When it’s time to reward your equine partner with a well deserved retirement, you want the absolute best. Over the past two decades, Solitaire Ranch has established an unparalleled reputation for outstanding personalized and attentive care. All horses are individuals, and as they age, intimate familiarity with the unique characteristics and habits of each horse becomes increasingly important.
Every horse that comes to Solitaire Ranch is welcomed into the Ranch Family Herd. Effort is made to learn everything there is to know about each horse, so that any changes in behavior are immediately noticed and explored to be sure the horse is doing well physically and is emotionally content and peaceful. Major issues are often averted or quickly resolved thanks to this acute level of active attention.
As with the regular boarding program, the elder horses get to spend their days as close to a natural environment as possible, while also benefiting from the advantages of daily management for diet, socialization, and accommodations to weather. We take care to learn which horses are buddies, who likes to be alone, who prefers outdoor corrals to stalls, and who needs a little help to handle the few cold winter nights we have here in the southern tip of the Texas Hill Country.
We’ve gotten pretty good at reading equine body language and intuiting non-verbal communications. We do our best to follow the horse’s lead and honor his preferences for how he wants to spend his days and nights. That means some horses stay in pasture all the time, others part time. Of course, every horse is fed grain or pelleted meals individually and has access to free choice hay at all times. No horse ever has to compete to get his food. We cater to the horse’s desires while making sure he is as safe as any horse can practically be and maintains a strong, healthy constitution.
Many of our owners live too far away to attend to their horses on a regular basis, so we have structured the elder care program to include administering to minor health or veterinary issues. We will always contact the owner if and when any significant health concerns arise, but for the small stuff – we just handle it. We take care of your horse just like you would if he were in your back yard. You can rest easy knowing somebody has eyes on your equine many times every day and into the night if needed. Owners are responsible for the cost of meds and for any veterinary or hauling charges. If your horse needs ongoing medical administration, we will do so at as minimal cost as possible.
The elder herd enjoys all the same luxuries of herd living as the younger horses, but as horses move into their 20s, 30s, and beyond, they tend to require closer and more frequent attention as well as adjustments to their living and eating conditions. The graduated boarding fee schedule reflects the increases in labor and feed costs as these elders progress through the geriatric stages of life.
As one example, horses who can no longer consume hay get fed pelleted meals 3X/day. Because our staff live on-site those feedings are spread around the clock to ensure that some food matter is always in the stomach. When horses don’t eat for several hours the stomach will be empty of food but the acid continues to build. This is a perfect set-up for ulcers and indeed, is slowly becoming recognized as the #1 reason elder horses decline in the absence of any other clinical symptoms. Our feed program is designed to keep the digestive system healthy whether the horse eats hay or not.
Come visit our herd. See for yourself how all the horses thrive and especially the 25+ crowd. We’ll show you how we adjust the feed program as needed to accommodate the natural changes in dentition which alters and eventually eliminates the horse’s ability to chew and consume hay. Most elder horses begin the final decline at this stage. At Solitaire Ranch, we know how to stay abreast of this age related event and maintain a complete nutritional package that will keep your horse healthy and happy for years to come.