A difficult question for all horse owners- euthanasia

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Kanuma

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haveing been in a similar situation to some of those mentioned above twice, you can never realy tell what is going to happen with a horse. on a side note; Bea have you ever been to a horse market (not one of the fancy ones, but one on a par with beeston etc) most of the horses that go through there are broken down old ponies who either go for meat or get taken by dealers and buted up. it would be much kinder to have them put to sleep.

as for my lot, if anything happened to me and my family (which is rather large) then:

Pride would be gifted to a friend who knows him well, he has been abused before and has taken enough chunks out of everyone (he has picked me up by my elbow before) for us all to know that if she couldnt take him then the kindest thing for him would be to have him PTS before he killed someone, he is healthy and happy but he is 23 and the only way now is down.
Harvey would also be gifted to said friend or perhaps gifted to a charity, he is 23 a gorgeous pony and very active, starting to stiffen up a bit, but would make an ideal 1st pony for a relatively competant person as he can get a bit wizzy.
stan would be sold back to his previous owner as i had to sign a contract with her saying that if it ever became nessecary for me to sell him she would be offered him first at half price.
Rian im not to sure about, he has lots of back problems and finds it difficult to be ridden other then hacking as he cant bend properly, he would also go to a friend but failing that would probably be PTS as in the wrong hands he could go bad very quickly and who wants a 15hh purebred neurotic arab, that has a 3 inch stride and massive back problems possible stifle problems and is a bit of a handful to handle.

if any of them needed retirement (due to injury etc) then they would stay here as a companion.
the 2 ive been through this situation with would be Squeak, he was my first proper pony, he got colic one day and it was bad, very bad infact, we had the option of takeing him to leahurst and haveing it opperated on. it was a 40min drive to leahurst, the vet gave us a 40% chance that he would survive the operation IF he survived the trip there. we decided that we would rather have him PTS at home then put him through that. it was good that we did, because when we got the autopsy results back he had a burst absess in his gut and had we taken him to have surgery he would have had to been PTS on the operateing table.
the other was with OSCAR, he was a gorgeouse 15.2hh hunter type that my mum had, he had been in a stable fire but after many years of care was physicaly fine capable of doing anything he could do before the fire. mentaly however he was a mess, if you went in his stable you had to go in in pairs (one to distract him and his teeth the other to get the headcollar on), he had a fence round his stable because he would come over the door at you. he associated people with the changeing of bandages which had obviousely been quite painful for him. mum tried everything with this horse, she turned him out in a secluded field with just one other horse, but he would still attack you if you went in and kids used to go into the field to pat the ponies. the crunch came when oscar came over his stable door at one of the stable girls, he picked her up by her ear, dragged her back over the stable door and shook her till her ear ripped off. mum decided at that point it was too risky to keep him around any longer, so he was PTS. he was only about 9 years old but in situations like that what would you have done???
 

Cheko

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My cat has diabetes and has to have injections twice a day but I wouldn't dream of having him put down. It's human nature to be judgemental towards what other people do. If I'd had my first horse put down when I couldn't afford to keep her any longer than perhaps she wouldn't have had to endure what she suffered at the hands of the so-called friend I sold her to and then banned me from ever seeing her again. So, one day when she was out dad and I went round her house to see my old horse and immediately contacted the RSPCA who, thank God took her away from the bitch!!!!
 

Loopslou

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mine will pass over to the care of my stepdaughter and my sister in law. I've provisions made from my pension fund and life insurance to allow them to have the money to continue to care for them.
 

vixtrix ward

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What would nature do?

I have had to make the decision twice and personally speaking I took this view - "If he were out in the wild would the wolves get him?"

I know that might sound a little daft but nature had ways and means of dealing with the sick and the lame, and it was far kinder than what some of us so called caring owners do to them. It is the hardest decision we have to make but we do owe it to them. It is far easier (and more selfish) to shove your head in the sand and hope it will all get better.

Another horse on the yard was left far too late - the owner absolutely adored her and she went for nothing but watching her hobbling in from the yard with her head barely off the floor was horrific. It took another six months before the deed was done and she was in pain every day. That is a classic example of the owner letting a horse down!!

I miss my boys like hell but I know that I did the right thing. I had Henry PTS in 1999 - he was 32 and laminitic - it nearly killed me. (My dad died the next day as well so it turned out to be a rather nasty week all in all). I lost my soul mate Buster 3 years ago - he was 21 but an ex-grade A show jumper so had been put through his paces. I took him out for a walk in hand one day and if I had had a gun I would have shot him there and then - he was so tired of life.

So my advice would be - what would nature do? You know your own horse and it is quite easy to see when they have had enough. I also took photo's of both boys shortly before and it really helps to look back at them when I am feeling guilty - the photo's are a stark reminder of just how old and tired they were.

Vix.
 

eml

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vixtrix ward said:
I have had to make the decision twice and personally speaking I took this view - "If he were out in the wild would the wolves get him?"

This is a far better description of my views than I could have come up with!.

We retire all our horses/ponies from work when they for any reason make it clear that work no longer suits them. They then continue to live their normal life with their own stable being brought in, groomed, rugged up etc as they always have been. When they no longer enjoy this or cannot run around with the herd then it the time to PTS.

I am lucky I can have the luxury of doing this but if I could not I would rather put the old ones down than sell them on as dubious companions. Ask yourself how many genuine companion animals do you know?
 

Loopslou

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I knew the end was nigh when Flash struggled to walk in hand to the corner and was being pushed up the field every night.

I have a friend who's pony has cushings and she just continues to put off the enivitable.
 

alliecatalex

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I agree with what many of you have said. I think you have to think like a horse when dealing with the queston of puting a horse to sleep-"Would i want to live with _____(fill in the blank) if I were a horse?"

I think if the horse in unridable due to old age, you shouldnt just put it to sleep, but give it a choice of retirement and see how well it copes with it. I have a 36 year old mare, and although she is stiff, I can tell she still enjoys living. She eats fine, keeps weight on fine, and loves her carrots and baths!..she also gives the occasional bareback ride to very light kids who I babysit.

But I do volunteer at the zoo, and our oldest pony there is 29, and sometimes I wonder if she should just be PTS. She is greatly loved by everyone, though she needs constint care-she gets grain, timothy pellets and supplements, including weight gainder 24/7 (8-10 coffee cans a day!) And yet she is still ribby. If she is out with the herd she usually gets pushed around by the other horses, so she is usually kept inside or in her own little pasture. Also the only other pony that she got along with was her daughter who was 11. They had a really special and close bond, but sadly her daughter Bonnie died of a virus 5 days ago. :( I know the zoo keeper wont put her to sleep, but sometimes I wonder if that would be the best way to go.

I also work at a vet clinic, and 2 days ago we got a really disturbing call. Someone called asking if their perfectly healthy Jack Russell terrier could be PTS. Ummm "NO!" What were they thinking? The lady said that she was the care taker for three kids whos parents passed away. The lady didnt want to have the jack russell terrier because it was too hyper. (not its fault, its a jack russell-they tend to be hyper dogs) She said that since she was making the kids get ride of it, she told them that it had to be adopted out-but the kids didnt want that, they wanted it to be PTS to go to heaven and live with their parents. We told her that we will not put a healthy animal to sleep-that just isent right!
 

Cheko

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I would like to think I'll be able to keep Falcon to the end of his days (like other people have said about their horses). However, in reality this hardly ever happens. Something occurs to prevent you doing this. As I've said I wont sell Falcon on but hopefully, the Fell Pony Society has a rescue policy. If they do, then he can go to them. What I dont want (as I've said before) is to pass him on to anyone. Nowadays with the attitude of many people towards animals, I (and I am sure others feel the same way) I would be very wary of letting anyone have any of my animals.
 

Purdey33

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Had this conversation recently with someone whilst browsing The Veteran Horse Society website, seeing the many horses which are put on there for rehoming, well into their 20's or 30's and requiring vet care and medication. I know the purpose of their rehoming pages are for rehoming aged horses and many can go on for years healthy and active, but I personally would never pass a horse requiring medical attention on to someone else :(
 

LindaAd

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alliecatalex said:
I
I also work at a vet clinic, and 2 days ago we got a really disturbing call. Someone called asking if their perfectly healthy Jack Russell terrier could be PTS. Ummm "NO!" What were they thinking? The lady said that she was the care taker for three kids whos parents passed away. The lady didnt want to have the jack russell terrier because it was too hyper. (not its fault, its a jack russell-they tend to be hyper dogs) She said that since she was making the kids get ride of it, she told them that it had to be adopted out-but the kids didnt want that, they wanted it to be PTS to go to heaven and live with their parents. We told her that we will not put a healthy animal to sleep-that just isent right!
That is such a sad story! I can imagine that the poor children would rather think of their dog being in heaven with their parents than living with a stranger, but really it would be better if the carer could keep it. Still, I expect she's got her hands full with three orphans ...

Linda
 

mogadoga

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Personally i wouldnt think about putting down my horse because of such things as authritus, it would just mean i would keep him retired and spend my time giving him nice grooming sessions and all my love.
If he was given a good percentage chance of recovery i would also not consider it.
Although if my horse is going to be in ALOT of pain, even on bute etc then i would not wish him that. As it would obviously make him very stressed.

I dunno, ive known alot of people faced with the option and 9/10 times it should really not be considerd at all.

Just my opinion..
 

Loopslou

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I've never sold a horse of my own, I kept Flash until she passed away. I took a risk rescuing Amber from the RSPCA at 7 1/2 months - she could have turned out any way good or bad but I've had her 4 years today and now Meelou will live out the rest of his days with me too.

I think alot of people see horses as a commodity but I don't, call me sensitive but to me a horse is for life.
 

Stella2

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I hear you Lou, but that can't always work for the less experienced rider who finds her/himself over-horsed. Sometimes its better for both rider and horse to go their separate way (bet you can tell that I speak from painful experience).

Once the relationship is established though I agree, my mare will be with me for life and if/when the day comes when I have to make the tough decision for her because she has lost the quality to her life, well, I expect it to be heartbreakingly tough and I hope we are both old by then (as I'm now 46 and she is 7).
 

Mehitabel

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i think it's a little bit naive to say a horse is definitely for life. what if you lose your job/ your partner loses your job? you have to look after an elderly relative 24/7? or you split up with a partner and your finances don't work any more?

we never know what's round the corner, and while i think it's admirable to want to keep your horses, it's not always practical.
should i have kept my 11.2hh first pony who i got when i was 9? what kind of life would he have had doing nothing with me? his next owners had several kids, he was useful and happy for a lot longer than he would have been with me. i wouldn't have been able to afford 2, so couldn't have gotten a bigger one.

we keep horses to ride - not just for the joy of shovelling their sh!t. as much as we love them, they are suited to different things and if our ambitions don't match their strengths, then struggling on will just make everyone miserable.
how many people can find a horse who will be safe enough to be their first horse and still be suitable all the way through their riding career? what if they discover a passion for showjumping, or eventing, and their 14hh hairy cob can't do it?

it's a lovely notion, and if you get your first horse as an adult when you're not goign to grow any more, and you never end up having ambitoins beyond that horse's limits, then marvellous, i'm very happy for you. but plenty of peopel are not in that situation, and it's not helpful making them feel bad about it by getting on a soapbox about how horses are for life.
 

chev

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Hmm. I had a few that were with me for life. Until, that is, our business collapsed after F&M, my Nain became ill and we had to move 200 miles to look after her and we lost our grazing. I sold the lot - had no other choice. I managed to keep May, Lili and Gelfy, and that was sheer luck.

Yes, in an ideal world, we'd keep them all for their long and useful lives; but this is not an ideal world, and we all have to make decisions based on our circumstances at the time.
 

vixtrix ward

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Mehitabel said:
i think it's a little bit naive to say a horse is definitely for life. what if you lose your job/ your partner loses your job? you have to look after an elderly relative 24/7? or you split up with a partner and your finances don't work any more? .
I don't think anyone is having a pop at people selling horses - this started out to help people make that hidous decision about calling the vet/hunt/zoo in.

Although I have had to make the decision twice I have also lost a horse naturally (poorly one night and dead in the stable by morning) and I am also in the process of selling my last one because I simply haven't the time to do the boy justice and the finances are getting a bit tight. So I can see all angles. But horses are really expensive animals and of course some people have to sell their loved ones and some sell because they don't like the horse either (expensive mistake).

As long as they are loved and looked after I don't think a horse much minds where it is living - never forget that they are nomads by nature and would actually move around given the choice!!!
 

m100

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I have just had my 31 year old pony PTS because he had lost too many teeth, couldn't keep the weight on and consequently the vet advised he would not survive the winter.

He retired from work 4 years ago having been on loan to teach several kids to ride and then been hacked by my Mum for a couple of years, always lazy he let us know when he really didn't want to work for a living any more.

2.5 years ago we moved so I could no longer keep him on DIY livery accross the road. The set up in the 'posh' livery yard I found for my rideable boy, was not suitable for my old boy who needed to be mostly kept out due to dust allergies, but given access to to bucket loads of slop as he had lost teeth and couldn't manage hay.

I looked around at lots of alternatives and finally sent him to a private retirement livery in Cornwall. He remained mine, I could go and visit him and I paid a set price for his livery, food, feet trims wormer etc. They looked after him very well and he was happy. I saw him at the end of July and although physically declining he was still enjoying life. He was PTS before the weather changed and he was in any discomfort.
 

Nickynoodles

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Hello all, I am new to this forumn and found this thread whilst searching the internet. I am blessed to be the owner of an 18hh Gelderlander called Bonno. I have had him for nearly five years now and I can honestly say this gentle giant has restored all my confidence in horses (I fractured my skull years ago on an evil arab!!)

When I was first looking for a horse, I scanned every paper every week - one week I accidently picked up a freeads paper from far away and this advert just jumped out at me. I rang (not realising how far away he was!) and the man explained that his horse was too gangly for the dressage he wanted to do, that he had had a very hard life competing at Hickstead in Puissance and he just wanted him to relax - no more competitions. I explained that we lived on a farm and what I wanted - he told me that if we did not go to see him we would regret it.

So, after nagging my husband for a couple of days (non-stop) we went to see him - My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw this giant!!!:eek: I am barely 5ft and he was massive - but the man showed me how kind and gentle he was. I rode him and was amazed at how responsive he was to each and every command I gave.

Well, the rest is a long story, but needless to say, I love this man from the bottom of my heart and its started to break......

Last winter, he went lame for the very first time, I called the vet out and he suggested a months box rest on bute. TBH, it did very little. I struggled all winter to keep his condition, which has always been hard as he is a terribly fussy boy! - but he pulled through albeit with a bit of muscle wastage (which if you know his breed, Gelderlanders look like giraffes with no bum!!);) He has been intermittently lame and every time the vet has said that its an old stifle injury (probably from his jumping days) and that at 20yrs, he would not operate and to just see how it goes.

I am more than happy for him to just retire but that is not so easy.... Now, if he lays down on his bad side, he cannot get up, so I have to constantly watch him, the vet says he is not in pain, but my farrier came to trim the boys (I also have a coloured cob) last week and could not lift his backs up at all - he thinks differently:( The vet said on the last visit that soon we may have to discuss options - I know what that means (crying again!) and would not ever want him to suffer but I cannot bear the thought of not having him in my life.

And, I am afraid I am facing the prospect of what to do with him!!
I know this is a terrible start to joining you all but if anyone can help as they have been there, it would be much appreciated.

Nicky xx
Here is my beloved Bonno with my 13yr old son Reece!!
 

HorseLass

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I TOTALLY understand........ I've posted before about my old arab/tb gelding, and there' just too many 'ailments' now to mention!! My guy is fully retired, on daily bute (has to have two bute a day just before farrier comes now so he doesn't fall on him :eek: - farrier couldn't do his back feet at all for a few weeks, but the bute seems to make a difference). My farrier said the same thing as yours, but TBH I'd be inclined to go with your vet. See what they can do. Oh, and 'equine gold' (I think) glucosamine supplement has made a big difference - he was lame for a good few days every month before that and bute, and he couldn't stand from his bad side too. Have a search for the devils claw preperations and stuff - you never know if there's something that might help out there.

Although it's been a bit of a roller coaster ride over the past eighteen months, and, given I only know he's 25+ :eek: , it's still nice to see him enjoying the grass and the sunshine for a bit longer. I know he'll have to go eventually but I'm hoping I'LL know when that time is.......... my friend tells me that he'll tell me when he's ready to go. Think he enjoys being a field ornament at the moment ;)

You just have to do what's best for them in the end - lets face it, we're not the ones in pain, I guess. I do feel for you, and good luck. Keep us posted x
 
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