Retirement Planning: Optimizing Your Horse’s Post-Career Care

Is your horse approaching his retirement years? Learn how to keep your horse happy and healthy after his athletic career.
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Retirement Planning: Optimizing Your Horse
Caring for retired horses isn't that much different from caring for pleasure, sport, or breeding horses. | Photo: iStock

How to keep your horse happy and healthy after his athletic career

On a quiet farm in Cazenovia, New York, dozens of horses are living the good life. They have all the hay and grass they can eat, pasturemates galore, and they’re free to get as muddy as possible. Oh … and chances are you’ve seen several of them representing the United States at the Olympics, World Equestrian Games (WEG), and other international competitions.

These horses are living out their retirement at John Madden Sales, the home base for U.S. team show jumper and Olympic and WEG gold medalist Beezie Madden and her husband, John. The Maddens have a long history of providing their horses a safe place to retire, and in 2016 they expanded their facilities to offer the same service to other owners.

Today, the Maddens and their team care for around 60 retirees, mostly in their late teens or 20s, with room for another 10 to 15 more. They live outside 24/7 in small herds, sometimes including broodmares or young horses, with the option to take advantage of shelters as needed

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Written by:

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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