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Spin off from losing a horse. Burial on property vs Haul Off Remains.

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    Spin off from losing a horse. Burial on property vs Haul Off Remains.

    So my old horse Stoli is going to be put down on Thursday (there is another thread about that). My vet suggested a "haul off" service and the horse would be buried at a land fill. Alternatively, I could have him buried on my property. I know cremation is an alternative for some but that would be way too expensive for me plus I don't think it's available where I live. All things equal, I guess I would rather have him here (buried on the property) and know where he is. Be able to sit by his grave etc. But it is more "hassle" to arrange for a back hoe and I have to make a decision quickly. I have not yet compared pricing and so if one is a lot more than the other that may influence my decision. Can folks weigh in on what they have done and how they felt about it afterwards? My property is not big but it is legal to bury here and not located near any bodies of water. I would greatly appreciate any thoughts on this from others. Thank you.

    I've done both, but where I am the man who picks up a euthanized horse comes with his tractor on the flatbed and will bury on your property or transport elsewhere for the same fee.

    My own horses are here, some boarders are here, others were taken away as their owners wished, either for cremation or disposal elsewhere. I even have a friends' beloved horse that she had nowhere to bury here under a tree.

    I kind of like having them here in their own pastures, but it never bothered me to have to send one elsewhere, it's only the shell left anyway.


      Animal burial is not an option where I live. I have no problem with my horse going to the rendering plant. Once the spirit has left the body, it is just a empty shell anyway.


        Better check your local laws before you bury.

        We are lucky to have a couple of neighbours with backhoes, so we have several buried and we have lots of land. Last time I think we paid her a couple hundred dollars. We have a tractor and can bury them ourselves.
        If you go this route, have the hole dug before the Vet comes, then you can do the deed right beside the hole.

        The deadstock people for our area are a couple hours away and need to be booked in advance. You don't want to leave the body laying around for coyote or other critters. It's been years since I last used them, but would call them if I couldn't get a hole dug.


          My young rider horse is buried at her retirement farm. They had a nice safe place (not in an in-use pasture) under some trees. Around here, burying is not legal so horses are typically taken to the rendering plant or cremated.


            I have buried horses, had them hauled off and composted one. I am neutral on all methods as to me the body is just a shell. I did have a difficult time telling certain people that we had composted one, but it was the least expensive, most readily available option at the time. That being said, I would compost again.
            "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


              31 years ago, when I PTS’d my 29 yr old and then the 27 yr old, I was not able to bury them and had to have them hauled away. I still haven’t gotten over that.

              We now have 25 acres and three of my second group of horses is laid to rest on this farm, as will my last two horses when their end times get here.

              There are also 11 dogs and nine cats laid to rest in the smaller side of the Pet Sematary. Some of them are rescues who didn’t make it. Three dogs belonged to neighbors and I kept them when their families moved to town and couldn’t take them.

              Hugs and best wishes whatever you decide - it’s something that never gets easier ——


                Original Poster

                Thanks all. Greatly appreciated. I guess to me there is some solace in knowing that the remains are close by. Like my dear little kitty Essie who passed in January. Her headstone is just a plain granite boulder but I know she is there. I don't suppose it really makes logical sense. More of a feeling/desire to know that my treasured one is here (vs. in a grave at a landfill). I guess I'm sentimental. Still trying to wrap my head around the impending loss of Stoli.


                  Originally posted by cutter99 View Post
                  I have buried horses, had them hauled off and composted one. I am neutral on all methods as to me the body is just a shell. I did have a difficult time telling certain people that we had composted one, but it was the least expensive, most readily available option at the time. That being said, I would compost again.
                  tell me more about the composting process...
                  Humans dont mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. Sebastian Junger


                    Originally posted by Bogey2 View Post

                    tell me more about the composting process...
                    At the time we lived on a dairy farm, and had a large composting area for dead stock. The animal you are composting is placed on a bed of manure and used shavings, then covered with the manure and shavings as well. You need to have the right combination of materials in order to get the compost pile to heat up properly. With larger animals, the composting process can take anywhere from 4 months on. Our pile was turned after so many months to reheat the pile and allow of other animals to be added. After the appropriate amount of time needed to safely compost, the pile was loaded out and spread over fields as fertilizer.

                    It is a very viable method for disposal if burial is not an option due to water issues.
                    "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


                      Originally posted by Bogey2 View Post

                      tell me more about the composting process...
                      It is very interesting and I think a very good idea if you can be prepared for it (not an emergency euthanasia).

                      Here is the information on it.



                        Originally posted by PonyPenny View Post
                        Animal burial is not an option where I live. I have no problem with my horse going to the rendering plant. Once the spirit has left the body, it is just a empty shell anyway.
                        Same here.
                        2 of the 4 I've lost were euthed at the vet hospital at a teaching facility so donated for research and students' practice.
                        The other 2 went to landfill.
                        I mourn all 4 the same, but do not regret the inability to bury on my land.

                        Of course, I still have the urn with 50% DH's ashes.
                        His daughter has the balance & sometimes I regret not giving her the whole.
                        Remains - to my mind - are not what you lost.
                        That lives on in my heart & mind.
                        *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


                          Keep in mind that if you do decide to have them hauled away to be composted or cremated...they have to get there somehow. IME, this usually means they get loaded onto a flatbed trailer after they are deceased, which still requires a large tractor and chains to be able to lift them off the ground. If you don't have access to this on your farm, you'll have to hire to have it done.
                          Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you have now was once among the many things that you only hoped for.


                            With cremation, most companies do not cremate the entire horse. So if you (general) are the type that feels uncomfortable with the body ending elsewhere, a cremation is not likely to be the answer for you (general). IIRC, they cremate head, hooves, heart, and some other -- but not the entire body.

                            It was $300 when I had to bury Spooky, that was 8 years ago in SC. I think the price will be relative to the area, but I did have to have a horse PTS during an off-farm lease a couple of years ago and the quotes were ballpark the same, in MA.

                            Composting deceased livestock is done regularly here, I live right next to a major cow farm. They'll pull a hole in the existing manure pile, inter the cow whole, and cover. It's not really feasible in a small scale operation (you need a significant mound of manure/fill), and, be prepared -- it has a very distinct smell. I haven't observed any sort of appreciable science to the method, I ride by the composting pile on the regular and they pull it out with a big bulldozer and regularly fertilize the fields with it. Sometimes that means you walk past a half-decayed corpse, and the wildlife are quick to pick it off.

                            It's a very viable method for major livestock + produce farms, but you need heavy machinery.

                            Thinking of you and Stoli, OP. ((Hugs))
                            AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


                              OP I'm so sorry about your horse.

                              I used to have the horses taken away for cremation, but that guy got in trouble with authorities for air emissions violations and operating his business without proper licenses. In hindsight I feel a bit bad for having supported a business that was skirting environmental laws--judging by his ramshackle truck that he picked up the horses with, I probably should have known he was cowboying it. So, the last few have been buried here. On-site burial is not really much more hassle-- whether you do burial or haul-off, you're still stuck trying to arrange the timing relative to the vet visit.

                              If you don't already have a prior biz relationship with an excavator: look for an excavator who has their equipment very close to you, whether that's because they're based in your neighborhood, or they already have another job in your neighborhood so they can just move the equipment over to you for a quick job. So as you drive around today, keep an eye out for any construction projects nearby, and make note of the logo on the excavator or job trucks at that site.

                              Personally I don't think it's necessary to have the hole dug in advance. As long as you can get your excavator company out within 24hrs and you can keep the carcass well-covered, it's fine. What I do is book the vet for a morning farm call, and book the excavator who lives near me to swing by late afternoon (when he's on his way back home from other bigger projects). It's about a 60-90min job to dig and re-cover the hole (we have an easy site-- if you have rocks or challenging terrain, will be more). The cost of an excavator will vary widely by locale. My costs have been $350-450. Helps to use a local guy who can squeeze in the job on his way home from other jobs, and I pay cash.

                              Bogey2 Here is a composting brochure:


                                Originally posted by Abbie.S View Post
                                Keep in mind that if you do decide to have them hauled away to be composted or cremated...they have to get there somehow. IME, this usually means they get loaded onto a flatbed trailer after they are deceased, which still requires a large tractor and chains to be able to lift them off the ground. If you don't have access to this on your farm, you'll have to hire to have it done.
                                In north Texas there is Pine Hill... we have a "family plot" there....all of our horses are buried in our plot. They have provided nothing but extremely courteous service ... treated each body as though it were their own horse.

                                Yes they pickup by trailer, but each horse is handled with respect.

                                Since we have several buried there, the question is asked do you want George buried next to Foxie or Mulligan ...had to be Foxie as Hillary would be buried next to Mulligan as she spent nearly all her life worshiping the ground he walked on and that is where she is now.


                                  I have done both. We have a rendering service here that comes to haul away the horse, it is $275 and they are extremely professional. They will also euthanize the horse for you (shoot) if necessary- which sounds awful but it really isn't. I'm not sure on what backhoe operation runs as we've always either used the one we have at work or borrowed a family member's
                                  No mourners, no funerals


                                    When I had to euthanize my mare a few years back, there was really nowhere suitable on the property to bury her and because it all happened very suddenly, I'm not sure we would've been able to arrange it timely anyway. She was picked up by a local dead livestock hauler to be taken to the rendering plant. This may go without saying, but if you go this route please leave the area while it is happening. I have watched a dead horse (not mine) be moved by heavy equipment - it's not how I'd want to remember a beloved animal. Other than asking my vet to take her halter off and snip some mane for me, I left immediately after her pulse stopped.

                                    I think having some mane was a fitting memento - I braided it and put it with her halter in a shadowbox along with some pictures of us cross-country schooling. I think it's a better memory for me than ashes would be anyway - and as a young adult renting an apartment with roommates, that was the only way I would've had to keep her close.


                                      My horses mean the world to me but burial is not ( never has been) an option where I have lived. I have no issue with using a renderer and to be brutally honest once they are dead that is about it and the horse I loved is gone and just a body remains . For me it is time to grieve and move on.


                                        When I had to euthanize my beloved Hackney pony, it happened to be right when I was having a new well drilled. The well driller needed to dig a six-foot hole for dirt to use to make a temporary stream for runoff, and he offered to dig it wherever I wanted. He dug it, I led the pony to the side of the grave, the vet did the injections, and my husband took care of the burial. For the next horse a few years later, we were kind of stuck on finding someone to dig a grave. It turned out our well driller was working in the neighborhood, and we made a deal with him to dig another grave for us. We handled the rest of the burial the same way.

                                        My last pony died far away from the others, as we'd moved from Colorado to South Carolina after the first two died, and he was boarded near where we lived after the move. I had a close relationship with the BO and her family. Her husband offered to bury my pony on their land, which was a perfect solution as the pony had been very happy living there. No one involved had a backhoe, but the BO's husband knew someone who would rent one very reasonably. So I paid for the rental, and the BO's family buried my sweet boy for me. They wouldn't accept any payment for their time.

                                        I don't tend to visit graves because the body that is left doesn't really have meaning for me--the memories are what is precious. But I do get back to visit the folks who lived next door to me in Colorado, and I find myself saying hi to the two horses that are buried near the common fenceline. And when I drive past the barn where my last pony was boarded, I say hi to him, too. Regardless, they all live on in my head and I frequently dream that they are all still alive and well.