or timid riders. She has a bizarre hangup about ground poles and stadium jumps that years of patient work have done little to rectify.

Superstar hunt horse.
Superstar hunt horse, complete with fat leg

But Gina has many good things working in her favor. She has excellent conformation and is very sound. She doesn’t normally require shoes, unless she’ll be working at speed over rocky terrain. She is generally healthy and easy to feed. Gina is well behaved for the vet and farrier, and has good ground manners (when she isn’t pulling back, and those incidents have decreased significantly since switching to a rope halter). Her movement is above average, and she definitely has some dressage buttons installed. She’s also a fantastic foxhunting and trail horse, who is happy to stay with the group or go out alone, is very obedient, and sails over cross country jumps.

As with Moe, I would be hesitant to sell Gina. I suspect her erratic behavior would get her dumped somewhere unpleasant. She might be a good horse for an adult amateur who wanted to learn dressage or for anyone who wanted to hunt regularly. I certainly wouldn’t sell her as a broodmare, because I can’t imagine she’s got that many foals left.

Overall

The main reason I’d be hesitant to rehome either horse, and the reason I plan on keeping them until they die, is because they’re old. Were they each 10 years younger, I would feel confident they could find appropriate homes. They basically have good training, good health, and good manners. You can bet I’ll provide Gina’s offspring with these skills, too!

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

14 thoughts on “Solid Citizen blog hop”

  1. I didn’t realize Moe was 21! Both of them are in such great shape! I can’t imagine getting rid of mine either. I seriously have no idea if I could have the heart to sell them, even in the worst of situations. I’ll have to go back to the original blog hop post and check this out…

    1. Moe definitely doesn’t act his age, haha! People who don’t know him frequently guess him to be much younger than he actually is. (When he was behaving particularly terribly at a dressage show, a woman sympathetically asked me if he was a youngster at his first show…)

      It would have to be a very extreme worst-case scenario thing for either of mine to go somewhere unfamiliar. I would have to die, Johnny would have to die, and my friend who owns the barn where they’re boarded would have to go out of business or die. I try to plan for the worst!

  2. I love how carefully you plan for Moe and Gina. I have no doubt that their best interests will be cared for for the rest of their lives.

    Age is a tricky thing with horses. Many horses can stay happy and healthy in full work into their 20s (as Moe is demonstrating!), but for the horse who isn’t beginner-friendly, once your horse hits a certain age (definitely 15 and higher, sometimes even 12+) as an owner I feel like we have to accept the fact that finding them a new home gets significantly harder and we have to think about keeping them for the long haul.

    I hope Moe and Gina stay sound and happy working for years to come, but it’s so nice that you have land of your own now to give them a retirement paradise if and when they need it.

    1. Both horses have been good working partners for me, and at their ages, I don’t think it’s feasible to assume they’ll find a soft place to land without planning on my part. They’re in my will, they’re in Johnny’s will, and I have a chain of backup plans to ensure they won’t be posted on the kill lot rescue page in the future.

      I totally agree with you on the age thing- horses over the age of 15 seem to really scare people, despite many horses working comfortably until their mid-20s and beyond! It seems like it’s even difficult for horses who are very, very broke and beginner-friendly to find homes at that age.

    1. It’s important to have plans in case something happens to you! I think a lot of people assume that someone will step in to take care of their pets, but I’d rather have clear documentation to guide someone rather than have them guess at what I’d want.

  3. I’m glad that you have such a good plan in place for them, because age really does turn people off (even when they need something with a little age). You have to love an old sassy guy. We have one at the barn and he gets mistaken for a younger horse semi regularly. Thanks for joining in. It was my first blog hop and I was afraid it was going to be a flop. 🙂

    1. Right?! I’ve seen many people post “in search of” ads that say “nothing over 12 please”, as if they’ve got three hooves in the grave once they hit their teens! I’m probably a little biased- I have two senior horses who are just fine, and I worked at a therapeutic riding center where horses worked well into their late 20s with minimal maintenance.

      Thanks for hosting a blog hop on such a good topic!

  4. You’ve got 2 nice horses. Their high level of fitness at health at higher ages speaks of how well they have lived. I love reading about their “naughty” little quirks that help them hide their age so well!

  5. Why do nice horses have to get old?!? It’s just so unfair sometimes… I read once tho that you should learn from people whose horses get old bc that’s among the truest signs of good horsemanship. Seemed to make a lot of sense to me!

  6. I can’t wait to have my own property so I can keep mine forever. But I know I could re-home any of mine pretty easily if I had to since they’re all skilled and accomplished equines with decent manners.

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