Retirement Boarding

2021 yearlings

Just like us, when horses get older they may lose a little flexibility, tire out faster, get achy and stiff the next morning after an active day, and may even need to change their diet some. We understand that.

Aurora Farms provides individualized attention to fit every horse’s condition and particular needs, and we constantly adapt the care your horse receives, as their needs change. Whatever level of activity your old friend is at, they deserve to be active at a level that is comfortable for them.

Most residents spend the majority of their time on pasture where they can join a small group of two to six older horses, perfect companionship for most senior horses who could be stressed in a larger herd.  Mature trees offer plenty of shade, and there is a constant supply of hay and water. Run-in shelters with fans provide an option to get out of the elements, and every horse is fed individually with the healthy and balanced nutrition program designed just for them. Even with the shifting, slower tempo of a senior horse’s life, they will receive around-the-clock attention.

Two horses at fence
Jersey Jim & Murder Hornet

“Aurora Farms is horse heaven! Melody knew just how to help my quirky mare make a smooth transition to retirement. She’s in the best hands and I don’t lose a minute of sleep worrying about her.”

Anne Guillory

“Aurora Farms offers beauty, freedom, companionship, and the opportunity for my horse to enjoy her  golden years in peak condition. This is definitely her Forever Home!”

Helene DelMese

Jack

Turn-Out Options

Past injuries and age may mean that your old friend will need to have his activities reduced, but that doesn’t mean they should just stay in the stable. Older horses with arthritis and other health issues are better out and about, moving instead of standing. The benefits of staying active can be stronger muscles and bones, reduction of inflammation, maintaining healthy gut function, and preventing the senior horse from gaining too much weight, which puts added strain on their joints, tendons, and ligaments.

Read Turning Your Horse Out to Pasture by Kentucky Equine Research for a more detailed look at the subject.

5 Steps to Finding Your Horse’s Perfect Retirement Home

The bottom line of taking good care of an older horse is simple: proper nutrition, shelter, social stimulation, and preventive and attentive health care. But that management will different for every horse. So, you will need to keep a number of things in mind when searching for the perfect retirement home.

Horse Standing at Fence
Sadie
1

Determine Your Horse’s Needs - Now and Later

Even if your horse is the picture of health now, and has simply gotten too old for their present job, age takes its toll on us all. Older horses often have health issues and require daily medications and monitoring. Your goal in searching for a retirement home should be to find the ideal place for him right now, and much later on in life when his health may start to fail. The decision to send your horse into someone else’s care is difficult enough, but you don’t want to be forced to switch caregivers late in life because the facility that you chose isn’t capable of handling serious health issues.

The Aurora Advantage

An essential part of keeping senior horses healthy is preventative care, informed management, and a watchful, expert eye. All of our horses receive comprehensive yearly veterinarian and dental exams, and every horse is individually fed and monitored every day, allowing us to take detailed notice of their health and any developing conditions. And with our on-site diagnostic lab providing immediate test results, we are able to respond quickly to any issues.

Playing with Water
La Z Boy
2

Select the Right Atmosphere

As you are looking to take care of your horse’s physical needs, don’t overlook their mental health. Retirement is going to be an adjustment, so consider how your horse has been housed throughout their life and identify their preferred lifestyle.

If your showhorse is accustomed to being pampered in a stall all day, full turnout could be a shock to the system. But, for an older horse, inactivity can cause stiffness and stocking up. They will need to be eased into a slower-paced lifestyle, with more turnout time added incrementally to allow them to adapt.

Similarly, companionship is important to older horses. But in a large herd, seniority doesn’t necessarily favor the eldest. Young, strong, higher-ranking horses will eat and drink first, and can bully older or weaker horses causing malnutrition and stress.

The Aurora Advantage

The biggest and easiest mistake that can be made in retiring a horse is simply opening up the gate and putting him out to pasture. It can be very damaging, both physically and mentally, for a horse to abruptly switch from an active, busy schedule to not having any regular activities.

We know that there is no one-size-fits-all equine retirement plan. Every situation is as different as the individual horses themselves. To keep a senior horse active and happy, it is important to gradually decrease their activity level, based on their changing physical abilities. At Aurora, a customized retirement plan will be created that provides a regular routine to boost your horse’s health and comfort. And this plan will update on a day-to day basis as the horse ages.

Our retirement horses are gradually placed into small-herd turnouts of 2 - 6, which are selected and grouped for compatibility. This guarantees that they can feed and drink without anxiety, and provides companionship. Another step that we take to guarantee the stability of the small herd is to have the farrier attend to the horses in their own pasture. This avoids the disruption of removing and reintroducing a horse from the group, and that continuity helps to maintain harmony in the herd.

Three Retired Horses
Murder Hornet, Cabo Wabo Flip, and Happy
3

Look for Expertise

This is a critical part of keeping an older horse healthy — having experts who are alert and engaged, to actively monitor your horse’s daily activities, and who will recognize when changes need to be made. Entrusting your older horse to knowledgeable and committed pros will bring you enormous peace of mind.

So, what expertise is needed to ensure the horse a good quality of life?

Of primary importance is the quality and experience of the operators and staff of the retirement farm. They need to develop a long-term relationship with your horse, and will have direct, regular interactions that can alert them to any changes. Capable workers must be available for regular handling of the horse.

A reliable and knowledgeable veterinarian for geriatric horses is a great asset on any retirement farm. They will need to provide annual wellness exams, vaccines, dental care, and advise on nutrition, as well as be available for emergencies. And finally, a skilled, caring farrier is vital for regular hoof care, and to work in concert with the veterinarian should an issue such as laminitis occur.

The Aurora Advantage

Aurora Farms provides experienced, committed, around-the-clock care. We have a deep background managing the diseases and underlying health issues that often occur in senior horses: equine Cushing’s disease (PPID), founder (laminitis), arthritis, colic, weight and dental problems, and eye disease, and we attentively monitor our retirees for symptoms or changes in their health.  

The long-standing and trusted partnerships we have developed with our stellar vets and farriers provide us with professional support and allow us to accept horses with more challenging health issues than most retirement farms.  

Getting Ready for Checkup
Tory Burch
4

Research, Visit, and Listen to Your Gut

After you have gotten referrals and read all of the websites and brochures, when you’ve found a farm that you like, check out all of their references. You can learn a lot from speaking directly to other people who have their horses boarded there.

Then, it is time to call and schedule a visit. Walk the pastures, inspect the barns, and talk directly to the people who will be providing care so that you can get a good sense of the quality of life your horse will experience when they are living there. Once you are comfortable with operations, personnel, and the facility’s atmosphere, then invest some of your time examining the most significant proof of worth that a retirement farm can offer — the horses.

Evaluate the other horses boarded at the farm. Look at both their appearance and attitude. Apart from everything else at the farm, horse care and well-being should be paramount. If the horses that are currently retired there are fit, content, and interested in their surroundings, then chances are that your horse will thrive there.

The Aurora Advantage

We would love to provide you with references, testimonials, tours, and answers to any questions you have, because we know that the more you learn about Aurora Farms, the more pleased you will be. Actually, we think that one of our clients said it better than we possibly could:

“When anyone asks me about Melody Adler’s care of horses, my response is that I trust her with my best mare, BHF Evangelique. My other response is that when I die, I want to come back as a horse here.”

Julie Behrends-Jones

Barn and Field
5

Contracts, Costs, and Communication

The devil, they say, is in the details.

Once you have selected your horse’s retirement home, it is critical that you have a detailed boarding contract. Your contract should outline exactly what is and is not included in the boarding cost, and it also needs to cover all aspects of your horse’s stay, including who is responsible for making final decisions on routine and emergency health care. Clearly stating who is responsible and who has the right to make decisions for the horse under a variety of circumstances helps avoid potential uncomfortable questions or misunderstandings.

You should also clearly communicate with your horse’s caretaker the amount of extraordinary effort you’re willing to invest in and pay for when it comes to veterinary procedures and visits. If your horse has colic, would you want emergency surgery and hospitalization, or is euthanasia an alternative? Having those conversations ahead of time helps you prepare for all possibilities, and helps you avoid making difficult decisions at an emotional, stressful moment.

The Aurora Advantage

At Aurora, we satisfy clients ranging from international owners who aren’t able to check up on their horse in person, to local owners who visit every day. We know that clear, upfront communication regarding health and well being is vital to make sure that your horse gets the care he needs. Our goal with all contracts and communication is simple: to eliminate confusion. That is why we provide flat fees for all of our services, without pages and pages of add-ons and upgrades.

Pricing

Full Care Retirement Boarding

$600 / month

Included in flat fee:

  • 2-3 times daily grain — individualized feed program for every horse
  • Pasture, free-choice hay when needed
  • Run-in shelters with fans
  • Automatic watering system, with heated water in winter
  • Minor medical (wound care)
  • Tending to horse during vet or farrier visits
  • Fly garlic supplements
  • Fly masks
  • Blanketing as needed
  • Around-the-clock care
  • Each horse is individually attended to and monitored everyday

Veterinary and farrier services will  be billed separately, directly to owner

Medication administration may require an additional fee

End of Life Care and Memorial

Throughout our horses’ lives, we make choices about their care based on their best interests and their quality of life. Although the choices that come at end of life are based on those same values, we know how difficult they can be.

Aurora Farms will be there to support both you and your horse when it comes time to say goodbye. Many people prefer to have their horses remain on the farm where they spent their last years. Owners have laid their horse to rest or had their ashes interred here, and some have chosen to memorialize their old friend with an engraved marker or the planting of a tree. We are honored to offer this final accommodation.