Retirement Boarding with a personal touch
Contact Us Board Terms Boarding Extras Horse Rescues
We are located in beautiful White Post, Virginia. Now, White Post is out in the country and is really nothing more than a cross-road, so if you are looking for us on the map, look for Winchester, Virginia, which will be in the upper northwest of the state. We are approximately 5 miles from Winchester, which claims itself to be 'the apple capital of the world'. We do grow A LOT of apples around here - which is good news for the horses!
the barn, view from my backyard
We offer full board for our retirees. We have a big barn, which they have access to at any time. They are fed in their own, individual feed pens, and we feed twice a day, morning (about 6 am) and evening (about 5 pm). We have HUGE, run-in sheds in every field, that we built in 2003 . They are double walled, so that the horses can't kick a board out. We have a round bale feeder in the middle of the run ins, so the hay doesn't get wet, and the horses can eat inside, if they choose to. We make our own hay, both round bales and square bales. Our hay is of the highest quality, and we do sell it retail locally. The horses are fed square bales in the barn - again, this keeps the hay out of the weather, so it doesn't get wet, get dragged around, stomped on, rolled in, etc.
We feed our retired horses Equine Senior, or Triple Crown Senior. I do mix in a cup of regular sweet feed, such as Legends 10, because the senior feeds are pelleted, which is fine, but I think the horses really like sweet feed, and miss it when they don't get any, but the horses around them do - we keep the retirees right in with our own horses. So, we feed them Equine Senior, to get all the vitamins and minerals they need, and add sweet feed for fun, plus it ensures the older horses keep weight on, especially in the winter time. We also add corn oil/vegetable oil to their feed, for some extra calories without adding bulk, and it is an excellent coat conditioner!
If need be, we can add cooked beet pulp to your horses feed. We can mix boiling water into their feed as well, to make it the consistency of oatmeal. Several of our boarders require this, as they just don't have any teeth left, to chew feed. We do not charge extra for this.
By the way, retirement boarding doesn't always = older horses. We have got many guys here that are NOT old, but simply cannot be ridden anymore. For example, we have an 8 year old blind horse, a 10 year old with a heart condition, a 12 year old that had EPM, and though treated, never recovered to the point he could be safely ridden again.
All horses get a teaspoon of salt added to their feed, both morning and night. This ensures that they drink enough water, which is more important in the wintertime, as they are eating much more hay, than summer, when they have the grass, in and of itself, has a lot of moisture. We use iodized salt, thus they are getting iodine, a needed mineral, which helps to support healthy thyroid function, a concern in older horses who can commonly get thyroid tumors.
We have salt blocks, mineral blocks, and loose minerals available all over the farm. Some horses prefer the loose minerals to the blocks, which is fine, as really block salt was made more for cattle than horses. Cattle have very rough tongues, and can get more out of a salt block than a horse.
In winter, I add a vitamin c and a vitamin e tablet to their feed. From about November through March. Again, the grass is down/dead for the winter. Older guys can use extra c & e, as they are good antioxident vitamins. It can't hurt. My performance horses get these vitamins all year, as when under stress the body uses more vitamin c. Vitamin e helps vitamin c work better, so the two vitamins really work together.The horses have access to water at all times - we have automatic waterers in the fields, buckets in the barn and we personally fill them every night in the barn. In the winter time, we have heated water buckets for all the barn stalls, plus heated troughs in the barn yards, each holds at least 150 gallons of water. Water is always important to horses, but especially in the winter time, as they will eat more forage - hay - and need the water. Often horses don't drink much water in the winter time because the water is cold - which is why we have the heated water troughs. It keeps the water at a temperature the horses seem to like.
Now, I'm going to address a couple of areas that people have asked me about.
Fencing - Idylwood is fenced with wooden 3-4 board around the barn. In a couple of the larger pastures, we use 4 foot American wire with wooden posts. We also use 3 strand electric braid to separate 2 of the pastures. The electric fence is very well marked on all 3 strands.
Number of horses we keep on the farm. We do not 'overstock' the farm, like other boarding places. We like the horses having so much space. We do have them somewhat separated. The Thoroughbreds, are in one pasture. The Quarter Horses, most of which are my personal horses, are in their own pasture. Some of the mares are in their own pasture. The 'babies', our youngest horses in training have their own field, but we do occasionally put them in with the old guys. We put our retiree/boarders in whatever pasture they will fit in the best.
We don't 'do' lessons. I couldn't believe this, but apparently this does go on. One woman I was talking with told me about a retirement farm, that actually used the retired horses they were boarding as their lesson horses, without telling the owners! WOW! Not only do we not give lessons, but there is a real question of legality here. Unless it is in the boarding contract, I doubt this is legal. No one should be allowed to use your horse, especially in the area of making money on him, without your permission or consent. This is incredulous to me! If you hear or know of this going on at any farm that does retirement boarding, report it to the authorities - or let me know. I will try and take care of it.
I am a retired Animal Control Officer. I know where to go and who to ask the right questions!
Retirement boarding does NOT mean 'turned out in a field' and that's it.
We bring the horses in morning and night to be fed, real equine senior
or high quality sweet feed. In the winter, Rusty makes sure they have
more hay than they could ever eat. They always have access to shelter.
We do not require the owners come out and do any sort of care for their
horses, as that is what you are paying us to do. And we have several
owners who are out of the state, or out of the country. However, you
are welcome to come visit your horse at any time. Be wary of places that
require you to make an appointment or let them know in advance.
***see more on this below***
I can tell you this, though. We do a full strip down of the barn, and muck
out the barnyards on Thursdays. We sanitize all the water buckets, and if
needed, we scrub out and sanitize the big water troughs. In the summer
I will hose out the stalls with a good soap, which also kills fly/bugs and insect eggs.
So, we are at our 'ugliest' on Wednesday afternoons and 'prettiest' on Fridays.
Jona with her friends
How we got started in this retirement farm business (and we just started this in October 2003), came from our doing horse rescue work. I became Clarke County's Animal Control Officer in 1995 and in 1999, I was awarded Animal Control Officer of the Year by the state of Virginia, for my doing one of the largest horse confiscation cases this state has had in the last 10 years. In December 2002, I met Rusty, doing another big horse case, where a man virtually starved to death 7 horses, one was already dead on the scene when I arrived. Rusty had discovered the place and called me immediately. Of course, I went in and took over, but one of the horses, a 2 year old app filly was literally so far gone that she went down, and we couldn't get her up. Two vets tried, with fluids, etc., still nothing worked. We were having an ice storm of all things, so she's down in an ice storm. We built some shelter over her, but the vets (and we called 2 more), all the vets said if she wasn't up by morning, to put her down. Well, she wasn't up by morning, but I didn't have the heart to do it. I actually contacted the Nez Perce Indians to help me, by saying a prayer , and to give her a name, so that she would get strength from that. Which is how she got the name "Jona," a shortened version of her actual Indian name, which means 'child of the sun.' Meanwhile, Rusty made a sling for her, and had it hooked up in a big stall in his barn, which is about a mile from where she was. With the help of his friends front end loader tractor, we moved her to his barn. Needless to say, it was lots of work, but he got the filly going again, and in 3 weeks, she was able to stand on her own! Yeaaa!!! So, all the help I called upon must have worked! More to this story: that April, Rusty and I got together. Which is how I ended up here at Idylwood. And now he and I have some arguments over the fact that I think the little appy filly is TOO fat, and he says she's not! Oh well. I will say this, Rusty can put weight on a horse. We have since taken on a couple more horses that just need to gain some weight. If anyone can do it, Rusty can. Meanwhile, I have since left my job in Animal Control (I loved it, but after 8 years, one gets 'burned out'), and devoted myself to horses full time thus it was an easy decision for me, since horses are my first love anyway! (Rusty being a very close second!)
So that's the story of Idylwood Retirement Farm, and how we got started doing this.
Why retired horses? C'mon you gotta love old horses! They've got so much character and personality. They are neat old things. And, of course, the fact that my very first Quarter horse is now 25, sort of adds to the whole retirement deal. I actually still showed him in Western Pleasure until he was 20, but now he is arthritic. Thus, I've learned how to deal with that, what supplements really work, and those that don't. Now, given how beautiful this place is, and how much room we have, why don't we run a regular boarding stable? That is purely selfish. I am almost always using the arena or round pen in training and showing my own, personal horses, which now include several yearling Quarter horses I just purchased, and doing reining training on the older Quarter Horses. So that's why we don't operate a regular boarding stable. Any of our retiree families are welcome to come visit at any time, and of course you can ride in our arena, if you'd like. But to have a stable full of regular boarders would just be too much.
We love our retirees!
For a copy of our Boarding Contract, email or call us 540/
For a copy of our Boarding Contract, email or call us 540/409-7957
For details regarding our boarding fees, what we do, etc. go here to Board Terms
Come see our "Boarding Extras". These are additional things you can add to your contract, which we are happy to do, such as give hoof or coat supplements, add multi-vitamins, arthritis supplements with glucosamine, etc. The Boarding Extras page will automatically be sent with the Boarding Contract, if you request one. If you want to discuss adding supplements, and which ones would work best for your horse, give us a call. I've used lots of different supplements on my guys, as I mentioned earlier, my old show horse has arthritis and receives a glucosamine supplement every day. I've tried many kinds, and have found some particular brands that really do work better than others. This also applies to coat supplements, hoof supplements, vitamins and weight builders, because I have show horses, I have tried just about everything. I can tell you what works and what doesn't - at least for me.
If you have any other questions, etc. please don't hesitate to contact me or Rusty
Thanks for stopping by! :) Lori
I started a newsletter, called "Idyl Gossip", which is sent out to all our boarders about twice a year. It covers recent happenings, future happenings, some horse health issues, etc. If you are interested in receiving a copy, just email me personally, and I'd be glad to forward one along to you. As a boarder here, you will automatically get one.
In addition to the newsletter, Rusty & I are working on a book, "Safe Horses are Cheaper". It covers all aspects of horse ownership, from not only the barn structure, but feeding, vet, horses themselves, and people in and around horses. As soon as it is finished and published, I will let you all know.
email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Rusty cell 540/ 409-7957 * (Rusty is far and away the easiest to get a hold of. He keeps his phone charged and turned on. Both of which I am guilty of NOT doing, by accident. I'm blonde, through and through)
Lori cell 540/ 533-8535
Links: Sugar Free Horse Cookies NaturalHorseTreats.com Love2rein.com
downunderhorsemanship.com equinenow.com idylwoodfarm.net *Rusty's pages