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Older horses and idiot owners (a rant)

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  • #21
    I am proud to say that I have four OLDER horses and will keep them to the end. My current little POA show pony has cushings and vitamin deficiencies and I still pay for everything and keep her happy. I could NEVER imagine giving her up, shes part of the family. I also have a 21 year old thats not ready to retire and still cant imagine giving him up...these guys are like my kids, could you give your kids up?

    Its one thing if they are sick and it is better for the horse to euthanize him, but giving them up because they just wont work they way you want too I just don't understand.
    Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
    Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
    Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
    Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook


    • #22
      I agree it's a shame that some people dump their older horses, especially ones who are unsound and have expensive special needs. However, a lot of those older horses are perfect for people who are new to riding, and their effective lifespan has been increasing with better care. There are a lot of horses who are still going strong in their 20s and even 30s. I really appreciate the wisdom and kindness those golden oldies have to share! Most of them stay sounder, healthier, and often happier in light work than completely retired, unless that is physically necessary. If their owner has a new competition horse and doesn't have time for the older one, hopefully they can find someone to lease, or sell/give it away with a take-back clause. The problem is that some people are irresponsible, and don't abide by their commitments.
      Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.


      • #23
        I don't disagree with the bolt being perhaps the kindest most efficient way to end a horse's life/suffering- but I am perplexed why this should become a rescues responsibility? I thought the point of a rescue was to save horses, not destroy them?


        • #24
          Originally posted by fourh mom View Post
          Taking unwanteds and shooting them might make you feel better about a particular rescue organization, g/b's. But if you just put pen to paper it seems to be cost prohibitive and would take up alot of time and resources that could be given to horses who actually are in need of a home as opposed to horses who already have a home, but whose owners are just tired of dealing w/them.

          The bullet might be cheap but disposing of their bodies might not be. Not everyone is privvy to an easy disposal system. sylvia
          There is no way rehabing and rehoming a desperate abuse/neglect case (and its maintenance for the rest of it's natural life) will cost more than carcass disposal unless you are in the habit of burying horses in gold-plated caskets.

          Perhaps the problem of "easy disposal system" should have been considered before a bunch of numbnuts went on the anti-slaughter rampage. That would have handled a lot of these horses who HAVE homes, but the home doesn't want them anymore.

          There is a big romantic delusion going on with "rescues" who feel that interfering with a horse who are somehow "actually in need of a home" is worth more Karma points than just accepting "unwanted" horses. The reality is that most "rescues" are not roaming the streets picking up loose horses that have no home. They are taking them away from homes they deem unfit (via the legal system) or buying them at auction in order to prevent them from being utilized in way they deem unfit.

          In any event, the OP is wailing about a horse that looks like it should be up a rescue's ally -- old, useless, unhealthy, unwanted. What does she want to do, diddle around until the thing is siezed by animal control, then rush in like a salvaging angel to claim her Karma points and make a big deal about brining it back from the brink?


          • #25
            Originally posted by gloriginger View Post
            I don't disagree with the bolt being perhaps the kindest most efficient way to end a horse's life/suffering- but I am perplexed why this should become a rescues responsibility? I thought the point of a rescue was to save horses, not destroy them?
            Maybe that's the problem. Rescues are so hell bent on "saving" horses, they are completely willing to overlook the higher calling of "doing RIGHT by horses" -- which in many cases would be killing them.

            Perhaps I was erroneosly expecting virtues in the concept of "rescue" that do not exist in the "rescuer" mindset.


            • #26
              Well, KN, in THIS case, my "compassion" is for the "stallion in his mid 20's who cannot be ridden and won't keep the weight on. Seems he is so bad, the neighbors keep reporting her..."

              His owner doesn't seem to be doing anything about it, the "rescue" person the owner contacted doesn't want to be bothered because she's too damn good to stoop so low. Maybe there's a meat buyer roaming around the area who can solve the problem.


              • #27
                Originally posted by greysandbays View Post
                Actually, honey, a few weeks ago, I had my 36 year old mare put down -- a mare that hasn't been useful for anything but eating me out of house and home for the last 15 years.

                The problem of unwanted horses is going to be increasing exponentially, as not every owner is going to as big a fool as I was in throwing money down a rat hole. (Note for gab bashers -- I do not regret the being a fool. I just am not quite so stupid as to think my being a fool was actually some great virtue.)

                If all you want to is be a hero farting around with neglected, starved, and abused horses, racking up Karma points for undertaking gargantuan rehab projects, then of course you don't want to be bothered with horses who are just unwanted.

                Taking unwanted horses, shooting them, and moving on to the next would be a way to deal with it on a wholesale level, doing the maximum good for the minumum expense. Rescues will have to forego their warm and fuzzies for the greater good. That price should not be to high for someone who prides themselves on their "compassion".
                I have to agree with this.
                tWo retirees and you're a "rescue."


                • #28
                  Don't get me wrong, I feel for the stallion too. But at the same time, I empathize with the rescue. I completely agree that the fairest thing for this old man would be euthanasia. But, unfortunately, people don't want to have to be the "meanie" to have to take the ultimate responsibility for their pets. The responsibility here is not of the rescue, it's of the horses' owners. Kudos to the rescue for encouraging the owners to take the appropriate action. I think every rescue should have a "Death with Dignity" fund set aside to humanely euthanize and dispose of animals that have reached the end of their useful lives and who's body doesn't do justice to their spirit. I have no qualms about euthanizing a younger animal who lives with a chronic condition and would have a questionable future as a companion only - Lord knows there's enough non-riding, companion only horses out there to ensure all their safety. Either we need regulation for slaughter so that horses with painful, chronic conditions are not sitting out their 30-day withdrawl at a feedlot (much like the slaughter regulation for cattle), more horse-owner responsibility, rescues need more funding or breeding needs to be regulated to control the horse population. But that's a whole different train.


                  • #29
                    I kind of hate to say it, but to me a "rescue" ought to be the kind of organization that has the compassion to rehab the ones who can be, and the balls to do what's right when it makes no sense to do anything else. The ones who do this have all my respect and admiration.
                    There are always going to be people who can't stomach putting anything to death. We had a long hard discussion about this at work (sm animal vet practice) recently regarding an old dog who was dropped off for boarding that needed to be PTS. The owner preferred that it "die naturally" and at home. The discussion revolved around whether it was humane to prolong this dog's life by giving it supportive care (IV fluids, etc-suffered from renal failure) vs. just keep it clean and warm while it was with us while the owner went to the beach for the weekend. I was beside myself. My dog? I'd put it down or not go to the beach til it died "naturally" (ughhh!!!). Cost-the owner asked about supportive care and the cost, nixed the idea. How did it end? Our 28 year old DVM had the Kahunas to tell her about how it was to die of kidney failure au naturale, and that she needed to not tie our hands by leaving him in our care...she came home, allowed him to euthanize him, she witnessed his peaceful passing, and felt hugely relieved that his suffering was ended, more than she thought she would be. She got to go on her weekend trip, sad but free and we did not have to witness this old guy die in our care without being authorized to do a thing about it. Owner just needed the right push.
                    The horse issue sounds similar. It costs me more to keep my older 5 horses/ponies than it does the other 9. This is due to medical issues and increased processed feeds they need to stay in good flesh. It takes as much care if not more in terms of actual labor. I work really hard to earn the money to keep all these horses but if things went south for me personally, I wouldn't hesitate to PTS the ones I know in my heart wouldn't find another home as good as mine. I have what it takes to do that and nobody is going to guilt me out of it by suggesting a rescue could help me by taking them.
                    I guess my suggestion is that a rescue needs to be able to try to educate first, if the stallion in question is best served by ending his days quickly and suddenly there on the spot, then talk them into it, help arrange for it to happne, maybe even go be an agent fotr the owner if they can't physically meet the vet to do it. Shooting them (captive bolt or otherwise), if done right is every bit as humane as with properly administered pharmicologicals, and somebody out there can use the carcass. It all has to be arranged, and as owners, we all ought to be able to do that. The ones who can't ought to be able to find compassionate help for the sake of the animal from the ones who are willing to offer it.
                    As for me, I live my ethics and my goal is to rub it off on my 4-Hers, not to breed irresponsibly, and to give my horses all the care they need til the end and not try to pass that responsibility on to someone else.


                    • #30
                      It's all a very sad topic...however it's reality. I will always keep my animals until there is nothing more I (key word is I) can do for them. Horses give their all to you in their vibrant years and it's what you should do for them as they get older. Just like humans...except a horse is never gonna expect this from you. That's the best thing about them.
                      Shooting a horse...not my ideal way of letting go of an animal. I'd much rather see it go peacefully by euthanizing.
                      However, I recently went through a situation where I needed to put my horse down and I had nowhere to dispose of him and I didn't have the money to trailer him to the vet and have him euthanized. Therefore my only option which costed me nothing was to donate him to a local fox hunt.
                      I didn't sleep for days thinking about his fate, it was terrible. But it was my only option.
                      Euthanizing a horse CAN sometimes be more painful than shooting it as sometimes the horses fight the euthanasia. That is probably the worst thing that could happen. I've known people who have been involved in a similar situation and they said it was absolutely horrifying.


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by greysandbays View Post
                        What are you crabbing about? If you want to parade around as a "RESCUE", you have take all that goes with it -- which is mainly people not wanting their horse[s] anymore for whatever reason.

                        Just take the damn things, then shoot them if it bothers you all that much.
                        In principle, I do not think it appropriate to put people on ignore, as I feel it is a form of censorship and thus inappropriate. However, this post has me teetering on the edge.

                        As far as the OP - I completely agree with you. I do understand that disaster may befall any of us. But I have made plans for Ted (or whichever horse is in my care) to protect them if I am unable. I simply could not imagine, after all that Ted has given me, that I could simply shunt him out of my life.
                        a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                        • #32
                          I do think that rescues should be willing to give the best end possible to each horse they take in. If that means euthanasia of one kind or another than so be it. I know of a rescue that keeps a fund they term "The Last Act of Kindness", it is sad, but necessary.

                          On the other hand, it should not have to be rescue/sanctuary/shelter's responsibility to clean up someone else's mess. If your horse is not a candidate for re-homing successfully, and there is absolutely no way of keeping it in the appropriate manner, then they should do the right thing and euthanize it.


                          • #33
                            Firstly, I absolutely agree that it's sad and unfortunate that rather than taking care of their own responsibilities, people think they're entitled to having someone else clean up for them not because they can't afford to do the right thing...not because they don't know what the right thing is...rather, they simply don't want to put another penny into it. I find that sad.

                            However...if the point of rescue/rehab facilities is to help horses, I think that more rescues are going to have to start redefining their protocol a bit. At the end of the day, what was right for that horse was either A) find a new owner who is willing to drop money into a pit B) euth Since option A is highly unlikely, the horse does not meet the criteria for a rehab and rehome rescue project.

                            Option B would've likely been the right thing for the horse. And rather than simply turn the owner away, I guess if I had the time/money and got a call like that (rescue or not), I would be more inclined to tell the owner that the horse doesn't meet our rehab and rehome criteria but that if she felt she was unable to euth on her own, she could turn the horse over for a small fee and we would do what we could. Then I'd euth.

                            I know it's not "your problem"....but I just have to wonder what happens to this horse now? The person reached out for help. Yes, I think it's tacky. But the verbal lashing she got is unlikely to make the situation better for THE HORSE. I totally AGREE with the OP's sentiment. But I think rescues are going to need to gear up and have a plan for these sorts of things that includes a solution rather than a slap through the phone.
                            A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                            Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                            • #34
                              It's not up to the rescues to have the balls to euth the chronic horses. It's up to the owners! If people would factor in that cost in horseownership than perhaps rescues could actually rescue.

                              Somebody should sell pre-need for euth and burial of horses, just like funeral homes do.


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by hundredacres View Post
                                It's not up to the rescues to have the balls to euth the chronic horses. It's up to the owners! If people would factor in that cost in horseownership than perhaps rescues could actually rescue.

                                Somebody should sell pre-need for euth and burial of horses, just like funeral homes do.
                                Amen! My point exactly. I'm so sick of the "bunny hugger" rescue mentality. It's sick, it's in pain, it's ugly, it's mean, it's old, it's unadoptable, but we HAVE to save it. Even if saving it means one less home for a healthier, younger horse that has more to offer. The OP has the right idea - this particular horse doesn't have much hope for a reasonable existance, and should be put down. The current owners don't want to have to bear the burden of that responsibility, and shame on them. If the owners don't have the financial means to euthanize and dispose of the horse, then the rescue could step in and offer some assistance. I do not think that the owners should be let off scott free though - if they can't pay even a nominal fee, they should volunteer for the rescue to help offset their costs. I know that there's an animal hospital out west that utilizes that practice. So many hours of kennel work will pay off your pet's spay/neuter procedure. It is not a rescue's responsibility to clean up everyone else's mess when the responsible parties are perfectly capable of resolving the situation on their own.


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by greysandbays View Post
                                  Rescues will have to forego their warm and fuzzies for the greater good. That price should not be to high for someone who prides themselves on their "compassion".
                                  I don't see a whole lot "warm and fuzzy" about what real rescues do. Picking up starving horses, trying to save them and ultimately losing a lot of them. Or picking them up and euthanizing them because you know they can't make it sure as hell isn't warm and fuzzy. It sucks - but its part of the job you sign up for when you decide to get involved in rescue.

                                  Regarding euthanizing (whether chemically or with a bullet) unwanted horses. We may not like it - but if things don't change, that's likely what it will come to. There aren't enough homes and there aren't enough resources to house all the horses people don't want. We can WANT people to be responsible for their old guys, their crippled horses and their behavioral nightmares, but it isn't going to happen.

                                  We want to start a euthanasia fund to help owners euthansize the unwanted horses we can't take in. Unfortunately our rescue is in the hole for the year, financially. It is a tough year for everyone, so donations are down and expenses are up. It isn't the time to introduce a new program without the funds to pay for it. *sigh*

                                  To the OP, I know sometimes we all need to rant and rave, though. It IS tough to hear people wanting you to take in their old horses. Especially when your heart goes out to the horses but your pocketbook can't stretch far enough. That's heart breaking.
                                  Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                                  Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com


                                  • #37
                                    And to back up cowgirljenn and the OP, euthanasia isn't cheap, and neither is arranging for and disposing the body. It is unfair to make a rescue cough up the funds under this type of situation.
                                    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                                    • #38
                                      GAB, folks are objecting to your vitriolic and angry tone, and the OP was making the case that if a person owns an aged and marginally sound animal that they can't care for, it is THEIR responsibility to attend to euthanizing it instead of handing it off to another person (rescue or whatever) and expecting an appropriately caring situation to materialize, when in fact what is going to happen is the animal is very likely to come to a frightening and painful end.

                                      Few if any of the posters on this thread are opposed to euthanasia; most are arguing that if the animal has worked for you, you OWE the animal as much care as you can give it, and if that is impossible, a quick and relatively painless death. But imagining a magical retirement fairy will show up and care for your arthritic 30 year old Cushings mare who requires expensive supplements to be pasture sound is unforgivably stupid.

                                      IRRESPONSIBILITY and DENIAL on the part of the owners of many aged / unsound beasties is what is being criticized.
                                      I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                                      I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by greysandbays View Post

                                        His owner doesn't seem to be doing anything about it, the "rescue" person the owner contacted doesn't want to be bothered because she's too damn good to stoop so low. Maybe there's a meat buyer roaming around the area who can solve the problem.
                                        I don't know WHERE in the OP's post you assertained this thought from. Why would you think they are "too damn good" to help this horse and why do you think it would be her problem anyway rather than the owner on putting the horse down?

                                        Maybe she's full, maybe she is "too damn good" to take the horse but I feel you should be bashing the horses owner rather than the OP because they (the OWNER) won't "do the right thing" and put his horse down his own damn self.
                                        I want a signature but I have nothing original to say except: "STHU and RIDE!!!

                                        Wonderful COTHER's I've met: belleellis, stefffic, snkstacres and janedoe726.


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by Chardavej View Post
                                          I don't know WHERE in the OP's post you assertained this thought from. Why would you think they are "too damn good" to help this horse and why do you think it would be her problem anyway rather than the owner on putting the horse down?

                                          Maybe she's full, maybe she is "too damn good" to take the horse but I feel you should be bashing the horses owner rather than the OP because they (the OWNER) won't "do the right thing" and put his horse down his own damn self.
                                          Perhaps it escaped your notice that the horse's OWNER was not posting here? Had that been the case, I would have told HER (HIM?) to take the damn thing out and shoot it. However, unlike some [manure] pit denizens, I try to avoid stabbing people in the back when they are not present to defend themselves.

                                          OP can either FIX this particular problem by taking the horse and killing it or she can howl and rant and bitch about "irresponsible owners" and accomplish nothing but garner "you-go-girl"s from the forum. Seems like she's more interested in the latter than the former (along with half the posters on this thread).

                                          That it should be the owner's responsiblity is a given. But that isn't happening. And likely won't happen. So what's your Plan B? Keep griping on a bulletin board while the horse suffers?
                                          Last edited by Moderator 1; Aug. 5, 2008, 04:20 PM. Reason: language