This is a post I found that I did not publish from last May. I have more to say about what we did and how it all turned out - here is the old post:
" We have this amazing horse.We have not one true idea of how old he is. All we know for sure is that he has no trace of a Galvaynes Groove and neither of us can ever recall seeing one.
MCH got him several years ago when someone he knew wanted to move up in roping and needed a younger horse. He had seen him work and he bought him without ever trying him.
Rocky taught him a lot about roping. Rocky could also haul ass through a Gymkhana course. He was probably a Jr. Rodeo horse at one time. Every once in awhile someone would recognize Rocky and tell MCH a story about ol' Rocky roping.
We continued to ride him up through Summer of last year. He was my go to horse for visitors and anyone timid with horses. We even took him to a couple of playdays last Spring. I also got married on him. He loves to work.
He is real arthritic in the back hocks and now his back spazms so we just love on him and turn him out.
Today, after a lot of thought, I had his shoes pulled. His body can't keep up with his mind and heart and I just can not justify keeping shoes on him when he does not need them. I feel like I just cocked the trigger though and it took a lot for me to not have the shoes put back on.
Funny how we humans do so many things thinking we are doing it in the animals best interest when in fact, we are doing it because we believe it will prolong a life and therefore stave off what we fear most.
How does one choose with a horse? Will he be better off staying here in his paddock which is not small, but certainly does not keep him from abject boredom, or do I take him to a pasture to graze and be a horse for the rest of his days? I know how horses live - grazing and moving for 18 hours a day - to be in any stall - with only an hour or so of interaction with us a day is like a human being in jail. So my gut and my mind say pasture, but my heart and my habit of bestowing human emotions onto my animals is saying he would be better here. Pretty much - he is counting on us to do the best thing for him. With this many horses I can honestly say that I don't feel that I give him what he wants from us."
Now today - We chose to pasture him - he did fine without shoes and not 4 weeks later we took him up to a friends ranch in Bear Valley Springs. He has been there ever since. He has pasture buddies - including a younger mare who is his constant companion. He is thriving and looks to be one of those record breaking horses. If he had been used for trail and not roping, I'm sure we would still be riding him. I wish we knew what his breeding history was. Go with your gut when it comes to making decisions for your older animal companions. He was as clear as could be about what he needed and we chose to honor him rather than our emotional selves and it was the best possible deal. I miss seeing him everyday and he is an all day trip to go see him, but he is sooooooo happy, especially being able to physically interact with other horses and actually have his very own mare.
Follow your intuition not your ego and listen to your friend ......