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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 21, 2009
    Location
    Southern California
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    460

    Default Damned if I do, damned if I don't

    Here is the situation. 23 yr old Arab mare, former racehorse. Has been manageably lame for 2 years, getting worse. She is on joint supplements and gets bute for riding. We just trail ride, 3 hrs over mild trails when she is feeling good, less than an hour when she isn't doing as well. Weaves like crazy in her stall, pasture is not an option, she would get the crap beat out of her. I do pay for daily turnout. Had x-rays done last week to check her joints, mild grade 2 arthritis. A small osteocyte on her right pastern joint, small growth on the tip of the coffin bone. Excellent tendons and ligaments, especially for her history. She is a rather old 23, has had several things happen to her in the past (before I owned her) that aged her.

    I can only afford one horse at a time. Am feeling immense frustration at the lack of riding time, as she seems sore more often than not. Vet says bute and ride, the x-rays don't indicate that it hurts her. My former very forward horse, that had to be held back, is now a 'kick to go' horse. No indications of anything else going on within her. She maintains her weight quite easily. Legend or Adequan injections aren't within my budget. She does okay on the powdered supplements, but needs bute to ride.

    Something I'm considering doing is pulling her off supplements to see how sore she really is. Although at the vet's she trotted out on a rock parking area just fine.

    I miss riding with my friends, miss the great trails we used to ride, big mountains, which are pretty much all we have around us. My girl is not up to that kind of riding. Rehoming is not an option. With her weaving and issues, she would end up in a bad spot.

    At this point my options are tough it out until she goes naturally, which at this point she is likely to live quite a while, or euthanize her and move on. Although the decision is ultimately mine, just thought I would put it out here for opinions and maybe suggestions.

    Cookies for anyone reading this far!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    17,525

    Default

    I'm one of those people who do not think euthanasia is a bad word.

    You could try putting the word out to lease her out as a companion horse to a person who only has one horse. But there are hitches to that in that she may be short changed on the care she needs and you will have to keep a close eye on her.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 11, 2009
    Location
    Dairyville USA
    Posts
    2,979

    Default

    Sent you a pm. My apologies if I sent it twice, I had to refresh in the middle of sending it.
    Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
    Sam: A job? Does it pay?
    Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
    Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    19,523

    Default

    I agree that euthanasia is not a bad word. Or a bad choice.

    I would be quite hesitant to let her out of my control. Issues and old generally doesn't equal a good place. It CAN, but man...talk about the deck stacked against you.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2002
    Location
    I'm sorry..., what?
    Posts
    311

    Default

    I for one aplaud you for thinking about this issue as your responsibility. I cannot tell you how many e-mails I have read that go something along the lines of "I have had Dobbin for 10 years and now he has (fill in the name of a physical problem that prevents a horse from being ridden) and I cannot afford to keep him and the horse I am currently riding (or would like to ride), so I would like to know if I can donate him to (fill in name of any number of rescue groups).

    These folks all get quite upset when told that they need to consider euthanasia.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    May. 9, 2008
    Posts
    2,887

    Default

    I am going to voice the unpopular statement here but, well, here it goes.

    I am reading your post and it sounds like you care about this horse but you want to ride more. And everyone is saying Euthanize.

    What the hell is wrong with everyone??!?!?

    To me nothing sounds more selfish and more wrong than to suggest euthanasia to suit our personal wants. "Euthanize and move on..." How absolutely appalling!!!

    Think of this in dog terms.

    Feefie is older and doesn't want to jog with me anymore, but she is happy and ok hanging out at home. And everyone says "Euthanize her and get a puppy". The outrage would be unbelievable! Why is it different for horses?

    What happened to being responsible for the animals we take into our lives? I am not reading anything here about this horse having a life threatening illness, but rather a horse that needs to be retired and enjoyed from the ground. My Paco is Grade 2 after vetting, and he is a happy, lovable 20 year old who will have a home here for life. I never rode him once either. Does it make me sad to know that, absolutely. But it isn't about me, it's about him.

    Horses are not disposable to suit our needs. If the horse is in pain, suffering and unhappy in its life...sure, be kind and help them go but I get really PO'd when I hear stuff like this. Maybe it is because I see so many of these horses in my daily life. Maybe things like this just tick me off. Maybe I am cut from a different cloth than most horsepeople, but I don't know how anyone can hold their horse while they are being put down knowing full well the reason they are doing it is for their own need to ride for pleasure.

    Sorry for the rant, perhaps I am overly sensitive right now.
    I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

    Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    NorthEast
    Posts
    25,364

    Default

    While I don't agree that horses are disposable...I also don't agree that euthanizing an older horse with comfort issues is disposing of them either.
    Comparing a dog to a horse doesn't work...if you hadn't noticed the OP lives in SoCal. Which means most likely boarding. Which also means the board is probably as much as the average mortgage elsewhere in the country and that the arthritic horse has a 12x24 stall/turnout combo. Not really conducive to keeping a horse for years at close to $1000 per month for cheap board there and small turnouts aren't great for arthritic older horses.
    There's an enormous difference in horse keeping between someone boarding in SoCal and someone with a farm in upstate NY. Hard to impose standards for such very different locations.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May. 9, 2008
    Posts
    2,887

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
    While I don't agree that horses are disposable...I also don't agree that euthanizing an older horse with comfort issues is disposing of them either.
    Comparing a dog to a horse doesn't work...if you hadn't noticed the OP lives in SoCal. Which means most likely boarding. Which also means the board is probably as much as the average mortgage elsewhere in the country and that the arthritic horse has a 12x24 stall/turnout combo. Not really conducive to keeping a horse for years at close to $1000 per month for cheap board there and small turnouts aren't great for arthritic older horses.
    There's an enormous difference in horse keeping between someone boarding in SoCal and someone with a farm in upstate NY. Hard to impose standards for such very different locations.
    I know Misty, I really do...Like I said, I am very sensitive right now.

    I know it doesn't apply in all situations but it still should give someone pause when they are considering euthanasia to suit their needs...not the horses. And I see more and more that people just throw out the advice to euthanize like it is a walk in the park.
    I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

    Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2006
    Location
    At the back of the line
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    4,016

    Default

    Ive never been blesse d with an older horse, but to me these are the key words

    Has been manageably lame for 2 years, getting worse

    Is she happy in the stall?

    Weaves like crazy in her stall, pasture is not an option, she would get the crap beat out of her.

    Is the horse happy where she is? Probably not. Cant get out to move around, cant be a horse even if retired. If Aunt Edna could put her on a farm in Kansas fine n dandy--let her. But I wouldnt blame anyone for putting a horse down in this shape. Its not like she cant win WEG--shes lame and somewhat miserable.

    Good luck OP. Can you move to upstate NY?
    “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2008
    Posts
    1,418

    Default

    I know you said she would get the 'crap beat out of her in pasture' but have you considered a true retirement farm? You may have to ship across the country (I'm not familiar with your area) but it would probably be a lot cheaper for you in the long run (in terms of board compared to your area) and she would have a great life at many of these reputable retirement farms.

    I don't know..I guess I'm in the camp that if they're happy not being ridden it seems kind of rushed to put them down simply b/c your specific area may not be the best. There are other options that are worth exploring before making that very final decision.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 9, 2008
    Posts
    2,887

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDeere View Post

    Good luck OP. Can you move to upstate NY?
    I'm full JohnDeere And only two out of five here are can be ridden, and of those two, one of them only by me I'm doing my part to keep the seniors alive and kicking
    I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

    Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 10, 2006
    Posts
    7,406

    Default

    It is not the easiest situation to be in. Especially for a horse that doesn't love to be stalled, and would not do well in pasture.

    Explore your options though.

    My horse had spent his life in boarding barns, and in a stall, and never fared well in pasture. He often got beat up and run off of the hay/water. Now he is at a small private farm and lives with 4 other horses that are all essentially retired. They have loads of pasture, it is a quiet group, and for the most part, everyone gets along. He comes in at night but spends about 14 hours outside each day. I pay a very small fee, buy my own feed and bedding, and help the BOs out with chores here and there. It has worked out well.

    Then again, I am also in NY, and in an area that is incredibly cheap in comparison to the rest of the state and even the country. I'm at the point where I am considering, and financially able, to take on a second horse.

    I'd say give your girl a shot at retirement, even if it means you have to suck it up and borrow rides for awhile. I'm not opposed to euthanasia when it comes to an animal that is uncomfortable or in pain, but sounds like she could have a shot at retiring comfortably if the right situation is found.

    Put a timeframe on it... maybe 6 months or a year? See how she does. Then re-evaluate.
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.



  13. #13
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    Sep. 13, 2006
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by equineartworks View Post
    I'm full JohnDeere And only two out of five here are can be ridden, and of those two, one of them only by me I'm doing my part to keep the seniors alive and kicking
    I meant the area not your speicific slice of heaven...
    “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
    Location
    Dutchess County, New York
    Posts
    4,661

    Default

    I am not opposed to euthanasia either if a person gets in a bind and is unable to continue to own their horse, but that horse isn't going to find another good home. Or, of course, if the horse is in too much pain to be happy and content.

    But I'm with FlashGordon and EquineArtWorks, I am pretty much against killing a horse because even though it can be retired and the owner can afford to retire it, the owner would rather have a different horse to ride.

    However, keeping that horse in Southern California doesn't sound like the best plan, either for the horse (little turnout) or for the owner ($$$). I second Flash's idea of finding a retirement home for the horse. Onthebit runs one in Tennessee (Paradigm Farms) that is very highly regarded, and there are others. I also agree, reevaluate in six months to a year to see if the horse is comfortable.

    That way, you may get the best of both worlds -- a happy retirement for your horse, after all she's given you, and the funds to support a sounder horse for you to ride now.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 27, 2007
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    Behind the Orange Curtain
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    9,694

    Default

    How about pasture board for her and another horse? There are a few places where pasture board can be had for less than half the price of regular board, if you're willing to have her further away.

    I really think pasture board is easier on the joints too, rather than the frequent activity/inactivity cycles of the usual So Cal board situation.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 2, 2006
    Location
    Dallas, NC
    Posts
    2,351

    Default

    Anyone around you that would by chance have a free lease for you? Lots of people have too many horses and not enough time to ride them all and would love for someone to be able to ride some of their horses.
    I want a signature but I have nothing original to say except: "STHU and RIDE!!!

    Wonderful COTHER's I've met: belleellis, stefffic, snkstacres and janedoe726.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar. 21, 2009
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    460

    Default

    Thank you all for your replies, I truly appreciate it.

    Equineartworks, thank you for your perspective. Not to worry, I'm not running around with a big pink shot in my pocket. I'm simply looking for input from experienced horsepeople, which was received.

    Board is $350, plus shoes @ $95, fronts only which she needs due to the weaving. $60 to $90 for supplement feeding/blanketing when appropriate/turnout. $100 for supplement purchase. Miscellaneous purchases, monthly expenses of around $500. Pasture in my area, which is north of, but not part of, LA is just dry lot. If you find irrigated pasture, it is often more than a box stall and reserved for show horses. Seriously.

    Although the vet didn't see it, I sense something missing from my girl that used to be there. Call it the spark, the playful spirit. She only looks reallly happy when carrots appear.

    I'm not discounting retirement farms, but my concern is our climate is a very mild Mediterranean one. Arthritis and colder/wetter weather is not a good mix. Combined with her general anxiousness over new situations, it takes her six to eight weeks to adjust to new boarding barns, I'm concerned with her reaction and not being there to help her adjust.

    Today we are going to go for a walk and talk, see what she says to me. More than anything, I want to do the right thing by her. Even if we spend the rest of her life with me on the ground.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    NorthEast
    Posts
    25,364

    Default

    If considering retirement or pasture board in a new location please be aware that's it's definitely caveat emptor on that. Not uncommon at all to see retirement farms on the news getting their animals confiscated. If an owner cannot check on a retired or pasture boarded horse somewhere, I'd not suggest that as an option. Pasture board also requires some care by the owner most of the time.
    Frankly if the horse isn't overly comfy and is unhappy...then the owner wouldn't be considered "disposing" the horse to euthanize it. Would many of us do the same? Maybe, maybe not. But that decision is up to the owner. And a chemical euthanization by a licensed vet is by far not a bad thing. The horse isn't going to pine for lush grass pastures in the perfect retirement situation. The horse isn't going to know nor care. It's the humans who attribute human feelings onto situations like these.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul. 27, 2007
    Location
    Behind the Orange Curtain
    Posts
    9,694

    Default

    What about even going out to the Norco area?

    She probably wouldn't weave if she was at pasture with other horses, might be able to go barefoot (plus I bet shoing is cheaper in Norco). Might need fewer supplements.

    Can't believe how cheap your board is, though

    I wish I could remember the name of the place everyone sends their horses to. If Coreene checks this thread, she would remember. Never seen it but people rave about it



  20. #20
    Join Date
    May. 2, 2003
    Location
    Celina, TX
    Posts
    2,440

    Default

    JustTrails....that situation doesn't sound the best for your mare. Are there any barns in the area that have a better turnout situation? I have been managing a "lame" horse for the last 10 years. He is navicular and with the right shoeing and exercise plan, he has been servicably sound WTC and occasionally I let him do a couple little jumps because it makes him feel like a bad @ss But when he was not turned out 8 hours plus per day, I had a much harder time keeping him sound. I don't think (for the last 4 years at least) that navicular is his only problem. He is a OTTQH and I think that at 24 years old, he has developed some arthritic changes. I think that turnout is one of the best things in the world for an older horse with lameness issues. Consider moving her to a place with more area to turnout that maybe has quieter groups than what is at her barn now. It took some experimenting to find the perfect turnout companions for my guy too since he is a big weenie and tended to get picked on non-stop.



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