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what do? putting him down thursday morning

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  • what do? putting him down thursday morning

    It is with a very heavy heart that my family and I have decided it is best to put down our horse, Mighty Cool. His shivers/stringhalts has just gotten too bad for him to be comfortable anymore and we can't watch him suffer. lasting 26 years with his condition is quite a feat, and he is a very decorated show hunter in our area that many trainers have describes as 'the horse of a lifetime'. the 15 years my family had him was more wonderful than any horse owner could ask for. now we have to let him go to a better place.

    We have 2 other horses in our barn and i don't know the logistics of how to put him down while minimally impacting the other two. I've never been in this situation before. one of the other horses is 4 months pregnant so we need to be especially delicate.

    Any suggestions on how best to complete this task? how to ease the other two into this situation? obviously they will notice him missing, but i dont have any idea how to keep thim less affected by this.

    thanks in advance.

  • #2
    You should let them see him after he passes. They will let you know what they need. They may sniff him, look at him, stand with him or walk away and graze. They just need to know what happened and where he is. I had to euthanize my gelding in April. His companion was present. She was sad but at least she didn't look for him for days.
    "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp


    • #3
      When I put my gelding down, we walked all three horses to the "front" paddock. They got to hang out together for about 30 minutes before the vet arrived. When the vet got there, we gave the old man some sedation and walked him down to a paddock that was out of sight from the other 2 horses. (Sedation was so that he wouldnt get anxious about walking away from them and being alone).

      He was put down and then buried under a tree in the main field where the horses live. The other two horses seemed to handle it well, despite one of them being his best friend for 11 years.

      I would make sure they do not see any of it happen. I do know that some people let the other horses see the body, but I chose not to go that route.
      Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
      White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

      Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


      • #4
        So sorry for your situation.

        When I had my elderly mare put down the other year, we were very concerned about how her equally-elderly BFF would handle it. Elderly BFF's owner walked her out to see my mare's body before the cremation service came to pick her up. I can't say for sure that this helped, but I do know her surviving friend didn't have any problems adjusting, so perhaps it was a good thing to do.


        • #5
          No words of advice, just sorry to hear about your boy.

          The Great Ones leave a hole in your heart that will fill with the good memories over time.
          *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
          Steppin' Out 1988-2004
          Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
          Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


          • #6
            First and foremost let me express my condolences to you and let you know that I'll be thinking of you Thursday AM. ((((hugs)))) Secondly, let me say thank you for taking your other horses into consideration.

            The night we put my guy down, I took him out of his stall and let him say goodbye to his buddy, let them nose each other, etc. I then walked him outside to the front yard where he was out of the other's view, and let him go.

            In the moment I thought that would be the best way to handle it, but I think it can differ significantly based on the the needs of your others.

            In my case, the second horse had been on-edge & downright antisocial until he met and bonded with my guy. They were together for about six months total, but he'd still become quite the safety blanket.. and while I was trying to "protect" the horse that I considered delicate, in hindsight it probably did more harm than good by not letting him see the body. The morning after, my other horse was a basket case. Ran himself crazy in turnout, and kept screaming and (eerily) looking right at the spot where the other had been laying. I did my best to dote on him, occupy him, anything, to no avail, and what it eventually came down to me was me trying to take him for a walk "to distract him" when he just dropped his head and dragged me across the yard, to the spot, where he stood sniffing it for a good 2-3 minutes. He then had one last good fit, which included screaming, spinning, and to my shock 2 good rears before he stopped. His eyes then softened, and he nuzzled me, and followed me away totally deflated. After that he went through about 2 weeks of a mildly depressed state before slowly returning to normal.

            I've read on here from time to time about those who let their other horses sniff the body for closure, and then I've also heard of those who are steadfast that we shouldn't give them human emotions/reactions. While they're all individuals, my experience would without a doubt incline me to allow them to see from here on in.
            Last edited by Losgelassenheit; Aug. 22, 2011, 11:02 AM. Reason: typos


            • #7
              Last year I put my 41 year old pony down. I had her then 19 year old son at the barn. He was his mom's best friend, her protector and her eyes as she was going blind. I did not take him up to see her after she died as the back hoe came immediately and I wish I would have. He screamed for her and was genuinely upset/distressed over it. He ran his teeth along the top of his stall for days. He was not alone he had numerous other friends, but he was so upset that she was gone and he didn't know where she was.

              We've had foals that have died and we've always allowed the mom to be with them until they accept it and it has been a lot easier for them.
              Maria Hayes-Frosty Oak Stables
              Home to All Eyez On Me, 1998 16.2 Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion
              & FrostyOak Hampton 2008 Pure Cleveland Bay Colt


              • #8
                i had to let my old man of 36 go on july 5th. his turnout pal had basically been glued to his hip since they first met, just about 25 years ago. the night that the old boy let me know he was done, the vet came and euthanized him just outside the barn. he was out of view of the two other horses who were in the barn. the next morning, i let both horses sniff the body. his turnout pal, sniffed a few minutes and then started to eat the grass around the body. the other horse wanted nothing to do with him. as it happened, where the old man lay, was in complete sight of both horses, so all morning, they could watch him. not a peep out of turnout pal.
                (and this is the guy who would scream when i brought the old man into the barn for the farrier AND he was in full view of turnout pal). the body removal man showed up and gently did his work. i'm pretty sure since the live horses saw the body leave, they knew where he was going and it was permanent.
                i think it's best if the horses can see the the body, in my opinion, it helps with the grief.
                R.I.P. my sweet boy Tristan
                36 years old, but I was hoping you'd live forever


                • #9
                  no advice but (((hugs))). wishing this great horse a peaceful passing.
                  TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique


                  • #10
                    I know your decision is tough, but it is the kindest gift we can give to our faithful friends. No advice, but sending good thoughts your way.

                    Best of luck.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ptownevt View Post
                      You should let them see him after he passes. They will let you know what they need. They may sniff him, look at him, stand with him or walk away and graze. They just need to know what happened and where he is. I had to euthanize my gelding in April. His companion was present. She was sad but at least she didn't look for him for days.
                      Sorry for your loss...my BFF just lost a mare 3 days post foaling, the foal nursed 1 last ime them disassociated herself from the dying mare. another nursing mare actually whinnied and took that foal under care along w/ her foal for 2 days until nurrse mare arrived.

                      The mare died before vet arrive but they put her body outside so all her campanions could see her and pay respects.
                      Each and every mare came to the fence they all stood in a line sniffed over fence and stayed for like 30 minutes, her buddy stopped whinning for her and fretting. They all walked off and started to graze.
                      The foal never did seem to miss her, took to nurse mare right away.


                      • #12
                        I would agree with the others who said that your two remaining horses should be allowed to walk out and "see" the body of their former barnmate. Us humans probably feel that this is very disturbing to them, but of course horses react with an almost matter-of-fact demeanor... "oh, he's dead. So that's where he went. Ok, no need to worry - he's right here and he's dead." This is how mine have all reacted to the deaths of their pasturemates. I've seen the opposite (our pony's pasturemate TB died of an aortic rupture and we took the pony away so he wouldn't "see" it - mistake - pony fretted for weeks about where his friend had gone. He whinnied and whinnied and looked around for him for the whole two weeks it took me to buy a new horse!)


                        • #13
                          My deepest sympathy on your impending loss, and the heartache before and after.

                          I don't honestly know what the right thing is to do, trust your gut intincts a bit, as only you know your herd well enough to decide.

                          I've had to put down two in the past 6 years. The first was a yearling with a broken leg, because we could not lead him far from the barn, so the two in the barn did get to see him put down, and had to stay in their stalls for several hours while we waited for the backhoe. We did cover his body with a tarp. I don't really recall if there was any calling for him, maybe while we were moving his body. They were subdued for 3 days, but not frantic or looking for him, so perhaps they knew what had happened.

                          With the second, we walked him a bit of a ways away from the barn, but I think the other two horses could still see. And there was an hour wait for the pickup trailer to come get the body, which was not covered. Once again, there was no calling, and I don't know if they called for him as the body was loaded (I stayed in the house, on the advice of the kind gentleman that was taking the body away). Again, neither horse got frantic.

                          I should add, that both of these horses are known to scream their fool heads off if I trail ride their buddy out of sight.
                          There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                          • #14
                            You have my deepest sympathy also. I have two horses that are both 21 years old. I often think about how much longer I have with each of them and one is especially bonded to the other. Hollers when I take his friend out of his paddock. Don't have any advice to offer....just my deepest sympathy on a very tough decision.


                            • #15
                              no advise, just wanted to say that I am sorry


                              • #16
                                If you can, put him down in a fenced area where you can turn them out with his body. Let them explore his body until they lose interest. It can take moments or hours depending on the horse. I've always done this and it really seems to help everyone understand where their buddy went.

                                So sorry about your loss. He sounds like a wonderful friend.