Retirement for horses

The article in the current issue about the difficulty of finding a way to retire your horse. I would ask, why doesn’t the USEF help with this?? Their main concern, so they say, is welfare of the horse. What better way would there be then to help retired horses have a good home? I feel certain they could drop some of the programs they offer, such as DEI, for a much better cause. Why continue with other programs that spend money on many things that don’t need it and help with something that does.
They could put their money where their mouth is and do something really worthwhile for the horses and the people who love them.


You think diversity is the first thing that should go? Why not cut year end awards or finals?


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are not necessary, but subsidizing people’s expensive choice of hobby is?


Can’t afford to keep a horse through retirement, or don’t want to pay for one you can no longer ride? Don’t buy one.


Great post!


What do you propose they do? I’m not sure what role you see for them?

The only role I can think of would be some sort of “USEF Listed Retirement Provider” designation whereby barns that provide retirement board could opt-in to some sort of USEF vetting process with vet and farrier recommendations, and maybe a site visit by a USEF-hired agent.

If it works to screen quality operations, this might lift some of the burden on those in HCOL areas, who need to ship their horses farther away (outside of regular check-in distance) to afford quality retirement care.


You had me until you said cut DEI first. Say what?


Don’t want to retire a horse? Or pay for one that’s unrideable? Don’t buy, just lease.

Retiring people’s hobby animals is “much better cause” than DEI? On what planet?


I, uh, can’t really get into why DEI is your item on the chopping block here, but I do think we could learn a lot from the TB industry which provides some subsidies for retirement facilities in exchange for certifications and inspections. I feel like of all the random 20 dollar fees I get jabbed with at a horse show, if there was one going into a pot for my horse’s retirement, whether or not I was the person who still had them, I would be a lot happier about it than whatever else is in there now.


Because it’s the owner’s responsibility to take care of their pets?

And it’s USEF’s responsibility to be inclusive.

See. Easy logic


exactly. Our horses are not the USEF’s responsibility.


There seems to be fewer options, at least in my area, for retirement boarding. I would guess its at least partly due to the costs to the BO, but I personally know of two locations where the owner had to shut down for other reasons. Another that i know of is run by a woman in her 80’s. Though my mare is retired, she has maintenance needs (meds, etc), so that can complicate a retirement situation also.

But honestly I dont know what impact USEF could really have, even if they wanted to. Perhaps if the OP has a couple ideas of WHAT they might do, those would make for discussion and if any had merit, then the funding could be tackled. The certifications and inspections are an interesting idea, but those facilities would likely be few and far between.

The TB Retirement Foundation has put together a number of programs in partnership with 7-8 correctional facilities, where inmates learn how to care for the horses. (S. Carolina, NYS - 2, California, Maryland, Florida - 2). One has a big herd, the others seem to be in the 5-15 horse range. A great idea, but not big numbers of horses. It is a non-profit, funded by donations.
As mentioned above, if the owner doesn’t want the responsibility then sell the horse while its still useful, put it down or lease so you have an out.


Retiring your horse is expensive, for sure. I sent my 24 year old OTTB to Virginia last year so he could live out his twilight years in an environment that suits his needs – 24/7 turnout in a herd of buddies. Because he’s a hard keeper, he needed to go to a place that didn’t expect them to survive on pasture alone. He gets grain and the herd gets extra hay as needed.

But I had planned for his retirement. I did the research, I knew what I could afford and what he needed. That was my responsibility and one that he earned after being my hunt horse for 18 years.

If someone cannot afford a suitable retirement situation for their horse, I have no problem with euthanizing a horse. I would never sell on an old horse and hope that someone else would take care of it, nor would I expect a organization to subsidize my horse’s retirement.


If a horse is not physically or mentally sound enough for even light riding/hacking, perhaps we should normalize euthanasia and stop castigating those who choose that route.

Now THERE’S an unpopular opinion.

This board is more understanding than most when it comes to this stuff, I will say.


Hi All…good comments, thank you. First let me say, unequivocally, I am all in favor of “Diversity, Equality, Inclusion”. Have been all of my life. I just do not believe that our horse organization needs a committee to pursue something that already exists in our sport. So, that said, I could not agree more on owners taking care of their own pets. However, the points being made in this article seem very valid. Lots of money involved even after a retirement. Not all horse owners are wealthy, many do it on a shoestring and retirement costs are daunting. That doesn’t mean that they do not want the best possible retirement situation for their animals. I fail to see why the USEF could not have a fund to help members who need it when their horse needs it. Obviously, they would have to apply and validate their situation but if the racing industry (some of you mentioned this) has a program, why can’t USEF ask for their input? USEF has set up other funds, they gave $50,000 right from the get go to the DEI committee, couldn’t they do something like this for retiring horses? As I said, USEF says they stand primarily for the “Welfare of the Horse” and this fund seems as tho it would fit that declaration. And, if they should be “inclusive” it would seem that retired horses well being should be “included”.
Then to the DEI. May I inquire, do you know of any times/incidences where USEF has not been “inclusive”? Have they refused memberships (last time I looked their membership app. it had no race question on it) or shows or awards or anything pertaining to “Diversity or Equality”? I do not know about all of you, but I have seen every race, creed, ethnicity, religion at horse events & barns. DEI uses the word 'Equity" which means every single one of us treated the same. Therefore that could/should mean retired horses being given the same opportunity as every other horse in our sport?
My reason for having the DEI committee within the USEF/USHJA abolished is for the basic reason that they are not needed. In my humble opinion, horse people have always been DEI, a common love of the horse uniting us no matter what. Giving money to a committee to do what we already do,
seems like a complete waste. Why not put that money in a place where it could do some real good? I ask you, have any of you watched the DEI Comm. Zoom meetings? If so, could you please tell me what they have done so far & what do they plan to do to further their agenda? Thank you again for replying to my comment and I am glad there can be a discussion about all of this.

That used to be what usually happened many years ago. It is not an unpopular opinion with me. It is my opinion too .


What do you mean by this? What DEI work has been done at USEF or in equestrian sports in general?

Ok sorry, should have read the whole post. I don’t think you know what DEI programs are supposed to do.

And, if you think $50K is a lot of money for DEI, it’s not. It’s a drop in the bucket.

And it could retire about one horse.

Because that’s not the organization’s mission.


Hi Schoolmaster, that is my question,"what DEI work has been done at USEF etc since forming the committee? As I said, to my knowledge, USEF has always been Diverse, Equitable, Inclusive, what has changed with this committee?? Please tell me, what are DEI “programs” supposed to do?? Nowadays especially $50k is nothing, but it is nothing no matter where it goes. But, it is a help to many people and could give at least one leg to many legs needed. Again, please, what is the mission of the USEF?? It is a horse organization, shouldn’t it help horses??.

Well, maybe read what they say about themselves on their website:

They are primarily the governing body for equestrian sport.

Their primary role is not to help horses but to govern equestrian competition.

But, apparently, they do also help horses: “US Equestrian contributes to the greater good of horses by assisting with their protection and welfare in crisis situations and natural disasters, as well as in daily competition. As part of this pledge to protect equine welfare, US Equestrian continues to help support federal and state governments and works closely with other national equine organizations.”

They are not a rescue organization or a retirement foundation.

As for DEI work, this is a huge topic and it’s not exclusive to sports or equestrians. But in a nutshell - are there biases that form barriers to entry to the sport, or negatively affect or impact members, competitors, owners, trainers, or other organizations? What has USEF done so far? I have no idea. But my 29 person organization is embarking in a 1-3 year engagement with a consultant to do DEI work as we speak. We make lots of decisions that affect other entities all year long, and our goal is to evaluate those practices and policies to make sure we are aware of places where bias can be introduced, and have plans to ensure that decisions are free from these biases. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years.

And, please, equestrian sport is one of the least diverse populations in the country. :roll_eyes:


Not a “horse organization”. It is a “horse competition organization”.


A take THIS HOT has to be trolling.