Challenge: Retiring an older horse who wants to be active
Solution: Animal Connection
Scarborough and Danielle
Many animals tell me that they want to feel useful and have the need to have a "job" in their lives. Many tell me that they chose their life so they could be companions, teachers, communicators and even healers.
As my 29 year old horse, Scarborough, was approaching retirement due to arthritis, I knew that it would still be important for him to have some responsibility along with retirement. I was very concerned about how he would adjust to his new role in life, since he still wanted to be active but couldn’t handle it physically.
So what could Scarborough’s new job be? Well, he could still give pony rides, which he loved, but those were few and far between. Then it came to me. He could mentor my new horse. Explain the lay of the land, so to speak. Convey our "rules of the ranch". He thought this was a great idea after I explained how his age and maturity made him perfect for the job.
Well, it didn’t take him long to really get into the new job. Duster, my new trail horse, had only been with us about a week when we had our first rain which turned our dusty stalls into mud. I went down to the barn to check on the horses and there Duster and Scarborough stood, caked in mud!
Now, I wasn’t surprised at Scarborough, since this was usual for him. But I couldn’t believe what a mess Duster was! I spoke out loud to her telling her that I was under the impression that she was a fine lady who would never allow herself to become such a piggy! Well, was I ever surprised when Duster responded that Scarborough had told her that getting real muddy was what was expected at our ranch. He told her that when it rains, Danielle comes down to the barn and makes such a fuss over us if we are caked in mud!
Yes, Scarborough was quite the jokester. To look at him you wouldn’t know it. But to know him like I do, you just have to love his sense of humor... well, at least most of the time!
So the moral of the story is: Be sensitive to your older animal’s need to keep their dignity and feel useful. They are depending on you. AND be careful what you ask for. You just might get it!
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