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Putting a Horse Down for Financial Reasons??

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  • #21
    Support and Hugs!

    I am in the situation with two retirees who both have lameness issues. They made through this winter with some TLC but I know that each winter is going to get harder and harder. Summer heat will also stress them. But for right now they are enjoying spring and look pretty darn good. But either could deteriorate quickly.

    We have always wanted to do the best for our animal family and I would far rather make a decision 'too soon' rather than 'too late'. And we have also decided to make the decision for both of them.....they are buddies and are both pretty much at the same place.

    So we haven't made the decision yet but we will sometime between now and fall. We have decided we won't take then into another winter and will see how they handle summer.

    You have nothing but support and hugs from me as it is painful, confusing and hard to make these final decisions.
    m

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    • #22
      You have to look at in terms of what good can you do for him if something should happen to YOU - for an example you're unemployed and probably not able to really take care of your own health or you may be eating a lot of ramen in order to feed him. You can't let taking care of him put you out on the street. I have a 27 year old at home and I would most certainly pick a wonderful happy day to euth him rather than put myself into financial straits paying for his meds and care, and then perhaps not being able to afford that, and having him slowly starve or suffer. I would hope that a great job comes you all's way and this becomes a non-issue, but I would be the last person to judge if you choose to euth.
      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
      Incredible Invisible

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      • #23
        As someone who runs a rescue that has a Sanctuary branch, I would not only support your decision but applaud it. He's the kind of horse that is only really suitable for the Sanctuary program ... which as you can imagine, is full with a waiting list, and someone literally has to die to open up a spot. It breaks our hearts that we can't offer more to the older horses that have been so good for people when they need to be rehomed for health or financial reasons, and often wonder why more people don't make the choice to euthanize their friend instead. It's a hard, hard choice, I know, we struggle with it ourselves with the long term ones, but it's the best thing we can do for them when the time comes. Let him go peacefully with the people he knows and loves and in a place he is familiar with, and you give him a dignified end to a good life with no uncertainties about the potential remaining few years of his life.

        So my sympathies that you are in this position, but my hats off to you to being so caring and considerate.
        If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
        ~ Maya Angelou

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        • #24
          Have you tried to find someone willing to take him as a companion animal? or looked for a cheaper facility to keep him at?

          when I thought of the chance of horse getting into bad hands, not being well cared for after being given away
          this line of thinking is, in my opinion, not valid. There's always a chance something bad could happen, but most likely it won't, and doing something as drastic as killing your horse because of vague maybes and what-if's is just wrong.

          If you can't find a home, and can't take care of him any more yourself, then yes, the responsible thing to do is euth. He's a lame old horse, after all. If he's only pasture-sound he isn't healthy.

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          • #25
            You have my support in putting him down (however terribly difficult it maybe for you! – hugs, what a hard situation to be in). When the 2008 recession hit – I was faced with a 50% pay cut, and hubby was laid off – things looked bleak, and I seriously doubted I could keep my beloved horse. Lucky for me, things slowly improved – but I did not have the additional family burdens, and my horse was young and healthy. Anyway, I added that to let you know I have been on that edge, it’s not fun at all.

            I would be less supportive of trying to find a rescue etc. Rescues are all bursting at the seams right now, and at 25, your horse has lived a long life. I would spare the rescue space for a young and sound horse – with a long future ahead of it. And same for “re-homing” – I do not think there are that many people out there, that you could TOTALLY trust, who will want the burden of an older, lame horse.

            Really, if you cannot continue to provide for his care, euthanasia is the only way you can be certain that he will not suffer from neglect in the future.
            APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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            • #26
              Originally posted by wendy View Post

              this line of thinking is, in my opinion, not valid. There's always a chance something bad could happen, but most likely it won't, and doing something as drastic as killing your horse because of vague maybes and what-if's is just wrong.
              I have personally witnessed what has happened to horses that were "sent off to pasture" or given away in their old age....and the neglect that resulted.

              Keeping a horse healthy into their old age is work, and cost $$. They need their teeth done often, they need additional calories, they need appropriate herds.

              And I have seen people toss "old horses" out to pasture for their "retirement" - without proper care. And these old horses slowly wasted away, suffered from exposure, and neglect, and died (or were put down) after their body just could not take it any more.

              Unfortunately, I do not know of any one willing to shoulder the cost of caring for an old lame horse without any compensation.

              Maybe you do? - and could point the OP to these excellent homes?
              APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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              • #27
                Originally posted by Appsolute View Post
                I have personally witnessed what has happened to horses that were "sent off to pasture" or given away in their old age....and the neglect that resulted.

                Keeping a horse healthy into their old age is work, and cost $$. They need their teeth done often, they need additional calories, they need appropriate herds.

                And I have seen people toss "old horses" out to pasture for their "retirement" - without proper care. And these old horses slowly wasted away, suffered from exposure, and neglect, and died (or were put down) after their body just could not take it any more.

                Unfortunately, I do not know of any one willing to shoulder the cost of caring for an old lame horse without any compensation.

                Maybe you do? - and could point the OP to these excellent homes?
                Just wanted to mention that there are alternatives to just "tossing them out to pasture." There are today many dedicated retirement farms where the horses are managed less intensely (and expensively!) than they would be boarded in a full-service barn, but where they can flourish under excellent senior-specific care and their needs attended to. These places often charge up to 2/3 less than the going rate for full-service board in the surrounding area. Maybe there's one near you!

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                • #28
                  I am glad to see more people in support of euthanizing rather than against. I truly believe that is the best option in your situation. An unfortunate decision to have to make, but when we take on animals, we need to be responsible for them till the bitter end.

                  I wish you the best as you make this heavy decision...

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    I am in the same situation. I have a 35 yr old mare and a 20 yr old gelding, both happy and healthy but not really rehomeable. I have owned them almost all their lives (mare and her foal).
                    Both my husband and I have lost jobs, replaced them but at a third of salary, no benefits. We are in our mid-50s so retirement still a long way off.
                    Younger horse owners - take note as this probably will face you, too, someday.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by SunkenMeadow View Post
                      I am glad to see more people in support of euthanizing rather than against. I truly believe that is the best option in your situation. An unfortunate decision to have to make, but when we take on animals, we need to be responsible for them till the bitter end.

                      I wish you the best as you make this heavy decision...
                      Well said. No one can condemn you for wanting to keep an unadoptable horse out of trouble. My husband and I have written our wills to reflect that if we both died, we would want my parents to euthanize our older dog. They'd happily keep him, but he is highly stranger reactive and is pretty high maintenance. It is because I love him that I wouldn't try to get someone else to deal with his issues.

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                      • #31
                        Originally posted by SMF11 View Post
                        Putting the horse down in these circumstances certainly is reasonable. I know, for me, it would be hard, so I would probably try to exhaust all possibilities first.

                        I'll be the first to say there are basically no homes for companion horses; however, there are a very few. I would try and find them, and offer the horse as a free lease, with vet and farrier bills paid by you. This makes your horse a very attractive proposition as a companion. The person with the room for an extra horse will have literally dozens of horses to choose from; having his bills paid makes your horse easier to be the one chosen.

                        I'd at least try (through word of mouth -- let your local Pony Clubs, 4H, vets, farriers, trainers, horsey friends, EVERYONE, know about your horse) this, and if after a few months nothing pans out, then feel that I'd exhausted all possibilities and have a bit more peace of mind if I then chose to euthanize.

                        You sound like a very caring owner, good luck to you.
                        This is a really good suggestion. I'm down to two horses and when one goes, I'll need a companion horse. Having the vet and farrier paid for would definitely help me make a decision.

                        However, even what looks like a good situation may not be. I really think if it were my horse and I couldn't find someone I knew and respected to take him as a companion on a free lease, I would put him down. There are so many possible situations worse than death and really, the only way you can guarantee that your horse won't end up in one of them, is to keep them for life and put them down when you can no longer care for them.

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                        • Original Poster

                          #32
                          Thank you all so much for your very helpful comments. I am going to keep trying to make it work, and I will explore SMF11's suggestion. But if/when I get to the very edge, at least I won't feel (as much) like a terrible person. sigh. Thank you all.

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                          • #33
                            Originally posted by wendy View Post
                            this line of thinking is, in my opinion, not valid. There's always a chance something bad could happen, but most likely it won't, and doing something as drastic as killing your horse because of vague maybes and what-if's is just wrong.
                            I have to respectfully but 100% disagree with this. I love my horse too much to risk even a 5% chance that he would wind up in bad hands; I'm not about to let him to go a "most likely won't" situation, particularly if he's not very marketable to begin with, and ESPECIALLY not if he's only pasture sound.

                            The problem isn't always with the first person down the line that takes him... The problem often comes in when THAT person can't/won't keep him, and he gets passed on AGAIN. If the first home isn't someone you know WELL, I can almost guarantee that you won't be told if they don't keep the horse-- why would they?? They don't want to be guilt-tripped into keeping said horse either.

                            Case in point... I know of a horse recently, mid-teens and rideable but with bucking issues, who was sold for cheap to a woman with a "lesson program." Seller had gotten a divorce and couldn't afford all her horses, found an easy out for one of them. Buyer renamed horse, had her for a couple of months, couldn't deal with the issues, now has horse listed through a SHADY broker who has horse advertised on some common resale avenues, touting all kinds of wonderful things about said horse, "trail-safe, beginner-safe," yada yada yada, NO mention of her bucking issues.

                            I'm pretty sure original seller doesn't know that horse is being passed on yet again, and this time there isn't full disclosure of the horse's problems. How much you want to bet that horse ends up at auction, one or two owners from now???
                            *friend of bar.ka

                            "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by kmmoran View Post
                              I think in your situation, with a 25 year old horse, I would very seriously consider putting them down. I know the emotional side is easier said than done, but horses are expensive and you have clearly given him a great life. He was well cared for, and loved, and has lived a considerable amount of time for a horse.

                              I would not put a negative stigma on you for putting him down. I understand how difficult it must be, and I am so sorry to hear of your situation, but I think you're right: at his age, it's going to be nearly impossible to find a suitable home. He will go knowing he had a wonderful life, and a fabulous last day. It is a future you can guarantee, and take the financial burden off of yourself.
                              I agree 100% with what kmmoran said. Hugs to you xoxoxo

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by wendy View Post


                                this line of thinking is, in my opinion, not valid. There's always a chance something bad could happen, but most likely it won't,
                                I'm sorry, but I'd say there is a good chance it WILL happen. Do a search on these forums and see how many of us have gone through it. My mare was nearly starved on a lease and a gelding I gave away was about one step away from slipping through the cracks when someone called me. Both people who had these horses had great references, wonderful facilities and promised to give them back if they could no longer care for them. But once they are out of your hands, they are out of your control.

                                OP, I have a 29 year old horse and I would chose euthanasia over other options any day of the week. It would break my heart to do it, but the pain would be mine, not the horse's. I wish you the best of luck...I know it's not easy.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  I would support anyone having to make that hard decision. I have 2 retired ones and I've always said I would have them euth. Before I would give them away to someone if I got into a really bad situation. I've seen the bad side to many times and once to myself.

                                  My husbands horse that he got when he was 9 was almost starved to death boarding at a facility where we pd board. We couldn't go out for 3 months to see him, I was pregnant at the time and having a hard time. I had my dd and it was dead winter. So when it warmed up 3 months later I took dd while husband was heading out of town for work to see our old man, he was about 28 yrs old at the time. We got there and he was in a round pen, not hay not grass a little water and was bones! With horrible rain rot. I couldn't believe it was our horse, I searched the pasture in disbelief that this was our horse looking for him. But no, it was him. I cried, we paid this man on time every month, our boy was over an hour away and we trusted he was cared for. My husband turned around and headed home when i called him and that next morning we picked him up and took him to a farm closer to us that just opened and nursed him back to health. The vet came out that day and looked at him, she believed he wouldn't have made it another week there with the severity of the rain rot and he was nothing but bones. He lived happily until he was 34yrs old until he co iced and we took him to the university for surgery, when they opened him up his intestines were dead in many spots and they never knew exactly why and we put him down.
                                  After this experience with actually paying for my horses care I wouldn't trust anyone to keep one of mine if something were to happen. Different for my 8 yr old horse that is rideable but not my old men.
                                  Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

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                                  • #37
                                    I hate to hear that you are in this situation! I agree with everyone that is posting supporting comments. I do not own a horse of my own, but I can certainly put myself in your shoes and I would not give anyone the chance to mistreat a horse that I have raised and cared for for many years.

                                    I had this discussion with a friend of mine the other day that horses should be sent to rescues if they can be retrained. A horse that cannot be ridden (and has health issues) will unlikely be adopted (sad but true) and rescues have limited resources, which circles back to he wouldn't have the same great care that you have always given him.

                                    *Hugs and supports* I hope you find the means to keep him longer!
                                    http://www.horsez-r-us.blogspot.com
                                    Blog of an ordinary and every day horse lover!

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                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by FatDinah View Post
                                      I am in the same situation. I have a 35 yr old mare and a 20 yr old gelding, both happy and healthy but not really rehomeable. I have owned them almost all their lives (mare and her foal).
                                      Both my husband and I have lost jobs, replaced them but at a third of salary, no benefits. We are in our mid-50s so retirement still a long way off.
                                      Younger horse owners - take note as this probably will face you, too, someday.
                                      If our finances does not improve by the time I need to buy hay, my oldest might need to go, can't believe it, but times are tough.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Let me pose this question. What about a 8 year old mare who was rescued as a bag of bones as a 2 year old and nursed back to health but isn't near being normal. After 6 years with the same owner the horse has severe trust issues, can hardly be caught and is there for un-rideable? What would you do then if the owner choose to put her down instead of risking giving her away? She was placed in the hands of parents at one point where she came back nearly starved again due to pacing and being unhappy in that location. Would putting her down be a better option in this case as well? Or risk giving her away and risk the Good Home being a not so good home?
                                        Chambermaid to....
                                        Lilly
                                        Reggie

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                                        • #40
                                          If I had one that is truly unrideable and that nervous when moved I would pts as well. It's hard and I'd hate to do it with any horse that isn't maybe "their time". But this type of horse maybe young but will really really need to be in the right hands. This young of a horse with these issues are ones that will be passed along and lost down the road because people will not know what to do with it. And when they figure well I can't break her they'll pass along to another and the possibility of auction and even slaughter because it's a prime age and in good health.
                                          Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

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