A Year In A Life With . . .Bear

Before we get too far into 2022, I want to summarize my horse life for 2021. I decided to do this by writing three separate posts, one regarding each of my horses. The posts will come in three installments, each titled “a year in a life with . . .”. The last installment featured my horse, Shiloh. Today’s features Bear, my bay and white Racking Horse gelding.

In 2021, Bear marked his 26th birthday and our 16th anniversary.

I’ve spent more time with him than any other horse I have had the pleasure of keeping in my backyard. Bear is also the horse who has spent more time in retirement with me than any of my previous horses.

As he entered his second decade, Bear’s issues with arthritis and laminitis eventually led to my assessment that he was no longer comfortable working under saddle. After over ten fun riding years together, I sadly retired him in 2017.

For a retired horse, though, Bear’s been pretty active. In 2021, he went with Shiloh on eight trailer trips. We went to the vet’s office, a clinic, a friend’s property, and a local boarding barn. I didn’t want to leave him alone at home.

Now that I added a third horse to the herd a few months ago, Bear will have some company if I take someone else out to ride. We’ll have to experiment with that in 2022.

While Bear seems mostly happy being left to his own devices, I do still like to include him in at-home activities from time to time.

In 2021, I tried ponying him off of Shiloh for the first time. We ended up doing a handful of sessions. Here’s a little video clip of us practicing changing directions and stopping.

Bear was always a fan of playing around with obstacles during our riding days. So throughout the year, I periodically took out obstacles and let him play around with them on the ground.

And sometimes I just took him out for little walks around the property. I also took him into the round pen, let him loose, and took out a bunch of grooming tools to see what he picked out for a little massage. It is a good excuse to practice taking him away from the other horses, who sometimes react to the fact that Bear is leaving the paddock without them.

Mostly though, Bear enjoys running around, just being a horse.

Even running around and kicking up his heels sometimes.

With Bear turning 27 this Spring, I know the clock is ticking on our time together. His Cushing’s Disease, Equine Metabolic Syndrome, and arthritis make it challenging to manage his health. But my goal is to make his life as healthy and happy as I can, maintaining a good quality of existence for him as long as possible.

Here’s to you my dear, Bear!