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As I’ve discussed on several occasions in the past, some older horses really, really don’t like the whole concept of retirement: “Wait, you seriously want me to sit in this giant grassy field all day and do nothing?! Okay then É watch this,” they say as they either gallop around their pasture, slipping, sliding, and doing everything they can to give you a heart attack; go on a lethargy-filled hunger strike until you put them back in their old routine; or show you just how observant they’ve been over the years, whipping gates open and dumping water troughs (for cleaning, of courseÉ) faster than you even realize what happened. Yes, these animals make up a special group of horses that literally can’t not work, and who will be doing some kind of work until their days come to an end. Taz, our Appaloosa who died last year at 27, was like that, and 18-year-old Dorado is the same way,

But for every one of these equine overachievers, there’s an older horse that absolutely relishes retirement: “Wait, you seriously want me to sit in this giant grassy field all day and do nothing?! I must be in heaven!” they say as they perfect the graze, roll, nap, repeat cycle. Yes, they cherish every glorious day they get to just be a horse. My family’s 27-year-old Appaloosa mare Jessie fits like a glove in this category.

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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