So I've just been told that a 14 year old mare is too old to ride and breed.
This mare grew up in peace, had a few foals and was started under saddle late and ridden on and off for about a year. She is sound and has a pretty nice and laid back temperament. She sure doesn't believe in over exerting herself. Obviously, with only a little bit of work under her belt, she can't be called an experienced mount, but with a little bit of regular work (after a reminder session or two), she should come along nicely and be a good pleasure riding horse for another 10 years or so.
But the answer was:
"as she would need a bit of work to get her going etc and then by the time she became a good riding horse(fully trained) she would almost be ready for retirement."
"she could be a good broodmare also but with her age a foal may take too much out of her"
Have we come to the point where the stupid habit of riding two year old horses has littered the saleyards and knackeries with so many broken down horses in their early teens that this is now the accepted norm??
I will admit that if I was offered a 14 year old mare that had been ridden every day since the age of 2 or earlier, I'd probably baulk, too. Of if she'd had her arse worked off inbetween popping out foals every year from that age.
But holy crap, if I were offered a sensible, sound, horse of good breeding, and I knew it hadn't had the arse flogged off it, I would most definitely consider it.
Of course there are no guarantees in life. The fourteen year old might break down in a couple of years. But hey, so could the 4 year old you buy. A pre purchase vet exam is still the best way to get an educated third party's opionion on a horse.
I just don't accept that on principle a fourteen year old horse should be considered "too old" to ride or breed. That would be like like refusing a job to a fourty year old person on the basis of age.
(..shakes head in disbelief...)
The mare was sold to someone else last year. The new owner just sent me photos of her riding the mare, doing jumping, winning a ribbon at a gymkhana and having fun. She is totally happy, and the mare looks beautiful: fit, interested and relaxed.
Someone put the time in and is reaping the rewards. Makes me happy!