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Putting a Horse Down for Financial Reasons??

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  • Putting a Horse Down for Financial Reasons??

    Hi,
    I am brand new to these forums, and I joined to ask this specific question. I am sad/worried/conflicted.

    I have owned my horse for 15 years. He is 25 years old, happy and basically healthy for his age. He is pasture-sound, but not sound enough to be ridden. I board him about 20 miles away, and make the trip on weekends. During the week, he is extremely well-cared for, and gets lots and lots of turn out.

    Unfortunately, my life has hit a rough patch. I was out of work for over a year; and even though I was able to get a job recently, the pay is considerably less. My husband is also out of work. In addition, we are spending significant additional time caring for members of our immediate and extended family. The financial and time demands of horse ownership are now a challenge.

    Because of my horse's age and soundness issues, I don't think giving him away is an option. I can't imagine anyone would be willing to assume the financial responsibility...

    I literally feel heartsick when I think about putting my horse down, but the practical side of me realizes that I should maybe consider it. Your comments and anecdotes would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Do any of your local vets keep horses for blood donation? I knew of a horse with a neuro issue that made her unrideable (not sure if she was ever even broke) but a local hospital took her in. Last I saw her she was happily grazing with the rest of the blood donor horses. If he's healthy he could be a good candidate.

    Comment


    • #3
      I would be less conflicted when I thought of the chance of horse getting into bad hands, not being well cared for after being given away. You can read a number of those kind of stories here on COTH, if you do a search. Horses get "lost", even with well written contracts to spell out right of first refusal, coverage of care items horse needs, that get totally ignored.

      You have done a great job for horse, but now you can't afford to keep it up, you don't have enough.

      Guess I am selfish, don't think others would care for horses like I would. I sure haven't seen it, in the case of 99% of the giveaways I have met. I would put my older, unable to be ridden horse, down in his own best interests. I won't have to worry or try to keep checking up on him after the giveaway, to know he was being cared for. He won't suffer in the future, be ill-treated, or hurt with an ignorant handler causing problems with obesity, laminitus. I will know he went easily, never have a bad day again.

      You have my support in making this hard choice.

      Comment


      • #4
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          have you contacted any of your local respectable rescues? have you tried to rehome him at all?

          there are plenty of good people out there..... and yes there are some bad - but i would definitely try to find him a good home before doing anything else.

          Comment


          • #6
            At 25 years old, he's had a good long life. It's not an unreasonable choice.

            My mare died recently. She looked quite good until maybe the last 4 months, and at that point she started having lots of Not Quite Right issues that required a fair amount of my attention and created extra expense. Thank goodness I was at a time when I could give her both. When they get to the end, it's not always easy to tell if this is just a little thing that will clear up or if it's your buddy's time to check out.

            It will not be an easy thing to do, to make the appointment and follow through. But, it is a very reasonable solution to the rock and hard place you find yourself between. There's value in a planned exit and having his last day be a very nice, very good day, with you able to spend time and be with him.
            If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

            Comment


            • #7
              It's a tough choice and my heart goes out to you, but it certainly is a reasonable thing to consider. Sometimes vet schools will take horses for research and euthanize them when their work is done (make sure that is agreed upon) but I think I'd sooner put an old horse down than send it off to parts unknown. Good luck to you!
              Click here before you buy.

              Comment


              • #8
                I would have no problem with someone euthing an older but otherwise "healthy" horse for financial reasons... I've often said I would do that myself if I had to.

                I love my horse to pieces-- he is my heart horse. He's only 10, so (barring any tragedies) we should have many more years together, but he is nothing special to anyone else-- he's got no professional training, conformation is wonky, he's not a dead-broke beginner-safe horse, and as a 16.2hh TB, he's definitely not an air fern.

                There is absolutely no way I would ever let him slip through the cracks and end up at auction, because his chances of ending up on a slaughter truck are too high... I would literally shoot him myself before I'd take that risk. And I wouldn't sell or otherwise rehome him unless it was to someone I knew personally, and WELL, and could keep very close tabs on him.

                So no, you won't get any negative judgments from me...
                *friend of bar.ka

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

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                • #9
                  There is really no market for old lame horses.

                  At 25 he had a long cushy life. Horses do not think in terms of future or past, they are in the present.

                  And rescues are not meant to take the burden of the last decision from the horse owner's shoulders.

                  it is perfectly sensible to put him down. Of course, there will be a void and sadness. But unlike a car where you can take off the plates and put it on blocks, horse ownership does not afford you this luxury.

                  Many hugs to you. That last question does not come with easy answers.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Since he cannot be ridden, I would certainly put him down. I have tried giving a horse to a rescue and that turned out badly- he was pretty much starved at the home he was placed at. Sometimes the kindest thing is the hardest. Good Luck to you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I am practically in the same situation as you except my horse is 26 and while I am currently employed, his care is very expensive.....I understand exactly how hard this is, but I do understand that it may be very necessary for you to do.
                      He is my heart horse, so I would never give him away, we are together till the end. However, I have given some other horses away before- that were still sound and have taught kids to ride- and while the majority of the cases have worked out, one sitution has not, and I worry about this particular horse alot, but it is out of my hands. I wouldn't want that to happen to my old guy.
                      I have been told that it the best way to do it is to pick a date and follow through with it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You have my support too. In fact, the majority of people who give exceptional care to their horses would. As goodhorse and others mentioned, the risks are too high once he leaves your care. He's had a great life.

                        The blood donor is interesting. I recently heard about a chronically lame, younger horse and another horse in the same program needed a transfusion of some sort. They hauled the horses together, the one recieved the blood from the other - the donor being eauthanized at that point. I would consider something like that but I'm one who doesn't like mine leaving the proerty when it's their time.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If I were in your situation, I would have the horse PTS.

                          As you know there is virtually no market for an older, unrideable horse.

                          It is not an easy thing to do, but at least you will know that the horse was
                          properly cared for and had a good, happy life to the end of his days. And then
                          he had a kind end.

                          Many horses are not so lucky. You are not a bad person for wanting a kind end
                          for your old horse, you are a responsible owner doing what is best with the cards
                          that you have been dealt.

                          {{hugs}} to you ...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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.
                            https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
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                            Comment


                            • #15
                              just my 2 sense !!

                              I am in support of your thoughts. We are all gonna have to deal with these issues with our pets. You don't have to wait until he's actually sick to euthanize imho. I've always felt that when we love something intensely we have to be willing to let them go....especially if its for THEIR betterment, quality of life, happiness, lessening of suffering etc. Many elderly animals are not "happy" or "healthy" but just kinda shuffle along, grumpy from chronic pain, existing kinda. Sometimes we keep them around for OUR needs; not theirs. Assisting them with a good death is the ultimate act of love imho.

                              The issue of YOUR survival versus his has to be decided in your favor. Who's suffering most from his continued life? Love yourself first. Take care of yourself & your family first. It's perfectly ok to say...."I can't afford this" in order for YOUR suffering to be lessened. I think it's easier in an old animal because their life trip is downhill from here. Let him go and arrange a peaceful euthanasia. Know you did it for a good reason at the right time. Of course you will be sad but don't feel guilty. It's not just $$; it's survival and the right thing to do at the right time. Don't overthink it; trust your gut. There's no right or wrong answers here.

                              Best wishes. It's the right thing to do.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Alagirl View Post
                                There is really no market for old lame horses.

                                At 25 he had a long cushy life. Horses do not think in terms of future or past, they are in the present.

                                And rescues are not meant to take the burden of the last decision from the horse owner's shoulders.

                                it is perfectly sensible to put him down. Of course, there will be a void and sadness. But unlike a car where you can take off the plates and put it on blocks, horse ownership does not afford you this luxury.

                                Many hugs to you. That last question does not come with easy answers.
                                Rescues have limited resources. If you send your horse to a rescue he might be taking the place of a more adoptable horse. I know it's hard
                                I wasn't always a Smurf
                                Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                                "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                                The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  OP: for what it's worth to you. I had this discussion with my vet within the past year. I have a 22 year old TB stallion, a home bred, my first "baby". He is not unsound, nor untrained, however, he has been a "pet" for the past ten years. To say that my financial circumstances have taken a reversal is an understatement. I have given away, rehomed and PTS several horses. He alone remains with a buddy. I asked my vet would he have a problem putting down a healthy, happy horse if my financial position worsened. And his advice to me was this: He hugged me and said " you have owned this horse and been in his life every day of it. You are his herd and his one constant. To put him in a new environment with a different herd dynamic, with caregivers he doesn't know, new rules to follow and a completely different "home", is not doing this horse any favors. It would stress him tremendously and he would most certainly not be happy. There is not shame in putting him down if your financial circumstances do not allow for his care, and I would have no problem in doing so for you." ThankfullyI do not have to make that decision just yet.
                                  "I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you..."

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I was in the same situation when my old horse was 25 as well. Not rideable and had a few health issues, including having Cushings and being blind in one eye.

                                    However my vet at the time refused to consider putting him down because he was in good weight and did not have a life threatening condition. I must admit that I was pretty shocked!

                                    I'm sure I could have found a vet to do it, but I ended up finding him an inexpensive retirement farm where he thrived until his death at age 32.

                                    Most of that time I was glad that he was so happy and well cared for - however I'll admit that there were times when I (not seriously) called him old and useless, and asked him when he was going to kick the bucket already.

                                    I consider him my "good deed" for a lifetime.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Football42 View Post
                                      Hi,
                                      I am brand new to these forums, and I joined to ask this specific question. I am sad/worried/conflicted.

                                      I have owned my horse for 15 years. He is 25 years old, happy and basically healthy for his age. He is pasture-sound, but not sound enough to be ridden. I board him about 20 miles away, and make the trip on weekends. During the week, he is extremely well-cared for, and gets lots and lots of turn out.

                                      Unfortunately, my life has hit a rough patch. I was out of work for over a year; and even though I was able to get a job recently, the pay is considerably less. My husband is also out of work. In addition, we are spending significant additional time caring for members of our immediate and extended family. The financial and time demands of horse ownership are now a challenge.

                                      Because of my horse's age and soundness issues, I don't think giving him away is an option. I can't imagine anyone would be willing to assume the financial responsibility...

                                      I literally feel heartsick when I think about putting my horse down, but the practical side of me realizes that I should maybe consider it. Your comments and anecdotes would be greatly appreciated.
                                      I think you will find the majority of users on this board in support of making the decision to euth your gelding.

                                      Would it be sweet, butterflies, and rainbows if you could find a safe, suitable home for him? Absolutely. But the chances of that happening are slim (IMO). You may think a situation is great, and it could be that I'm just a huge cynic, but I have a hard time trusting the average person after hearing day after day how shady and dishonest some people can be. So many things can very easily go wrong if you are not close enough to the horse to monitor it daily.

                                      I think at 25, he has lived a full, happy life. He's not sitting in his field planning what he'll do next week, or an hour from the present. He's a horse, and I think it's respectful and humane to send him over the bridge at the culmination of his happy life.

                                      Best of luck with this hard decision
                                      Lucy (Precious Star) - 1994 TB mare; happily reunited with her colt Touch the Stars

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I too would put any one of my horses down if I could not assure them the care and support they needed. There are just way too many "unknowns" in rehoming a horse of that age.

                                        Hang in there!

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