We’re around 8 months late with this post, but we wanted to share with you our experience placing two of our rescue horses at retirement homes when we sold our farm in Vermont (and moved back to the Adirondacks).

Our first adventure was with Sole — he’s a agile Paso Fino in his mid 20s.  He was rather beat up in his earlier years by a combination of overweight people with poor riding techniques.  We decided he deserved to be live out his life on 7 Springs Farm in Missouri!

With Spirit, who is in his late teens, we chose a more wild and natural retirement experience.  We found a very knowledgeable horseman, Ron Helm, and signed up Spirit for Ron’s Natural Horse Retirement Program in far western Texas.

We hired a shipping company to bring Spirit out to Texas.  We arranged the departure date and arrival date with Ron in Texas.  The shipping truck (huge) arrived on the day we booked, stopping briefly with the engine still on.  One of the drivers came out and loaded Spirit, and off Spirit went – rather shaken but ready for the adventure.

Since we wanted to be at the Texas ranch when Spirit arrived, our plan for Sole was to trailer him to Missouri.

We left the next morning (after Spirit was picked up).  Our first overnight stop was a horse camping area in central Ohio next to a large lake.  We had never camped with Sole before and Sole did really well!  We turned our two stall trailer into a box stall – so he had a comfortable, familiar place to sleep.  He really seemed to enjoy the exploration of the campground, and took a nice, long drink from the lake (after he got used to the waves!).  Our second night was at a campground in Missouri.  Again, Sole did really well and, although we arrived after dark, he took everything in stride.

Our bond was strong enough to make the trip fun and enjoyable for all of us.  We credit the positive reward based clicker training for all this!

Stopping on the Interstate!
Sole seems quite content after driving 6 hours.
Stretching legs at the campground in Ohio.
Sole's mobile box stall setup.
Britta and Laddie watch Sole and Gene go to the lake.
Britta joins Sole and Gene at the lake.
New grass - a benefit of traveling south in May!
Sole begins to trust the "moving" water (ie: waves).
Sole with his buddies at the retirement farm - he's the small guy in the middle (with a group of thoroughbreds)!

After we left Sole, we headed west to find Spirit.  He was at the shipping company’s holding area in central Texas, waiting for a smaller trailer to take him to the ranch.  We’ll let the slideshow explain the rest!

We first met up with Spirit at the holding barn in central Texas.
Spirit's looking good - able to take some treats despite all the newness!
At an exit off the highway, Spirit is transferred to Ron's trailer at a gas station in desert country.
I follow Gene, Ron, and Spirit into the ranch - a 15 mile drive on dirt roads in beautiful country.
Ron sorts Spirit's new friends into another corral.
Gene unloads Spirit.
Spirit walks over to greet his new herd.
Then, Spirit takes in his surroundings.
We take the dogs out while Spirit settles in - it will be another day until he's turned out with the herd..
The 250k Toyota is doing well!
Beautiful vistas!
The next day, we return to the corral area to have a little lunch before turning Spirit out with the others.
As the horses come out together, Spirit defers to a large thoroughbred.
Spirit senses his freedom but makes sure to circle wide around the thoroughbred.
Ron takes us for a tour while Spirit adjusts with the others.
This is Spirit's new home and quite appropriate for who he is!
Gene checks out the view.
There are around 5 groups of horses in various areas of the ranch.
Spirit will soon be sharing space with cattle, too.