Longtime lurker here...I've recently had to put my heart horse up for sale after thinking that he was going to be mine until the end, but unfortunately, life doesn't seem to want that to happen for me.
That being said, I want as many things as possible to remember him by. I'm looking for inexpensive and creative options...I'm obviously going to keep his halter, his stuff, pictures, etc. but is there anything different and special that others have done in this situation?
I had to sell my first horse when I went to college. I took some mane and tail hair. I would also suggest getting some good pictures of the two of you together- so often the picture is just of our animal which does not show the bond between the two of you. Best of luck. It was very sad for me to have to give up my horse.
I'd also suggest the tail hair bracelets. Another friend kept a set of shoes, which IIRC she spray painted silver, and put into a shadow box with a ribbon and a photo from a big show they went to. I've seen others with halters (or halter plates) as well.
********** We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
When my heart horse was for sale because I was starting college I took lots of pictures and combined them with some I already had and made a scrapbook. This was before scrapbooks were as popular, so I used a lot of clippings from magazines and printed out quotes and poems, including some I had written. After he was gone I would take it out every once in a while and it was nice to have. It still sits in the night stand next to my bed over 11 years later.
You never know what will happen in the future and finding him the best home you can is all you can do. My heart horse came back to me 9 years later after a random connection reunited us and he really needed me. I doctored him up and he is still everything he was before, just a bit older.
This takes a bit of creativity and some computer skillz, but a nice way to keep a memory of your horse that costs zero dollars is to make a nice photo/video montage.
Some people might find it cheesy (it's a little bit cheesy), but after a bit of practice and some fooling around on iMovie, I put a little something together of my horse and I over the last few years: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBkNM6gCOS0
I still have this horse, but she's kinda one of those ones that is not ever going to be marketed for sale, but is always a little bit for sale for the right price/home. I wanted to have all my ducks in a row and sort of prepare in case that happens out of the blue.
Take a picture sitting on top of your horse so you see what you would when mounted.
I know it sounds silly, but it's been 3 years since I lost a very special horse I had for 10 years. I've probably sat on hundreds of horses over the years, but let me say...those are the 2 ears I miss seeing the most.
If you can get some tail hair -- I just had several horsehair pots made from my heart horse's tail. She passed away in June. They came out beautifully and are a lovely item that I can display in the house.
From my first pony, I had a shadow box made from pictures of a show we did and a photoshoot we had done. And I had a horse hair bracelet made. The bracelet was lost on a trip to Dallas, but I still have the shadow box in my closet.
You can also get one of those name plate belts. You can get one with with his name on the back and spaces for future horses on either side. Then you can keep his memory sacred or keep him as a part of your "horse history" if/when you get horses in the future.
I have had two belts made this way and I cherish both of them.
If you are looking for something more traditional, she also offers that through her neighboring site and does custom sculptures or paintings: http://www.petpawspectives.com/ (Warning - website takes a little to load)
She has done several sculptures for me and they are absolutely amazing - the prices are also very reasonable considering what you get!
When I had to very sadly and somewhat prematurely retire my horse (my first horse!), I put together a "Retirement Book" full of pictures and captions. I included several blank pages at the back. Then, I had a "Retirement Party" for him at the barn and had people sign the book. Over the next several months, I kept the book with me and had others who had known him in some way or another sign it as well (vet, farrier, etc). This was several years ago -- I still enjoy re-reading what people wrote, and I know that when he has crossed the bridge, I will cherish the words even more.