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!
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!