Is It Time for Your Horse to Retire?

Working with your veterinarian, farrier, and trainer and considering your horse’s physical, mental, and social needs will help you make the best decision for when and how you should transition him to a more leisurely lifestyle.

is it time for your horse to retire
Your horse might not be able to perform at his previous level anymore, but he might be perfectly suited to teaching a novice rider the ropes. | Photo: iStock

When and how to transition your horse from the show ring to a more leisurely lifestyle

Cori Sampson Vokoun has retired her share of competition horses. A construction manager who also owns and operates Buckshot Farms, in Roca, Nebraska, Vokoun competes in AQHA and NRHA reining, along with Arabian-breed amateur events that run the gamut from English and Western to halter and trail.

She says determining the right time and process for reinventing her horses’ careers can be both complicated and challenging. “Retiring a horse isn’t like parking a car in a garage and simply driving the other one,” Vokoun says. Yet, formulating a program that keeps him as healthy and happy as possible can be extremely rewarding.

As each horse reaches a point in his life where soundness or other factors begin to affect his ability to continue at his current level of competition, Vokoun puts a lot of thought into how to meet all of his needs—mental, physical, and

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Written by:

Diane Rice earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism from the University of Wisconsin, then married her education with her lifelong passion for horses by working in editorial positions at Appaloosa Journal for 12 years. She has also served on the American Horse Publications’ board of directors. She now freelances in writing, editing, and proofreading. She lives in Middleton, Idaho, and spends her spare time gardening, reading, serving in her church, and spending time with her daughters, their families, and a myriad of her own and other people’s pets.

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