Layups, Rehabilitation & Retirement Facilities
within California



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Worthy Soles Horse Retirement

Worthy Soles Horse Retirement


Over ten years in the making, Worthy Soles Horse Retirement has now opened its doors to retired horses. Located in Tehachapi, CA, Worthy Soles uses an entirely different boarding model than traditional facilities. Owner Cathy White states, "Most modern horse-keeping practices are the opposite of what a horse needs - which is movement, companionship and fresh air." While still providing unlimited food, shelter and water, Worthy Soles uses a track system to spread out these necessities so that horses constantly roam, play and move throughout the day.

Worthy Soles Horse Retirement

A horse's entire physical/emotional make up and digestive system is designed around eating small amounts of food all day long and with near constant roaming in a herd. Domestication has not changed thousands of years of evolution, as much as people want to think it has. The stress of confinement and feeding 2-3 times a day can cause problems such as ulcers, cribbing, colic, respiratory and lameness issues.

Worthy Soles Horse Retirement

White's dream was to create a natural environment that promoted the optimal physical and emotional well-being for horses under her care. While each horse is part of a herd, they are all cared for as individuals. Horses thrive on the 20+ acre property with more than a mile of track for roaming. New horses are introduced slowly and safely to the herd environment, and Tehachapi's mild year-round climate is suitable for older horses.

Worthy Soles Horse Retirement

When asked what type of horses people have considered boarding with her, White responded, "This boarding model has become very sought-after. I'm getting calls from people who want to take time off for themselves to travel, about horses whose owners have passed on, and also from people who love and adore their successful stall-kept show-horse whose owners want to give them a happy and healthy retirement." White goes on, "These days you cannot guarantee where your horse will end up if you sell or give it away as a pasture-mate. I've heard very sad stories of horses being put back into heavy use that shouldn't be."

Worthy Soles Horse Retirement does not have a training or lesson facility, and owners are given constant updates on how their retired horses are doing. Only 2 hours out of Los Angeles, owners also have the ability to visit easily. Limited spaces are available.

For more information, go to or call 310-721-2662



Senior Horse Health
Amy Perille DVM
By Amy Perille DVM, Dip ACVIM

Amy Perille DVM, Dip ACVIM, is a board-certified small animal veterinary internist. Amy is passionate about horse health care and preventative medicine. The following are some of her thoughts on senior health care.


The needs of horses change as they age. They thrive in a less stressful environment in which they have more time each day to rest. As they age, it becomes more difficult for them to adjust to change, so consistent routines are important. Health problems can develop over time so maintaining good health is a major goal in caring for the senior horse.

Amy Perille DVM

Routine Care

Monitoring Weight and Body Condition:
The weight and condition of the senior horse should be assessed on a regular basis (every 6-8 weeks). Horses who are overweight or underweight are at risk of developing diseases. When weight trends are discovered early, gradual changes can be made in feeding to maintain an optimal healthy weight.

Skin Care:

Regular grooming of the older horse is desirable. Brushing removes dirt, dead skin, and matted/loose hair. Grooming stimulates the secretion of natural oils, which keeps the skin healthy and resilient. A thorough grooming also allows the caretaker to examine the skin closely for minor cuts, infections, and masses.

Hoof Care:
It is best for retired horses to go barefoot. A discussion with your horse's farrier about making this transition is worthwhile. Once senior horses are acclimated to going barefoot, they still need to have their hooves trimmed, but usually less frequently.

Diseases of the Older Horse

Weight Loss:

Weight loss is common as horses reach old age. It is often due to dental disease or intestinal parasitism. Elderly horses in a herd may not be able to compete for food and consume less. Underlying diseases (liver, kidney, cardiac, hormonal, metabolic syndromes, and cancer) can lead to weight loss. If dental disease, parasitism, behavioral issues, and underlying diseases are ruled out, weight loss is usually attributed to an aging gastrointestinal tract that absorbs nutrients less efficiently. Sometimes this trend can be attenuated with changes in diet.


The two most common causes of colic in the older horse are large intestinal obstructions and strangulating small intestinal lipomas. Large intestinal obstructions are often due to impaction resulting from too much undigested fiber reaching the colon (usually a result of dental disease) and insufficient water intake. Obese horses are prone to forming lipomas (fatty tumors) in the abdominal cavity. These tumors are attached by a stalk and sometimes they wrap around the small intestines causing acute obstruction.

Musculoskeletal Diseases:

Arthritis is a common problem in the older horse. Allowing horses to live in pastures will often alleviate the painful symptoms of arthritis because constant movement keeps joints loose and flexible. Laminitis is another common problem that often develops in older horses with Cushing's disease and in certain breeds that are predisposed to the disorder.

Hormonal Diseases:

Cushing's disease is the most common hormonal disease of the older horse. It results from pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction. Signs of Cushing's disease include: long hair coat, weight loss, muscle wasting, lethargy, increased water consumption, increased urination, laminitis, and a predisposition to infections. Diabetes mellitus is sometimes seen in older obese horses, and can develop in horses with Cushing's disease. Both disorders can be diagnosed by the veterinarian and treatment options are available.


Diseases of the kidney, liver and heart can develop in the older horse, but are not common. Occasionally horses will develop cancer in older age, especially cancers involving the skin and mucous membranes. The three most common cancers in horses are: Sarcoids, squamous cell carcinomas and melanomas.









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