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Letting Go and Saying Goodbye

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  • Letting Go and Saying Goodbye

    I have set the date to euthanize my 20 year old Saddlebred gelding. Long story short, he bit me terribly a few months back and I am still dealing with the bite (possible debreading of the dead skin that never came back, and the continuous drainage from the bite area). I will live but it was the last straw for my old guy. He has never been the perfect horse and has nipped me before but never to this extent. So after some inner turmoil, I felt it was better to let him go humanely and quietly than to wait for his next unexpected attack.

    I guess my biggest challenge that is plaguing my every thought is how to handle his death after it is all said and done? I have euthanized horses before but that was because of medical reasons (colic). On the outside, my gelding looks perfectly happy, well, except for so arthritis and possible other issues.

    He will walk out to the area of my pasture that will be his resting place without needing assistance. He will most likely be alert and have his beautiful saddlebred ears cocked forward, listening to all the sounds from the back pasture. He will not know and I will be staying with him until his heart stops. There will be no open grave or backhoe waiting for the deed to be done. I have organized it so that he will be relaxed and without any stress (except for my vet who will obviously be present). I have tried my best to make sure it will be as peaceful as possible.

    But after he is gone, and the back hoe digs the hole and he is buried...after all is said and done, how do I cope? This is a horse that had 8 years more of a life than he probably should have. He had won ribbons at every major Saddlebred show in the country. He delievered many blue ribbons for his riders (one of them was me for a brief time). His life was that of a show horse. I tried to give him the life of a horse for as long as I could. He was hard to love, and often times hard to like, but I tried my best when everyone else turned their backs and gave up on him. And when he bit me this last time I knew I had to make that one decision I never wanted to make.

    THis death will be particullary hard for me. He is the last link to my OTTB that I lost almost 6 years to the day of losing this horse. He is also a link to a life that has been slowly taken from me after suffering from a chronic illness.

    Losing my OTTB 6 years ago broke my heart, and losing this horse may break it completely in half. I am looking for suggestions on how to help myself move forward after he is gone. I know all about getting bracelets made from his tail, as well as other options (sorry, tatto's are out). I am just looking for ways to deal without him those days after his death.

    I live alone and to be honest, most of my friends live a plane ride away. I still have my 6 year old gelding but I cannot ride due to health reasons. Does anyone have any suggestions for dealing with putting a basically healthy horse down (but who has become dangerous)? I am trying my best to stay strong but it has not been easy.
    Keep in mind...normal is just a dryer setting.~anonymous

  • #2
    No advice, but sending prayers for strength and comfort for you and an easy passing for your boy.

    Comment


    • #3
      First off, I know everyone has different opinions regarding this, and I respect that, but you say he bit you. That's why you're putting him down. He bit you MULTIPLE times before this specific attack.

      So basically there were warnings signs. You are putting him down because you didn't notice those warnings signs and teach him different.

      I realize he is older at 20, but it still might be possible to re home him instead of euthanizing. My 12 year old OTTB bit me once the first month I got him. The bite required stitches and I attended physical therapy for a few months afterwards. However, I worked with him on the ground on respect and that was the ONLY time he bit me. Yes it was a bad bite (i still carry the scar) but I did not euthanize him...

      I really just don't agree with this decision
      Why not try to find another place for him?

      Comment


      • #4
        You will be in my prayers. Its okay to be sad and miss him. It sounds like he is a big part of your life and its normal to be a bit lost at first. Maybe you could donate time or money to a horse rescue in his honor or even adopt a horse looking for a forever home?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by tec890 View Post
          First off, I know everyone has different opinions regarding this, and I respect that, but you say he bit you. That's why you're putting him down. He bit you MULTIPLE times before this specific attack.

          So basically there were warnings signs. You are putting him down because you didn't notice those warnings signs and teach him different.

          I realize he is older at 20, but it still might be possible to re home him instead of euthanizing. My 12 year old OTTB bit me once the first month I got him. The bite required stitches and I attended physical therapy for a few months afterwards. However, I worked with him on the ground on respect and that was the ONLY time he bit me. Yes it was a bad bite (i still carry the scar) but I did not euthanize him...

          I really just don't agree with this decision
          Why not try to find another place for him?
          Read some of the previous posts from the OP. Not just a nipping horse problem that rehoming will help.

          Comment


          • #6
            You will get past this and grieve just as you dealt with the horses you lost for medical reasons.
            I am not saying it will be easy, but it never is, under any circumstance.
            It sounds like you have thought this out and planned as best you can, considering.

            I had a horse like yours - had him until he was 27yo and even though he mellowed a lot in his last years, I never could quite let my guard down around him.
            Sad, as he'd try to nuzzle me and I could not accept the gesture without keeping an eye on him.

            Peace to you and your guy - if giving him a quiet and respectful end is the best you can do, then so be it.
            *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

            Comment


            • #7
              I have a real soft spot for Saddlebreds (only had one but she was a wonderful tough-as-nails chestnut mare with all the required stereotypes).

              You're making the correct decision to euthanize your guy. You can't keep a dangerous horse. I've known a few horses who were like a cocked pistol. One pony really hated kids and would do his best to nail them in the head as they walked up to him...the pony was cute and evil. One TB was a great jumper and a terror on the ground...they'd clean his stall with two people, one holding the pitchfork against the horse and one person quickly mucking out. This evil horse bit a 2 year old girl's arm off while she was in her father's arms. We'd warned the owner to keep the screen always closed above his dutch door because he was nasty..idiot woman would keep opening it so he could "see around". The horse was shot in his stall.

              You don't "re-home" a dangerous horse, dog or abusive significant other.

              The OP and people's safety are more important than any horse or dog with a proven history of this behaviour.
              "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

              Comment


              • #8
                Obi, you seem like a very sensitive, kind person. I know this has to be hard for you but like many others have said, you are doing the best thing for both you and the horse. <<hugs>>

                I don't know where you live, but you might want to search out a pet loss support group in your area or something similar. Maybe your vet can suggest a supportive group for you while you grieve? Or perhaps a kind therapist or clergy person can help you with a few sessions? I think a helping hand towards some peace of mind would be a plus, especially since you seem to be kind of isolated. Regardless of where you live, there are folks out there who can help you.

                Again, <<hugs>>

                Comment


                • #9
                  OP, so sorry for you to have to face this. I haven't read any of your previous posts but it sounds like you are doing the right thing by euthanizing this horse. I'm so sorry you cannot ride anymore but I hope your remaining horse will be a great comfort to you. Sending hugs and wishes for peace in your heart.
                  What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    We had to put down my dream filly on New Years Day because of a freak accident in her stall. I was 9 months pregnant and extremely hormonal. She could have lived but would have required no movement stall rest for 6+ months and would have been crippled her entire life. Making the decision was the hardest thing that I'd ever done.

                    I gave myself a day to bawl and mope and pretty much be the most pathetic human being on the planet. I put her stall sign and pictures of her away until I could deal with them. Once the initial sting wore off, I made a lovely shadow box with her halter, pictures, stall sign, and the tail hair one of the vet techs braided for me before they put her down. Knowing I commemorated her helped me to cope.

                    I'll be thinking about you, and praying that you will get through it. Just remember you are doing the best you can for him, and allowing him to depart comfortably and gracefully. So many other horses do not get that chance. They do not understand death, so they don't fear it as we do. It'll be okay, I promise.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tec890 View Post
                      First off, I know everyone has different opinions regarding this, and I respect that, but you say he bit you. That's why you're putting him down. He bit you MULTIPLE times before this specific attack.

                      So basically there were warnings signs. You are putting him down because you didn't notice those warnings signs and teach him different.

                      I realize he is older at 20, but it still might be possible to re home him instead of euthanizing. My 12 year old OTTB bit me once the first month I got him. The bite required stitches and I attended physical therapy for a few months afterwards. However, I worked with him on the ground on respect and that was the ONLY time he bit me. Yes it was a bad bite (i still carry the scar) but I did not euthanize him...

                      I really just don't agree with this decision
                      Why not try to find another place for him?
                      Rehoming a dangerous horse is wrong. The OP is taking responsibility as she should. This is a horse with a lifetime record of bad behaviour. 20 year old biting ASBs usually end up swinging from a meathook. She is saving him from that fate. Unless you are willing to take this horse, Perhaps you should reconsider your opinion. Of course you are entitled to it, regardless. But your situation with your horse and her situation with her horse are not even remotedly the same.

                      OP.. Hugs to you. Its a sad day but you will feel better when it is over, I promise you.
                      "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                      ---
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I went back and read your other threads regarding this horse. You are absolutely doing the right thing.
                        What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Obi View Post
                          Does anyone have any suggestions for dealing with putting a basically healthy horse down (but who has become dangerous)? I am trying my best to stay strong but it has not been easy.
                          My deepest sympathy.

                          Last year, I lost 2 dogs in one day and my heart was shattered. Grief goes when it goes, so allow yourself the time it takes. Cry if you need to, remember the good times when you can, imagine him the way you wish he could have been.

                          I know others have said it, but Obi, this is the right thing to do.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thoughts and prayers and hugs for your horse and you ~

                            Thoughts and prayers and hugs for your horse and you ~

                            This is the toughest assignment for horse owners ~ horse lovers ~

                            No advice ... just Jingles for strength and tears and hugs for ALL ~

                            Return to coth frequently for support & understanding ``` allow cothers to 'shoulder' some of your sorrow ~
                            Last edited by Zu Zu; May. 18, 2012, 09:23 AM.
                            Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Obi, you don't love this horse, you fear him. He's dangerous and will continue to try and hurt you if you allow him to live.

                              I salute you for doing what's best for both of you, and not passing this problem along to someone else.

                              I don't know how to make you not hurt, unfortunately. Just know that there are many of us here who understand and support you.

                              I'm looking at putting down my 26 y/o. He has physical problems, but he's also gotten unpredictable lately. He tried to barrel kick me a week or so ago for no other reason than he was feeling better than usual.

                              No way would I try and rehome an elderly horse with medical issues, especially one who isn't easy to love under the best of circumstances.
                              Homeopathy claims water can cure you since it once held medicine. That's like saying you can get sustenance from an empty plate because it once held food.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Please do not let anyone make you second guess your decision. You've given this horse many years of good living, despite the fact that there are probably very few people in the world who would have done the same. There comes a point in time where your safety has to be more important than the life of an animal who is obviously unhappy in this world- not to mention the liability issues you'd face were someone else to be harmed by this guy.
                                You can let him go knowing that you did right by him, sparing him the miserable end that many others like him have succumbed to.


                                And to the poster who suggested she "rehome" the horse and/or "retrain"- in this economy it is terribly hard to rehome sound, young horses, let alone aggressive, old ones. even if a new home was found, OP would have to sleep at night knowing that someone else was at risk of injury (or death! these are LARGE animals, which we sometimes forget!) and the horse was at risk of being sent to an unkind end.

                                OP you have all of the (sane) COTHers support here.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by pinkpony321 View Post
                                  Please do not let anyone make you second guess your decision.
                                  I second this. I am appalled that anyone would question this decision or advise you to do otherwise. If the horse has bitten you in such a way that you have permanent damage and is unpredictable and dangerous, you have a duty to yourself and to other humans who may have to interact with this horse to put him down. And I would bet that this horse is miserable as well.

                                  I run a rescue and deal with a lot of horses. Three times now I have had to recommend that horses be euthanized because of dangerous behavior. And in two of those cases, I've had people call me a horrible person for it. I didn't make those decisions lightly/easily, but I do stand by them.

                                  I ache for you now as you'll have to deal with some of this, too. Try to hard onto the fact that you are keeping yourself and others safe... and that you did try for this horse for a long time.

                                  *hugs*

                                  And to the poster who suggested she "rehome" the horse and/or "retrain"- in this economy it is terribly hard to rehome sound, young horses, let alone aggressive, old ones.
                                  I have to add on to that - We get asked to take in horses with dangerous behaviors, even one who killed someone, because the owners don't want to euthanize a 'healthy horse'. That people would knowingly put others in harm's way because they don't want to euthanize a horse really bothers me.
                                  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

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    OP - if you let us know the date I am sure we will all make sure to be thinking of you then.
                                    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Wanting to send hugs and thoughts for you OP. You are making a hard, but good decision, and I applaud you for it. I know you are physically alone, but you've got a lot of love and support on CoTH, and I know if any of us are close, many of us would be willing to be with you, if not physically, than emotionally. *hugs*

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        OP...It is always hard to euth a seemingly healthy/alert animal. You have your reasons, and they are good ones. You don't have to justify the need to do this to anyone. The horse has proven that he's dangerous. I say take him out there, give him an all you can eat bucket of sweet feed and while he's enjoying it the Vet can do his job. The horse will exit this world happy. You will know you did the right thing for him and for yourself. You will grieve but I hope you don't second guess your decision. There are worse things in this world than a humane death. Sending warm hugs your way.
                                        "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

                                        Comment

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