Letter of the week (knowing the right time to say goodbye...)

charlotte+jill!

Scoobs the wonder pony
Anyone else read the letter of the week in horse & hound re not passing the problem of unworkable horses on after the spate of companion horses sold on into ridden work

really struck a nerve here....... i have a 7yr old reaching a years worth of box rest

my mum and I have come to the very sad conclusion that if hes still lame come 3rd shoing in sept it will be time to say good bye to my baby boy. We simply do not have the land or ££ to retire him.

Thank god someone else shares the view that often this can be the best option.

I could never live with myself if he was loaned and sold on etc... hes had a bad start in life and i will be damned if it finishes as such. (When we got him it would take 10mins to get a bridle on he was so head shy, was dangerous to shoe as so scared of men ...... now hes ni on a gem only still couldnt carry a whip.)

would be interested in other people thoughts on the letter from the chief executive of the horse trust.
 

Kc..

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Nov 7, 2007
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Hm, i'm not really sure what my view of this is..
I don't think a horse should be left to suffer, so if it is in pain then it shouldn't be made to carry on in pain. However horses that are retired can still have a good quality of life can they not?

But i don't know, i can see your point though. Taking your boy for example if he ended up in the wrong hands and was ridden lame then that would be horrible for the horse. But on the other hand would he be able to be retired into a nice life and still enjoy a good quality of life?

I'm 50/50 on this one :rolleyes:
 

ellasma

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Jul 5, 2008
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Sorry to hear of your sad situation and really hope your boy comes sound so you don't have to make the decision. Retiring a horse, regardless of age, depends on the horse itself. Really, if you retire a horse they need to be out in a field as much as possible as it's not really much quality of life being stuck in a stable if they're not doing any work. However, some horses simply aren't happy being out in a field in freezing conditions and thick mud. As you know your horse better than anyone, you are the only one that can make the right decision for him. All the best xx
 
Sorry if I have misunderstood this. I simply can not comprehend how someone can sell on what has been sold as a companion as workable just for profit. How do they still sleep at night?

It just leads to heartache for a new happy owner. I have seen this at my own yard. After losing her horse in an accident she bought a replacement that has never been sound (I should imagine this was after the bute wore off).
 
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Skippys Mum

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I'm really sorry if I'm going to upset you here and its certainly not my intention but, when you say you dont have the land or the cash to retire him does this mean he would actually be able to be retired and kept in comfort (NOT permanent box rest though - this is unfair to him) ie in and out as required?

If so, is the issue that you cannot afford another horse AND him. Because if that was the case with mine then my riding days would be over along with him and we would just have to be companions for one another.

Obviously, if he is never going to have any quality of life that is a different set of circumstances and then the best thing would be to take full responsibility for his passing.

I'm really not meaning to snipe as I know how hard this decision is but mine are for life (as long as its a good one) whether or not they are rideable.

I do totally agree with not passing the problem on. That is just avoiding the responsiblity.
 

MagicSix

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Sep 30, 2007
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I do think that you are doing the right thing if you don't have the land or money - a very hard desicion to make but can totally understand your reasonings.

As for the previous poster, have to say I hold the opposite opinion. Luckily I have enough land to retire my mare and have a riding horse but if it had been a choice, I would have to say goodbye to my retired horse. As nice as it is to say one will keep them forever (and if he is 7 then that is a long time) and forego riding, it is possible that the thrill of riding will be missed and you will begin to resent the horse and not want to/be able to give them the effort they desrve. It can also be especially expensive to keep a horse who can't be ridden which, ultimatly, is most peoples point of having a horse.

Same as you, not sniping at anyone, just putting across the other side.
 
This is always a horrible decision to have to take. I agree with Skippy's mum words in that I have never sent away an oldie - mine were allowed to retire and died or were put down in my ownership in due time. I was lucky enough to usually have another one to ride. By the time all of mine were too old for work and riding- So was I!!!!
It must be very difficult for younger riders though - money probably dictates that they are only able to keep one horse and yet they themselves are much too young to give up riding if the horse gets too old.
Permanent loan as a companion - done legally - is really the only option other than putting to sleep. To sell on, is NOT on who knows what happens thereafter.
ILPH won't help - most sanctuaries are full to brimming - it can be a sad situation.
 
C

CER1389

Guest
Just thought I'd point out that the OP is looking for views on the Horse and Hound letter, not on her own circumstances. It is an interesting topic thats worth discussing, but perhaps not pointing fingers?

I find it quite interestign as I might be about to be in the same situation. I ride a horse who may or may not come good, and it will be interesting to find out how the owner plays the situation.

Please try and keep this topic general though, I know no ones trying deliberatley to point fingers, but obviously it is a sensitive topic :)
 

blushin_bex

Beckyand Monty
Feb 20, 2007
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I was sold a horse who I had vetted and passed however only had 2 weeks sound with me, he turned out to have navicular and I am pretty certain he would of been lame previously as he couldn't get sound with me. Don't know how the lady could of sold on. Am still waiting to bump into her till this day (nearly 2 yrs on and she doesn't live far) and will not have kind words to say to her- and v sadly he had to be put down as he wouldn't stay sound resting in the field- Never persued her as I did not want her to have him back. spoilt and loved continiously till his last moments - I feel like I should go blow up some big pics of him and decorate her yard with nasty sayings from him to her- absolutely horrible I knowbut how can they do it? (I am really not that nasty but just to pass your problems onto someone else is wrong, would love to go nose and see if she has another horse nowadays!)
 

qhranger

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May 15, 2008
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RE: knowing the right time to say good-bye

I think heres where the difference between riders and horsepeople comes into play. I dont consider myself the greatest rider in the world but horses to me are so much more than that. My horse had to be euthanized in April and it was only because myself and his vet could no longer find a way to keep him comfortable. I had not ridden him since August but would have never put him to sleep as long as he continued to have some quality of life. The bond you can develope on the ground with your horse is even closer than on his back and it will amaze people if you get that. Myself and my horse grew very close when he was sick, we would go for walks together (no halter, no lead). When we would stop he would stand next to me and lay his head over my shoulder. I would not give up what we became for any amount of riding!! I consider myself first and foremost a horseperson and my horses comfort and happiness is always first. When I bought my last horse I made a long term committment. I had to give up alot (time and money ).But despite their large size and strenght they are totally dependant on us and we owe them something for their trust and willingness. BTW I am practical when need be and am not a total softie, but there really is alot that you both could do together and maybe you should try things on the ground before you make a decision.( SORRY SO LONG!!)
 

Skippys Mum

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One last comment from me to Charlotte+Jill - well done for thinking things right through and realising that its YOU who has to make a very hard decision.

Whatever it ends up being (and everything I have is crossed for you that he will get better), you are doing the right thing by making the decision yourself and not passing the buck.
 

poo-picker

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Mar 18, 2008
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this brings back stark memories for me as years ago my dutch warmblood reared up after a child walked round the corner cracking her lunging whip and caught him in his face (he had never been a spooky horse) and lost his balance and went over backwards and crushed the nerves in his spine. i was told he would never be ridden again but would be fine as a companion so after nearly 6 mths at liverpool (for which my insurance company wriggled out of paying) i resigned myself to the fact that my riding days were over as at the time i couldnt afford another horse. he was only 5yrs old and had been broken 3 mths!!!! it wasnt really a hard decision for me as he was a breach birth and ruptured his mum on the way out and she was put down so i hand reared him. he was my horse in a million..... completely and utterly irreplaceable....and then i found my little black colt jerry!! my point being is that i would sacrifice my riding in a heartbeat so long as my horse wasnt in pain. there is plenty you can do with a horse that cant be ridden to keep his mind active and body fit.
 

conkers

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Jan 24, 2007
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I think that this is a very emotive issue. And it gets more and more difficult the younger the horse is.
In an ideal world, we would all have enough land and funds to be able to retire the horse. However, the reality of life is that very few of us have this luxury.

Another option would be to find a home for your horse as a companion. If you could find someone that you could trust to look after your horse and keep him for the remainder of his days, that would be ideal.
Unfortunately, as the letter in H&H states, good companion homes are few and far between and there is the possibility of unscrupulous individuals either neglecting or even selling on your horse for profit.

So, the reality for most people in this situation is that they either give up their riding ambitions to look after the horse for the remainder of its life - and this could be 20 years or more. Or they have to make a decision - sell the horse on to what could be an uncertain future, or PTS.

Until this happens to me (and I sincerely hope that I am never in this position) I don't really know what I would do. I don't like the thought of having an otherwise healthy horse put down, but I am not sure that I am ready to give up riding. I would love to think I could find a companion home but would I be able to find someone I could trust to look after my horse?
I wouldn't want to become resentful looking after a horse who I couldn't ride - it wouldn't be fair.

On the whole, I think that I would lean towards putting the horse to sleep as I think that this would be the most realistic answer for my circumstances.
But I do applaud those who feel that they could give up riding to look after their horse.
 

BIrish

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Nov 13, 2007
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my mum and I have come to the very sad conclusion that if hes still lame come 3rd shoing in sept it will be time to say good bye to my baby boy. We simply do not have the land or ££ to retire him.

I would do the same in your position - it would break my heart but I would. Well done for being so brave and mindful of his future.. (although I am crossing fingers for an improvement for you & him!)

I am luckily in a position with grazing / stabling to be able to keep a field ornament but I wouldn't be able, financially, to justify keeping a field ornament that needed expensive extra care (I'm talking shoeing/medication etc) and so would do the same.. G would have finally retired and although he would have had to have been shod all round, rugged and fed (a lot!) as a retiree he wasn't in need of specialist shoeing or medication etc etc..

A friend has a retiree who has EMD and the medication he is on (as a field ornament) is horrifically expensive. She pays for it all and while I admire her for her guts I am sad for the way her life is turning.. She can't afford a riding horse while he is still with her and is running up some scary debt.. She has split up with her OH a few times over £££ and works 2 jobs (1 full time & 1 part time) so barely sees horse/OH/friends etc and is unhappy. If he was mine - I would spoil him rotten for a month then have him PTS.

It's hard but sometimes neccessary. And the horse doesn't know he's missing out or anything - he's dead.
 

Joyscarer

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Dec 30, 2006
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I think this is so difficult.

I bought Joy because I liked her and have since grown to love her. The riding for me is still secondary as it is horses I really love rather than the riding aspect.

If I couldn't ride Joy I would keep her all the time I could financially manage. I would not get rid just to be able to get another one I could ride. If I had to get rid it would be because I couldn't afford her, not that I couldn't afford to get another one.

I think the trouble comes when extra costs aren't involved in the horses condition. There is little sign that the horse cant be ridden and some unscrupulous people would try to seel on companions to be rid and make a bit back.

Wierdly I think that these are the case that are more likely to being ridden again and where more care needs to be taken about the horses future.

If you have a horse needing remedial shoeing and a ton of drugs then it is obvious something is wrong and others are less like to take that horse on with a prospect of riding.
 
Y

Yann

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There are quite a few horses about that remedial shoeing failed had failed were facing the end and in one last throw of the dice the owners decided to take them down the barefoot route. I won't pretend that it would work any miracles, but some of the recovery stories haven't been far short of that. If you're facing what I think you are then I would at least try and get hold of a competent and experienced trimmer and give it a try. They will be the first to tell you if there really isn't any hope.

It can and does work, but remedial shoeing tends to address the symptoms rather than the causes of issues.
 

Trewsers

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I am lucky as ours have homes for life and no matter if they end up just being field ornaments - they'll always be ok with us. I feel very sorry for anybody who hasn't got this option - as I totally understand that not everybody has the land or the money to do that. Also, people see horses differently from me - I guess you could say I fall into the "fluffy" category to a point, they aren't just there to be worked - they are pets too and as such I don't expect a great deal from them.
I might have misunderstood the original post - but the letter was saying that horses that are coming to retirement shouldn't be sold on - as they can end up being ridden again? I don't think thats right either - when they are retired they should stay so - and unfortunately I guess the only way to guarantee that is to have them pts? (Hope I've not got the wrong end of the stick on this one).
 

Mehitabel

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I think the trouble comes when extra costs aren't involved in the horses condition. There is little sign that the horse cant be ridden and some unscrupulous people would try to seel on companions to be rid and make a bit back.
Wierdly I think that these are the case that are more likely to being ridden again and where more care needs to be taken about the horses future.

exactly - a horse which is visibly lame is not going to sell - but one with 'hidden' issues can be drugged or walloped into compliance for long enough to get it sold.

FWIW, i have no issues at all with people putting to sleep horses which are not rideable, even if it is to get one they can ride. the horse doesn't think 'i'm only 8, i could have another 20 years of sitting in a field' - they live in the present, they have no concept of the future at all. they care that they are happy and not hungry *right now* and if their 'right now' is folowed by an injection or a bullet then they know no different.

there are far more companion horses than there are scrupulous homes - i know i've said it before, but the horses who ended up in amersham were not healthy and fit riding horses priced to sell in the market.

nobody spends 4 figures on a horse to stick it in a shed and not feed it - they take the ones free to a good homes, the companion only, the retired ones looking for somewhere because their owner can't be bothered to take care of them or make the final decision.

i firmly believe that every one of those horses taken out of amersham would have been better off PTS rather than get into jamie grey's hands and having to go through what they did. yes, many have been rehabbed and have a life ahead of them, but every single one was sold or given to him by someone and you can bet he didn't pay a lot for any of them.

as fugly says on her blog all the time - if you (generic you, not the OP) don't want to assure the future of the horse who has given you service while it was able, why do you think anyone else will?

once you PTS, you know the horse is safe and not in pain. there is no way to know that if you sell it or give it away.
 

*millie*

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In a way, i agree with what you're saying about not wanting the horse to be passed on, but then i also think that the horse could be perfectly happy living as a companion to someones horses, it's about finding the right person to have him.
Knowing the right time to say goodbye must be hard. My friend had a gelding who was really old and not well. She went through loads with the vet etc and they never really worked out what it was. In the end, she retired him and he went to be a companion at the farm his ex owner (who'd had him from 8 months-14years) owned. He wasn't happy and still unwell, so 2 months later he was PTS. Personally, i think that i would have had the horse PTS before he went to be a companion.

I'm lucky, if my horse ever became unrideable and could live out as a companion, we have 10 acres of land where he could live out the rest of his days. Not everyone has an option like this, and only the owner knows what the right decision for their horse would be.
 

charlotte+jill!

Scoobs the wonder pony
I would do the same in your position - it would break my heart but I would. Well done for being so brave and mindful of his future.. (although I am crossing fingers for an improvement for you & him!)

I am luckily in a position with grazing / stabling to be able to keep a field ornament but I wouldn't be able, financially, to justify keeping a field ornament that needed expensive extra care (I'm talking shoeing/medication etc) and so would do the same.. G would have finally retired and although he would have had to have been shod all round, rugged and fed (a lot!) as a retiree he wasn't in need of specialist shoeing or medication etc etc..

A friend has a retiree who has EMD and the medication he is on (as a field ornament) is horrifically expensive. She pays for it all and while I admire her for her guts I am sad for the way her life is turning.. She can't afford a riding horse while he is still with her and is running up some scary debt.. She has split up with her OH a few times over £££ and works 2 jobs (1 full time & 1 part time) so barely sees horse/OH/friends etc and is unhappy. If he was mine - I would spoil him rotten for a month then have him PTS.

It's hard but sometimes neccessary. And the horse doesn't know he's missing out or anything - he's dead.

You sumed up my views very well thanks BI .... i have my pony scooby doo (most ppl know him) hes a complete dude but has a massive sidebone and cant really event anymore (due to unsurtantly on ground condistions etc...) but awhile ago we decided he would be our horse for life. He'll stay and harras my mum into her old age :p. He needs no extra feeding .... has special shoes my farrier makes for no extra charge and is no hassel.

But dennis, well if he doesnt get any sounder to be feild sound would need extra medication be it bute etc... now hes 7 that could be another 20+ years of it ....... sorry thats just very ££ for one and secondly the heath implications of long term bute use dont sit well with me at all. Plus we wouldnt have the land or company for him to be out 24/7 and would be so unfair to stable an unexerciseable horse (fields get really waterlogged in winter.... scooby cant be out in heat in summer he burns and newt cant go out with geldings)


There are quite a few horses about that remedial shoeing failed had failed were facing the end and in one last throw of the dice the owners decided to take them down the barefoot route. I won't pretend that it would work any miracles, but some of the recovery stories haven't been far short of that. If you're facing what I think you are then I would at least try and get hold of a competent and experienced trimmer and give it a try. They will be the first to tell you if there really isn't any hope.

It can and does work, but remedial shoeing tends to address the symptoms rather than the causes of issues.

hes had remedial shoing and its working for the bone issue .... ligement only needs time sadly and he cant go unshod in front we tried during the boxrest. (he bled into the white lines and was bruised and crippled, i know it gets worse with taking off shoes before it gets better but hes in pain already shoing works for him im not putting more stress on his body. :) )
 
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