Friday, January 21, 2011

A Retirement Home?

I have wonderful parents. They have been so tolerant of me for so long, and for so many reasons, that I don't think I could ever pay them back. There's no telling what things would be like today without the love and support of my parents! Thank you!

They indulged me when I was only 10 years old and bought me a goofy, sweet, QH gelding named AJ. Two years later, when AJ couldn't be ridden any longer, they leased me a new horse, and then eventually helped me purchase yet another horse, all the while helping me with AJ. They took care of him while I was away in the Marines, when I came back home, and during my move back to the south. I was finally able to have AJ with me in 2004 when I lived in Virginia and he's been with me ever since.

With all the craziness going on in my life, including everything that's been going on with Lilly, my parents offered to take AJ about a year ago, but I decided to keep him here. With the shenanigans going on at my current barn and the trouble I've been having finding him a good place to live, they've again tossed out the idea of sending him back home to Michigan.

I never really entertained the idea of sending him home because then he's not with me and I'd miss him! However, after getting that call from his potential BO about not having room, and stressing over what to do, I've been giving it some thought.

They have an older Appendix gelding that my dad used to ride on the county Sheriff's Posse, but he's no longer doing that. Justus is officially retired and hangs out at the barn by himself. I've been telling them that Justus is lonely and wants a buddy, but they don't want the added expense of another horse just to keep him company. If I sent AJ home, he could keep Justus company but I would continue to pay for all his care, so they wouldn't be any added expenses.

While there were probably quite a few reasons why AJ lost weight this summer (mostly not enough food), I think the heat also had something to do with it. We're always hot and humid here anywhere from about May until October, but last summer was particularly humid and it seemed to last forever! When Lilly was sweating a little bit, AJ was sweaty all over and had salt streaks on his hindquarters. That's good, of course, because at least he's sweating, but he was sweating so much that he had me worried. The summers seem to be getting harder on him, and even with his arthritis, he tends to look and feel better in the winter. Michigan, of course, is much more mild in the summer, but typically much colder in the winter (although not this year, it seems!).

From time to time I've thought about a retirement home for him, but there aren't any nearby, and if I'm going to send him off to a 'retirement home', what better place than with my mom and dad? I would never have to worry about how he was being taken care of and he'd be with people who love him as much as I do.

I think it would be a good situation for all involved, but I sure would miss seeing his sweet face.


  1. That sounds like a fantastic solution. It's a little sad for you, but he'd be in great hands and well-loved every day. Would you take the excuse to road trip home with him?

  2. Sometimes it's a hard decision, but it could be for the best. Only you know for sure.

  3. I know you would miss him, but this sounds like a great option. There's nothing like having someone who loves your horse take care of him.

  4. You will certainly miss him if he's up in Michigan, but you will know, 24/7 that he is being taken care of. He will also be free from the kind of changes in environment and routine that have been plaguing you lately.

    I know you'll make the right choice.

  5. Oh man, isn't having family like that priceless?

    I know, I've got the same kind. I have never ever had to worry about my horses, no matter how badly anything or everything else may go wrong in my life.

    Always having that backup in my life has been a blessing and considering what has happened to so many people and their horses who didn't, I am evermore thankful for it.

    Whatever you do, I'm sure it will be the right decision for AJ.

  6. Thanks everyone... it's definitely a great option for all involved. In fact, I can think of quite a few benefits to having him in Michigan, but I'm not sure if they would outweigh how much I'd miss him.

    It's a big decision, that's for sure.

    Cowgirls, I feel the exact same way. I don't know where my horses would be today without the help of my family. They made sure that no matter what, my horses had a place with them and would be taken care of. They have definitely been a blessing!

  7. It took me a loooong time to decide to retire my guy, but the place he's at is simply amazing and I absolutely know it's the best thing for him. Having a consistent routine, buddies his age (and speed), not to mention 24/7 turnout, are exactly what he needs.

    It's a really, really hard decision to make, but it sounds like AJ would be in a fantastic situation! As for missing him, maybe you could ask for a daily pic? If your parents have cellphones that take pictures, they can just snap a quick one and IM it to you - super easy and fast AND you get to "see" him every day!

  8. Thanks, jenj... the things you mentioned, "Having a consistent routine, buddies his age (and speed), not to mention 24/7 turnout, are exactly what he needs." are the exact things AJ needs too, along with the cooler climate. I think he and my dad's horse would be buddies again in no time.

    I'm sure AJ wouldn't even notice I was missing from the picture... grandma and grandpa have lots of yummy food, kisses, and cookies! So I know he'd be really happy there.

    I just keep tearing up when I think about not having him here with me... they would definitely have to send me pictures!!

  9. Somthing to have some serious thinking and talking about with your parents. You could know that he would be safe and well looked after, but he wouldnt be close to you.

    They sound like great parents!! :)