I don't know how many times I have heard "my horse will hate retirement." I'm sure I have not heard every reason out there yet but I have heard a lot of them:
My horse is a show horse
My horse is used to being pampered (they don't have to be ridden to be pampered but ok)
My horse hates being turned out (ok, so pay for a stall - we offer both!)
My horse loves being ridden
My horse is depressed if he doesn't have a job
My horse loves to go to horse shows
My horse hates it when the trailer leaves without him
My horse is so attached to me, I don't think he can handle not seeing me every day
My horse loses weight if he has to much turnout/not enough turnout
My horse hates to be hot/cold/whatever temperature he apparently dislikes
My horse runs/paces the fence when he's turned out
These are just the most common reasons that I typed out without even having to sit here and think about it. I could write endless blog posts refuting each and every one of those statements based on what I see and watch on this farm every day but I won't do that right now!
Today was a day that us humans don't usually really like, low to mid 50's and raining. I guess if I were a person more in tune with nature or appreciative of my surroundings or whatever I would like days like this. But unfortunately as I was getting soaked through while feeding everyone and doing all of my morning "stuff" I mostly was thinking about how much I wished it would stop raining. I like to think of myself as a tree-hugger on some level, but I have no urge to stretch my arms open wide while the rain soaks me and think about what a beautiful place planet earth is. Call me a cynic. It didn't help that I broke the zipper on my rain jacket this morning so I could only zip it about a third of the way up. Grrrr.
I'm sure you are wondering what all of this has to do with horses and hating retirement. Be patient, I'm slowly getting to the point.
So I'm working my way through the pastures feeding everyone. Normally they are all waiting for me but of course since it was raining of course I had to hunt them down. I was feeding Trillion, Faune, Asterik, Sebastian and Ogie, and waiting for them to finish so I could remove their feedbags. They were all really hyper this morning and when they finally saw me and heard me calling them for breakfast they came charging through the pasture doing their best imitation of the Black Stallion, racing with the wind. As I was removing feedbags Faune ran off before I could remove his. Why? Because Asterik has only been integrated into his family group for a day and a half and Faune knows he comes in to his stall after breakfast. He did NOT want to miss out on any getting to know you time with Asterik.
So Faune is merrily charging around his 20+ acre pasture, with me following him and talking in a pleading voice "good boy Faune, I've got a treat in my hand." Hah! Faune knew I didn't have a treat and wouldn't have cared if I did. His only goal was to stay OUT in the pouring rain with Asterik. Jason and I joke that Faune prefaces every thought with "my mommy is Gillian and . . . " Today he was saying "my mommy is Gillian and she says I don't have to come in today!" as he was gleefully bolting around the pasture with me in pursuit. After chasing him around in the rain for fifteen minutes he finally let me catch him. "My mommy is Gillian and the only reason you have a halter on me right now is because I decided to be nice and let you catch me." Thanks so much Faune, I looove having extra time out in the pouring rain! I can't say that I was seeing any signs today that Faune hates retirement or finds life to be boring!
After the Faune chase I continued to make my way around the farm feeding breakfast. The big boys were in fine form this morning. The "big boys" are a group of young, rambunctious geldings that have been retired due to various injuries. They are a very playful bunch of geldings, but today they put on a performance that was beyond anything I've ever seen them do.
They were pretty quiet as they were eating breakfast, but they charged off after I removed their feedbags. I didn't think much of it as they just ran halfway across their pasture and then started grazing. I was feeding the horses in the next field and turned around to see what they were doing. Normally Elfin is the instigator in this group, but today it was Homer. First I saw him roll which isn't odd, but when he was done he stood up and then would rear up, come down and buck, then rear up again and kept doing it. At first I thought there was something wrong with Homer as he kept doing it!
Then Ivan walked over and started doing the same thing with him, and they would run a couple of steps and then stop and rear and leap. Apollo was the next one to join in the fun, followed by Leo and finally Elfin. Chance would lift his head from his grazing to watch but didn't feel the need to participate. Then they all took off at a mad gallop, all of them throwing in bucks and leaps as they went. They circled the field once, then again, then a third time! I saw Homer in the lead, then Elfin, then Chance, and then Apollo.
They stopped running and gathered in a corner. I thought they were finally done but the rearing and bucking started again. A minute later they were off to the races again. Two more laps around the field, galloping and bucking. By this time the other horses had finished eating and I was voluntarily extending my time in the pouring rain watching their show. I don't think I've ever seen a group of horses having more fun or being more carefree. Apparently someone forgot to tell these horses that they would hate retirement!
Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the events of today as it was raining too hard to have my camera with me. Since I'm on my third camera of 2008 I'm trying hard not to move on to my fourth!