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How do you call it quits?

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  • How do you call it quits?

    Sorry this is long.. I don't even know why I'm posting this, I'm just having such a hard time with this and I'm hoping maybe someone here will understand.

    So I have this mare.. beautiful thoroughbred, sweetest thing you've ever seen - can be a bit annoying at times because she just wants to be the center of attention ALL the time but overall just a pleasure to be around and a truly happy horse.

    She is only 14 years old. She is healthy other than being pretty underweight (I just got her back a few months ago and we're working on this!).

    She has issues. She has a history of bucking - which was pain related, but one incident resulted in breaking my back and I just don't feel it's worth the risk to try getting on her. We have ridden her several times since that occurrence but she's just much happier not being a riding horse. She long lines and would probably love to drive. She doesn't tie reliably, and she does NOT load.. like at all.

    I have found out as much as possible about this mares history and she has been through hell and back before coming to me. I rehomed her once last year and she ended up being sold to a KID and then came back to me emaciated. I do NOT want this to EVER happen to her again.

    Due to some unforeseen financial issues I am not able to keep her. After the last time I always told myself if I couldn't keep her I would euthanize her, and not risk letting her fall through the cracks for the upteenth time in her life.
    Seemed perfectly reasonable. I never actually expected to have to let her go. Now that I *can't* keep her, the thought of euthanizing her is killing me. She's not sick, or injured - she's a relatively young, healthy horse who is full of life. I also lost another horse several months ago in a freak trailering accident as well as a dog. I'm not ready to euth another one, especially a healthy one...

    I have posted a few ads looking to rehome her, including one here on COTH.. but have either gotten no responses or scary ones. I even had a few people come to look at her - and all of them told me they were looking for one thing (a companion only horse), but then wanted to see her ridden, etc when they came to see her.

    I know the only way I can ENSURE she doesn't end up in another bad situation is to euthanize her. But HOW do you look into such bright eyes and do that?

    I guess I've already made up my mind.. but I keep waiting or putting it off. Just incase that perfect forever home is right around the corner. I can't keep her forever, I probably can't even keep her through the winter.

    Has anyone made the decision to euthanize rather than rehome a horse that could potentially hurt someone or (more than likely) would end up in the wrong hands? Do you have any advice for me..? I know my barn owners will not understand. I feel like I'm killing my horse for no good reason and I can't stand that thought - but I'm also terrified to risk rehoming her.

  • #2
    I have, and I have veterinarians that understand the problems, especially in today's economic climate.


    • #3
      I have.



      • #4
        I am so sorry.

        Realistically, your chances of finding the kind of forever home you want for her are slim. And if you do rehome her, there's no way you can guarantee that down the road, someone won't try to ride her. Sorry, you know all that already :-(

        It is the right thing to do.

        You're doing it for very good, sound reasons.

        That doesn't make it any less difficult.

        I have no advice, just a lot of sympathy and support.
        Last edited by McGurk; Oct. 3, 2012, 11:07 PM.
        The plural of anecdote is not data.


        • #5
          I understand and have done it. It was a very difficult decision but the right one for me.


          • #6
            Doing the right thing is not always the easiest thing. It is still the right thing.


            • #7
              I think you would be doing the right thing, and like McGurk have no advice, just support and completely understanding how difficult and wrenching it will be.
              If thou hast a sorrow, tell it not to the arrow, tell it to thy saddlebow, and ride on, singing. -- King Alfred the Great


              • #8
                Long story, but many years ago, I sold a horse to a professional and was 100% upfront about his issues. Regardless, it didn't end well.

                Looking back, I should have euthanized him. It was a lesson learned, for sure.

                Good luck with your decision, I know it is not an easy one.
                We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                • #9
                  You will be doing the horse the greatest service by letting him go, either on your property or at the teaching university as LMH did.

                  I didn't know LMH back in 2002 (I do now), but I'm glad she posted the link to her thread about Resolute -- because of it AND Your Thread Here, I will now be able help another mare that's a Nutjob due to human abuse & a traumatic head injury (was literally forced off a trailer... she went up, hit her head on the roof support and drove bone chips in).

                  This mare is owned by the farm manager's wife where I self-care board... Bella has been on the farm for 4 1/2 years... she can't be touched, literally, unless her head is in a bucket. If she sees you, you may get her to sniff your finger but then she's gone. If she sees a rope, she's gone. If she sees anyone in a ballcap, she's gone. Her owner just adopted a horse from a local rescue (body score of 2) and she cannot turn her out with Bella - Bella will attack her, teeth bared.

                  We truly believe that the abuse & injury have done too much damage and she is unrecoverable. Yes, the owner has tried everything. The last time she HAD to have veterinary care, it took the neighbor cowboy roping her in the field to get a halter on her and then quite the cocktail of drugs to get her even remotely drugged for treatment.

                  I will be asking LMH which university she chose & how she went about it because this information needs to be passed on to Bella's owner for when that day comes.... because, the bottom line is, that day IS coming.
                  <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                  • #10
                    While it may seem the opposite, there are far more chances for regrets if you try to keep/rehome her than if you secure a good ending for this mare.

                    I also hope that your vets are supportive and understanding. I was caught off guard by my vet's position when I discussed end plans for my horses.


                    • #11
                      Would you mind sharing which University? I have a horse that I will be putting down next month and would like to do this with him if possible.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pretttywaste View Post
                        Has anyone made the decision to euthanize rather than rehome a horse that could potentially hurt someone or (more than likely) would end up in the wrong hands?
                        You're not alone. I have an Arabian gelding that I'd euth rather than sell or give away.

                        He's a lovely little horse and can be a blast to ride, but he's rather sensitive and extremely reactive.

                        I'd worry that he'd go to someone who would get frustrated with him and decide he isn't worth the effort.

                        He's a handful and spooktastic at the best of times, so if the unthinkable were to happen and I could no longer afford to care for him, he'd be euthed.

                        I can't take the chance that he might be mistreated or badly hurt/kill someone who doesn't know how to handle him.

                        You have to do what's best for the horse. There are worse things than a quiet euthanasia at home surrounded by familiar faces.
                        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.


                        • #13
                          I am more than willing to share any information I can to help make this decision more bearable for anyone facing it.

                          At the time, I was in a 'unique situation' so I don't know if this opportunity is always available. I faced a similar issue not so long ago and was not able to find a place that would accept this sort of donation.

                          My then young horse Milo had been kicked and was at the hospital to have a bone chip removed. While there I shared my situation regarding Resolute with the surgeon performing Milo's surgery.

                          There was a vet intern? resident? (I never can sort through the terms) on Milo's surgical team that had one surgery left on his rotation or cycle so the head surgeon offered this arrangement to me.


                          I would advice calling any teaching hospital near 'you' (in our area UGA, Auburn, Florida) and ask if it is an option.

                          The world is so different now-so many unplaceable horses that they may be overwhelmed with such offers.

                          If you have a relationship with a vet at a school-or your local vet, ask him or her as well-your local vet may be able to help you 'in' at the University.

                          Be prepared for the decision to haunt you even though it is the right choice. I would not undo my decision however it haunts me more often than I thought it would.

                          I am not discouraging anyone-as a matter of fact I don't have a 'moral isssue' with putting down any animal that is unplaceable for whatever reason. I feel it IS more responsible than simply unloading an animal.

                          BUT being right does not make it any easier.

                          Just a head's up.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by McGurk View Post
                            I am so sorry.

                            Realistically, your chances of finding the kind of forever home you want for her are slim. And if you do rehome her, there's no way you can guarantee that down the road, someone won't try to ride her. Sorry, you know all that already :-(

                            It is the right thing to do.

                            You're doing it very good, sound reasons.

                            That doesn't make it any less difficult.

                            I have no advice, just a lot of sympathy and support
                            Good words.


                            • #15
                              I have as well. And it's been four years now, and I still feel 100% that I made the right choice.

                              If anyone is looking for a vet to do a euthanasia like this in Colorado, shoot me a PM, as I have a couple vets who are willing.


                              • #16
                                Would it be helpful to have a conversation with the vet and/or barn owner, just as you are doing here?

                                When I needed to make the decision for my old horse (due to health issues) I found it extremely helpful to talk to my vet. Obviously she has quite a perspective on euthanasia, having faced it many times. And by the way, she would euthanize a healthy unplaceable horse, I've asked her.

                                If the barn owner is not sympathetic then never mind. But if they have an open mind at all then maybe talking it over with them will either lead to rehoming ideas (unlikely but you never know) or having the BO get comfortable with the concept which would make it easier on you.

                                I always think if someone is opposed to euthanizing a horse that can only be a pasture puff then they need to be ready to step up and take the horse. Otherwise it's a case of "do as I say, not as I do."

                                Best of luck -- you have my sympathy and support.
                                Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/


                                • #17
                                  I have, with a 5 year old. It was an agonizingly painful decision and I cried a great deal over it. I exhausted every option I had to keep her because rehoming her was NOT an option.

                                  In the end, after she was buried, I felt a great sense of relief. I knew she was safe, she lived the best life I could have given her and to extend it further into some unknown direction wouldn't have brought me any satisfaction. In fact, I would have spent everyday worrying about where she ended up and what has become of her.

                                  Horses live each day in the present and in cases like this, I think we need to take a bit of inspiration from them. They don't know that there is a tomorrow. They only know of today and have vague memories of the past. Make her time with you good, do the best you can and I promise you, she will pass with peace and happiness. I hope you can take solace in that.

                                  The decision is ultimately yours but know that you are not the first nor the last to have to make this tough choice. People who have been there will not judge you and those who do cast judgement, well who cares what they think. They don't know what you're going through and what specifics played into your decision.

                                  Your heart, your horse, your choice.

                                  Jingles and hugs to you. It's not easy but I know you're doing the best you can.


                                  • #18
                                    I am sorry you are going through this. Would it help to have someone else take care of the arrangements and euthanasia?

                                    My friend is going through something similiar and she has stated she can't be there, or even make the call. I have told her that when the time is right, I will do everything for her. I am not emotionally attached to the horse, so it will not be as difficult for me. She will not have to be present.

                                    I know a lot of people feel they MUST be there, but in some cases I think it is easier on the horse if they are not.

                                    I think you are doing the right thing, as hard as it is.


                                    • #19
                                      I almost euth'd one of my geldings just in the past week. The only reason he's not dead is because our friend with the trailer was out of town and we had to wait for him to get back. Then during that time, while waiting, hubby wanted to try 'one more thing' and I was reluctant, already tried everything, so I thought. What we tried worked and has been working, so far. The cliff could come again at any time, any minute though and he will go to the vet for euthing. I'm not going to make him suffer one minute longer than he has to.

                                      I'm glad I called the vet, I now know there is an option for him, as well as my other gelding, should things get THAT bad. No one will want my guys, only hubby and I. My vet isn't opposed to euthing a horse if there isn't anything else to do with them. As long as the body is picked up by a local third party who does this sort of thing or he's euth'd in the stock trailer and we haul his body away to be buried or go to the transfer station. Or she'll come out to our house, our choice.

                                      I would think you'll feel badly about it, who wouldn't, but in the long run, you know you've done the right thing. Everyone has said what I am thinking, so will let it go at that.
                                      GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by caryledee1 View Post
                                        I am sorry you are going through this. Would it help to have someone else take care of the arrangements and euthanasia?

                                        My friend is going through something similiar and she has stated she can't be there, or even make the call. I have told her that when the time is right, I will do everything for her. I am not emotionally attached to the horse, so it will not be as difficult for me. She will not have to be present.

                                        I know a lot of people feel they MUST be there, but in some cases I think it is easier on the horse if they are not.

                                        I think you are doing the right thing, as hard as it is.

                                        Oh, I so agree with this - ALL of it. You're making the right decision, doing the right thing, and it may make excellent sense to get a friend to fill in for you on the day. This can be the best possible choice - it's brave AND wise.

                                        Years ago, one of my own long-time students - a full-time, hands-on, super-caring horse owner - asked me if I could please stand in for her on the day; she came out early in the morning, hand-grazed her horse and fed him his favourite treats, told him how much she loved him, and then got in her car and left, well before the vet arrived. I thought this was exactly the right decision! She knew quite well that she would break down and that her horse would sense her being upset and probably become agitated... I was glad to do this for them both, and the horse was relaxed and calm for the vet. Sometimes arranging euthanasia is the SECOND-TO-LAST thing you can do for your horse, and the very LAST thing you can do is to take yourself elsewhere during the process.
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