carriage horse

Carriage Horse Retirement – What Happens to a Tally-Ho Horse When It Retires?

Retired Horses Can Live a Long, Happy and Healthy Life

Our carriage horses are part of our family at Tally-Ho Carriage Tours, and that doesn’t stop when they get too old to work. Our retired horses continue to live out their lives with the family they know and love, both equine and human, at our Hidden Acres farm in Saanich, BC.

Of course, just like humans, when working horses retire, their lifestyle and needs change, and we pride ourselves in ensuring our older horses get the right care to keep them healthy in their golden years.

At Tally-Ho, we guarantee our horses a happy and healthy retirement by offering them the care and lifestyle they need. Read on to find out more about our retired draft horses, the special needs of a retired horse and how our retired horses live out their days.

When Do Tally-Ho Horses Retire?

Retirement age is different for every horse and depends on several factors, including their health and their physical and mental condition. Generally, our horses are retired at between 19 and 25 years of age.

We currently have four retired horses in our pack:

  • Delilah, Suffolk Punch / Belgian mare – Age 23 (born 2000). 
  • Kashe, Clydesdale gelding – Age 21 (born 2002). 
  • King, Percheron gelding – Age 24 (born 1999). 
  • Sarge, Clydesdale gelding – Age 21 (born 2002). 

While draft horses usually have an expected life span of up to 25 years, our Tally-Ho horses often live into their mid-30s thanks to their healthy working lifestyle, so we could be looking after them for anything up to 15 years of retirement. 

It is important to us that those well-earned years of rest are happy, healthy and stimulating for our equine family members.

What Does Horse Retirement Look Like at Tally-Ho?

The daily life of a retired horse on our Hidden Acres farm is one of relaxation and choice. Our horses have the option to wander the fields alongside their equine family members, seek shelter in our open barn or interact with their human friends.

Every day a team member checks in on each horse and gives them some company and mental stimulation with a game or a gentle walk.  

Our retired horses continue to contribute to life on the farm by helping to train our new staff via our training and development program. They also help to welcome new horses into our family, taking them under their wing and showing them the ropes of life at Hidden Acre farm.

Do Retired Horses Need Special Care?

At Tally-Ho, we offer our horses the best care and living conditions throughout their life with us. However, the needs of a retired horse are a little different from a working horse, so we ensure we provide personalized care depending on each horse’s requirements.

The needs of a retired carriage horse include:

Social interaction: Horses are very social creatures. A working horse is in a stimulating environment every day, seeing new sights and sounds and interacting with people and other animals. For that to suddenly stop when a horse retires could lead to depression.

At Tally-Ho, our retired horses are still part of the pack, they are free to interact with other horses all day, and they get lots of time with their human family members too. Retired Tally-Ho horses also get to be the stars of the show at our Farm Tours, where they love to meet new people.

Movement: Although they are no longer pulling carriages, it’s important that retired horses continue to get frequent light exercise to retain muscle tone, bone strength and heart health. Movement also helps them regulate body temperature, especially in colder weather. Our horses are free to walk or trot around the paddock all day, current and retired carriage drivers come to the farm to walk and interact with their favourite horses, and we also integrate light trail rides.

Balanced nutrition: Older horses need to eat more frequently than younger ones to regulate their digestive system, and while they may not need quite as much food as their younger working counterparts, they do still require good quality, nutritious food. We ensure our retired horses are offered high-quality feed and plenty of water throughout the day. Most importantly, we ensure they have the time and space to eat, as they might take a little more time to eat as they age.

Mental stimulation: Our retired horses still need to stimulate their curious minds. With plenty of activity, toys and space to enjoy, a retired horse can remain happy and stimulated into older age.

Healthcare: Like humans, getting older can bring new health changes and challenges, but with consistent and appropriate health care, we can keep our horses healthy to live a longer-than-expected lifespan. At Tally-Ho, our retired horses get:

  • Regular veterinary checkups – to ensure health changes are caught quickly.
  • Dental checkups – older horses are more susceptible to dental issues, which, if left unattended, can impact their ability to eat.
  • Preventative care and vaccinations – to protect from illness and disease.
  • Hoof care – to enable them to continue appropriate levels of activity.

A Happy, Healthy Retirement for Tally-Ho Horses

After their working years are done, we think our draft horses deserve a long, happy and healthy retirement. Thanks to a healthy lifestyle and steady, low-impact exercise during their carriage-pulling careers, our draft horses enter retirement with healthy bodies and minds.

At Tally-Ho Carriage Tours, we respect and love our horses and we make it our life’s work to lead by example in the way working carriage horses live their lives and experience retirement.

Come and see for yourself how we care for our horses at Hidden Acres farm on one of our Behind the Scenes tours. Choose from our farm tour, where you find out all about life on our farm, or opt for the ‘Grass Roots Experience’, where you get to meet and interact with some of our retired horses in a hands-on tour.

Please contact us if you’d like to know more about our tours, opportunities for private bookings or if you have any questions. The human team at Tally-Ho loves to talk about our horse family and what we do, and we’re happy to tell you more!