As you might know from previous blogs I'm absolutely dreading the day Dorado, now nearly 18, retires. We've been through so much together already, and sitting on him—even after riding more cooperative, experienced, or quiet horses—is like cozying down in my favorite chair…I never want to get up (or off, as the case may be). But when you own or ride aging horses, retirement—be it from competition, high-performance work, or riding altogether—is a reality that we have to face.

Last month when I learned that my friend Krista's reining horse, a cute Quarter Horse mare named Texas, needed to be retired due to an injury at just 9 years old, I was completely gutted for her. Texas has so much potential that would never be tapped as a result of an avulsion fracture in her right hock, and suspensory ligament desmitis in the same leg. Despite excellent veterinary care and more than a year of rest, the effects of Texas' injury just wouldn't subside.

The guest of honor was dressed to the nines and happy to pose for photos during her retirement celebration.

Photo: Erica Larson

But Krista's attitude stayed much more positive than mine likely would have been in the same situation.

"Texas earned a promotion today: Equus Emeritus!" she wrote on her Facebook page. "For those who do not speak Latin, that would be a horse who has served her time! Congrats Texas!"

Shortly thereafter, an event request popped up on my Facebook feed. Krista was throwing Texas a retirement party!

"I am so proud to be hosting a retirement party for my wonderful horse, Texas!" she wrote. "She has worked so hard over the last few years and has so earned this new chapter in her life. She has accomplished so much at only 9 years old."

So on Sunday, Krista and Texas' friends gathered to celebrate the little mare's career and accomplishments, cook out, start an equine bucket list, and spoil the guest of honor as much as possible. Texas will now live the life of luxury with her pasturemates and, I have no doubt, will be spoiled at every chance possible.

It was an absolute blast, and I left with the firm belief that every horse should have a retirement party to celebrate their accomplishments—big or small—when the time comes.

Even though I hope its many years down the road, Dorado will definitely have a retirement party! Have you ever thrown or attended an equine retirement party? I'd love to hear about your experiences!