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Can we have a good post about old lame unwanted horses

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  • #61
    I will add one more, because it's a mom story.

    One of our very first boarders thirty some years ago was a pony named Shannon who was bought for a young girl who rode her for many years, and then as many girls do, lost interest in ponies when she discovered boys. Her parents put her up for sale, but the mom kept fretting about finding her a good home and how they could ensure she would always be loved and cared for. She came to the realization that once the pony was sold she would no longer have that control and she decided she couldn't do that. She finally gave her to my mother knowing the pony would have a home for life. She taught my niece and my daughter to ride, and finally retired, then went to the Bridge at age 32. Her original owner could probably have gotten some good money for her, and no they weren't horse people, and no they weren't wealthy, but her main concern was for the pony. The child's mother actually came out to vist sometimes. I always really admired her for putting the pony's welfare first.
    \"Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.\" Anne of Green Gables


    • #62
      I own a 26 yo 3/4 Arb gelding that I have had since he was a green spooky, undisciplined 5 1/2 yo. We did some low level eventing, dressage, he was a PC mount for 6 years, did much trail riding, some 'A' rated shows was an awesome show jumper. X-country was not exactly his favorite thing, and my trainer always said if we went clean I earned it. Horse taught me a lot about never taking riding for granted, and kept my riding skills sharp. It was from riding him, I am able to deal with green horses.

      A few years ago, my husband started to ride him (never thought the day I would see my skittish, hot 3/4 Arab become a mellow beginners mount - husband started riding at 58). The old boy developed an ossification on the inside of his left knee, and will stumble under saddle. When loose, he moves around freely and can gallop with my 6 and 9 yolds no problem. I retired him from riding this summer as I feel he is not safe to ride any longer. I do not want him to fall on somebody or hurt himself.

      He spends his days on my farm now out grazing on grass pastures and running with his two other friends. In fact, when the horses go out to pasture in the morning, he is always the leader of the pack galloping up the hill to the grass. I don't think he misses being ridden, is happy with a grooming, a carrot or an apple or so.

      He will be with us until the day I have to put him down, or find he has passed on his own.


      • #63
        These are the fortunate ones. I feel for those owners, struggling to keep up with kids' costs, payments and horse costs, their horse goes lame, vet bills are unending and they cannot see their way out. It is either keep the old horse, never afford another rideable horse, or....

        For myself, I'll just keep ambling around on my older grey mare who is probably not as crocked up as her owner.
        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


        • #64
          I have had Ace for about 30 years... maybe 31 I loose track. I tried to retire him to trail riding at 16 when he started having trouble if I worked him too hard (dressage). He would not relax on the trails and racing through the woods was not my idea of fun. So I eventually stopped riding him. He has had more years retired than in work really. He looked great until he reached his 30s and has had numerous issues; mass on bladder, stroke, colic, choke and Cushings. He is blind in one eye and pretty much deaf. He still walks, trots and gallops. He can get down and roll and get back up on his own and still keeps my QH mare in line.

          I have pictures with him in my prom dress (I am in my mid forties) and I remember taking him to high school games dressed in school colors! he went to college with me and made the big move to MS from NH in his late 20s.

          He is 35 and we take it one day at a time now. Pretty much weekly I have to stand back and ask if it is time... not yet he says and he runs out of his stall. Every day on my walk to the barn I dread the day the answer is yes.
          No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill


          • #65
            I have a "free" horse. She was 8 when I got her, thin, terrible feet, wild and crazy. She's beautiful now but has arthritis and has had bouts of laminitis and other exotic diseases. I could have had a super nice bred broodmare for what I spent nursing her through her illnesses for 11 years but I love her dearly. Last one was sinker founder and seeing her run and buck like a maniac in the pasture is a great reward!

            I have 1/3 of a $200 horse. She's 23, a daugher of Secretariat, has a scarred shut vagina so no breeding even if we wanted to, a horrible bladder infection (currently and still), she's over the rainrot and various other ailments, she never raced so she probably was never broken either, she's swayback and has cost a few thousand to bring her back from the land of the nearly dead. Others would say shoot her but she's such a doll.

            So we have very large dogs that just look like horses!

            Here is Summer: http://pets.webshots.com/album/102900688vySgBO

            Here is Kristin Ann: http://s173.photobucket.com/albums/w...Kristin%20Ann/

            I'm just a sucker for those TB mares...

            Before that I had a wonderful App for 16 years and kept him until he had to be put down from EMND. He also had bad arthritis in the hocks and it was just before all the new injectables came out. But the EMND would have gotten him anyway. They had only just discovered that as a disease when he died.
            Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

            Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


            • #66
              Originally posted by okggo View Post
              Namely, I'm so tired and frustrated with all the "my horse is lame, I don't want it any more, but I don't understand why nobody else does either" threads. Not just here, everywhere.

              Broodmare is now barren, not really sound enough to ride, so she is going to have her boyfriend put a bullet in her head.
              MY frustration is the perception that somehow putting an old horse down is cruel, and in particular, the perception that putting a bullet in a horse's head to put it down is cruel.

              I've seen enough horses put down over the decades that I MUCH prefer shooting them to injections. I've seen one miss with the bullet approach, quickly remedied and the horse did not suffer at all in the few seconds' interval. But I have seen several misses with injections, and these are ugly indeed. The worst example here in Utah, about 10 years ago (I did not see it first hand but instead read the press accounts and chatted w/other vets at the same practice), where a filly was put down (theoretically, anyway) and the theoretical carcass was hauled to the landfill and dumped in accordance with county regulations. Problem was, the filly was not dead and struggled in the landfill to regain her footing. Really fortunate that the landfill personnel saw this and got the vet out asap to put her down 'again.'

              So, if someone comes to me and says 'I have an old, unsound horse and we are going to shoot her,' I'm going to say great, that's the right thing to do.

              My own horses enjoy retirement for as long as they are comfy. I would not dream of trying to palm them off on someone else or sending them to a rescue. If for any reason I were unable to give a retired horse the life it deserves, it is MUCH kinder for me to put that horse down in order to ensure that it doesn't suffer. And it general, it is MUCH kinder to put them down too soon rather than too late. I'd rather deprive a beloved horse of a few good days than risk even one final bad day.


              • #67
                We bought my first pony when I was in 3rd grade for $500 from my trainer who wanted to retire her out of the lesson program. She was euthanized at our farm when I was a senior in college due to complications from a stroke. She was wonderful and the whole family still misses her.

                My parents have my large pony that we purchased in 1983 for $425 (with delivery included) from a riding camp when the camp owner did his annual pre-winter dispersal. He is now at least 32 years old and sadly failing, but we still own him and will euthanize him when he is no longer functional and comfortable as a pasture ornament.

                My parents also have my junior horse that was purchased to be my transition off ponies for a year. He was supposed to pack me around the childrens hunters and then move on. I finished him up in the big eq and juniors. I retired him after winning champion in the A/O's at a nice sized A show. He then went on to be a fun plaything for many more years. Bought as a 6 year old. He turned 30 this year. Other than heaves and allergies to everything on the planet, he is doing well.


                • #68
                  Not mine, but my best horse buddy has her mother's old, lame TB for life. Her mother bought Minnie in utero back in 1982. Minnie is 25, she's been on and off unsound since age 8, and my friend's had her in her backyard barn for years now. Her mother died last year, and my friend's husband started in on her about "getting rid of that old useless horse" but my friend refused to even think of it. (They have the money to keep her, but her husband is a tightwad ) He's stopped mentioning the "old useless horse."

                  I owe Minnie a great deal, as she is the horse who was most instrumental in my return to riding. I had less than a year riding her, and I was really scared of her at first because she's, well, a typical TB, but we developed such a bond, and she took me to my first show as a re-rider, and put up with Intro dressage well enough that we got a second place ribbon I am very sad that her old unsoundness caught up with her and I have not been able to ride her for a year. I go feed her carrots and rub her forehead and brush her.

                  Photos from last year:


                  And a video from a year ago -- look at her go!
                  You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                  1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                  • #69
                    I bought my daughter's pony when she was 8 and he was 21. She rode him until she was 13, then he mostly ruled the herd and enjoyed life. He passed away at 31. I say he did me one last favor, simply laid down outside the barn early one morning and died peacefully.

                    I bought my Arab mare when she was nine and I was 29. I finally learned to really ride on her, and she bravely went wherever my equestrian fancy took us. She's 31 now, swaybacked, but otherwise happy, fat and enjoying her life and the occasional light trail walk.

                    Her son, a gelding, is 16, and he's pretty much a pet because of my busy schedule. But he'll be with me as long as we're both here and my kids know he's part of the inheritance, if I go first.


                    • #70
                      The love of my life is 35 years old. I’ve had him since he was 16 (and I was 14!). My college roommates and I used to joke when he turned 21 that we’d pin a note and a $20 to his halter and send him into the convenience store for us. He’s a 17h (although now it might be more like 16.2 or 3) Irish TB who’s built like a Mack truck.

                      My trainer found him for me when I was a Pony Clubber looking to move up. When I first saw him, I thought, “Huh.” He looked *big*, but was kind of a dull brown with big ears. The minute the saddle went on, though, he transformed into a magnificent animal who couldn’t wait to perform. He was a campaigner retiring from the show ring…I was his second career. He was, and is, the most incredible horse I’ve ever ridden – huge stride, incredible jumper. Jaw-dropping extended trot. And settling into the saddle on him felt like coming home.

                      He went with me to college, where I used to swing by the barn late at night after waiting tables to pay for his board. He came back home with me for graduate school and settled into a quiet family barn - while I moved houses and jobs around his location.

                      Over the years, this horse has had more medical problems than God. Bad feet (hello, lifelong custom shoes!), bronchitis, colics, septicemia, random infections. At 18 he developed the worst case of lymphangitis my vet had ever seen; it took him a year to recover. At 24 he somehow fractured his sinus cavity. At 32 he was diagnosed with Cushings (no surprise there.) Last summer year he bowed a tendon in the field and was on stall rest for 6 months. But he’s still ticking…and it’s all worth it, especially on those days that he throws out a few rusty bucks and farts in the paddock.

                      Through it all he’s been my constant companion…and constant source of worry. He can be totally bombproof when any other horse would turn inside out, and then he’ll drag you into the next county to get away from the monster behind the bush. He’s terrified of all livestock (ask me what it was like boarding next to a dairy farm). He’s not a cuddle bug but is very affectionate in his own way, and loves nothing more than a good game of “grab my tongue!”.

                      He costs me more than my mortgage payment every month (and he lives at home with me!), and I haven’t ridden him (or any other horse, for that matter) in 9 years. But I love him to pieces and am honored to share every day with him. I wouldn’t trade him for all the money in the world. I’ve been prepared for his passing for years now; I know that I’ve had him far, far longer than anyone could have ever imagined. And I’ll be devastated when he goes. But I’ve been so incredibly blessed to share my life with him.
                      In memory of Rebuff (1974-2009)

                      Rest in peace, my sweet man


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Beverley View Post
                        MY frustration is the perception that somehow putting an old horse down is cruel, and in particular, the perception that putting a bullet in a horse's head to put it down is cruel.

                        I'd rather deprive a beloved horse of a few good days than risk even one final bad day.
                        Beverly, I just want to add an Amen, Sister, to that statement. I know not everybody has the means to take care of 3, 4, 5 aging/ailing equines. I just want to add my name to the list of people who does not oppose euthanization of an older (or younger) horse with issues. I would MUCH, MUCH rather see an owner put a horse down knowing they may still have had some time left than to try to place the horse elsewhere *hoping* that someone else will take care of the horse's retirement.


                        • #72
                          We took in Red Cloud: owner didn't want him. 18, Uveitis. O'Henry, retired field hunter that had been ridden into the ground. He had terrible navicular and was somewhere around 18. We met killer's price to retire him on our farm. Boundless was a retired wheeler, foxhunter, show & lesson horse with a torn suspensory ligament, close to 30 when he came to us and he lived for another 10 years.

                          Others who came to us: Tashmoo was left behind by his family when they moved away and was found starved and dehydrated, Kismet was a track reject, Bogey was a boarder's horse whose owner came upon hard times and was going to sell him to a low end dealer so we bought him, Cope was 3 year old skinny TB in a filthy livery barn near our home. I would see her going out hour after hour, day after day and it broke my heart so we bought her. Cinnamon was betweem 18 and 20 and auction/slaughter bound so we took him in and had him operated on when his navicular did not respond to traditional efforts. He has had 12 great years since then.

                          There are others but these are some of the happy stories about some of the horses we have been able to help along the way. Some people say, 'Why do you have all those horses that can't be ridden," and my response is, 'It's not always about the riding."


                          • #73
                            I owe my thoroughbred a wonderful retirement. I got him when he was 8 years old and he is now 17. I did everything with that horse from childrens hunters, equitation, jumpers, fox hunting, dressage, eventing, trail riding. He was truly the wonder horse of my childhood. I am now 22 and he is now semi-retired and is on the verge of complete retirement. He has severe arthritis in his hind end, and now his left knee is knotted and stiff from arthritis as well. As long as he keeps his weight, eats, poops, plays out in the pasture he will have a forever home with me.


                            • #74
                              Beverly -- spot on. I think the insinuation that shooting a horse is something that "drunk rednecks" do is offensive. I've seen a couple of euthanasias gone wrong, and I would rather have one shot any day. A bullet is much faster, and is painless.

                              The second part of Beverly's post is completely accurate as well -- better too early than too late. I have two retirees currently. We put down my old pony (34) this summer. I have posted about this before -- I will not make the same mistake of waiting too long again with my two remaining retired guys. We knew my pony was struggling to get up occasionally, but didn't do it because he seemed happy. Then we found him down and he couldn't get up.

                              To tie the two together, a neighbor shot him for us after it became clear he was not getting up. We didn't have to wait for the vet, and he was gone instantly and painlessly. (This is SOP in our farming community -- it is hard emotionally to put down your own animal, so we trade off and do it for each other.)

                              Every horse owner should know how to put down their horse (and have the means to do so). If the vet isn't available in an emergency, which happens, you may be the only source of mercy your horse has.


                              • #75
                                I admit I get tired of that crap too.
                                We had to put one of our goats down Labor Day morning. Emergency euthanasia.

                                Would it have been easier for ME if the vet had given it a shot?


                                Was it in the best interest of Yoda (my goat).

                                No. He'd been suffering for a while when I found him, it was 6am on a holiday morning, the clinic was closed and the vet was at least 1 1 1/2 hours away.

                                I gave him a kiss on the nose and told him goodbye - and my husband shot him in the back of the head (correct procedure for adult goats)

                                He died instantly.

                                It is not inhumane to dispatch an animal with a firearm. What is important is the you know how to safely handle the firearm, know how to dispatch the animal correctly, and know which caliber to use.

                                I loved that goat - had him since he was just a little kid I could hold in my arms. I'd never have done ANYTHING that was not in his best interest, and I have no qualms about paying big vet bills.

                                And if any of y'all would like to check with the vets I use, they not only have no problems wtih this method, they agreed we did the right thing. And trust me, my vets don't have "redneck" listed in their C.V.'s

                                Any method of euthanasia can go wrong. If someone isn't trained in the use of a firearm, and does not know how to perform euthanasia, or is too upset to do it - by all means. Get the vet out. I know a vet would not want any client to do this if they weren't able to do it right.

                                But please don't assume that a person who dispatches an animal, properly, with a firearm, is a "drunken redneck". Before the juice came along - ALL animals were dispatched this way.

                                Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
                                Beverly -- spot on. I think the insinuation that shooting a horse is something that "drunk rednecks" do is offensive. I've seen a couple of euthanasias gone wrong, and I would rather have one shot any day. A bullet is much faster, and is painless.

                                The second part of Beverly's post is completely accurate as well -- better too early than too late. I have two retirees currently. We put down my old pony (34) this summer. I have posted about this before -- I will not make the same mistake of waiting too long again with my two remaining retired guys. We knew my pony was struggling to get up occasionally, but didn't do it because he seemed happy. Then we found him down and he couldn't get up.

                                To tie the two together, a neighbor shot him for us after it became clear he was not getting up. We didn't have to wait for the vet, and he was gone instantly and painlessly. (This is SOP in our farming community -- it is hard emotionally to put down your own animal, so we trade off and do it for each other.)

                                Every horse owner should know how to put down their horse (and have the means to do so). If the vet isn't available in an emergency, which happens, you may be the only source of mercy your horse has.
                                Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                -Rudyard Kipling


                                • Original Poster

                                  Just wanted to add, in the situation I mentioned, I assure you 110% it WAS a drunk redneck.

                                  And I can speak locally, most of the people that would offer to shoot a horse in the head have no idea where to hit them. I went through training with AC when I was in the academy, and while primarily we were target taught with deer, we were shown the right and wrong way to put other animals down with firearms. And let me reiterate there IS a right and a wrong way!!!

                                  Would you want somebody clueless shooting your horse? What if the first time doesn't kill him? Second time? Now your horse is writhing in pain with 2-3 bullets in his head. Maybe the person took out an eye while he was at it. Get where I'm going with this? And trust me, I speak from experience, I've had to shoot more than my fair share of deer with bullet wounds to the head (provided by somebody else) but still quite alive and in extreme pain. The product of the "expert" hunters in the area.

                                  Vent over.

                                  And btw, who ever said only drunk rednecks shoot horses? I mentioned my specific rescue. It just happened to be true to the case, but frankly I don't even think I spelled that out.

                                  Edited to add, those of you preaching that a bullet is painless clearly have NOT seen what a misplaced bullet can do.

                                  I had the joy of responding to a domestic one day where the boyfriend put a bullet in the dogs head. It went through the back and out his eye. Yeah, real painless. Oh, btw, doggie was still alive.
                                  Celtic Pride Farm
                                  Become a fan on Facebook!


                                  • #77
                                    Two here.
                                    Horse #1 I bought off the track when he was 3. He was NQR a few months later. We muddled through dressage for another year or two, saw many vets who charged lots of $$ but made no difference to him and then I called it quits - he was just too uncomfortable to do it. He's about to turn 10 and lives happily in a pasture, doing an occasional trail ride. He's my forever horse.

                                    Horse #2 I bought 2 years ago. Within a month he had a shoulder injury, not clear if it was preexisting or not. I can't really afford two (I board). Heck, I can hardly afford one. Last week, I made the tough decision to send him to Alabama, where he will live in my mother-in-law's enormous back pastures with 2 other horses. If he gets better, great, if not, he has a pretty cushy life there. I may eventually find him another home, because he is quite sound for walking on the trail, just can't trot or canter safely with a rider and he's a wonderful guy. He likes people and would probably adore a home with someone who just wanted to walk the trails from time to time.


                                    • #78
                                      My mare is 21, I got her 10 years ago. She was in the paper for pennies. They didn't want her because she was too hard to ride. I found her in a field, 300 pounds underweight, and bought her on the spot. Took her home, gave her some groceries, and she ended up being my juniors horse. Her show name : Finders Keepers. She's now lame from arthritis and has bad heaves, and is retired. I spent 3 years trying to find the perfect home, and have succeeded. She lives in or out, her choice, 24/7. 3 meals a day, all the hay she can eat, and has a fabulous, formerly unwanted gelding as her best friend.

                                      My friend and BO adopted the gelding. He is a QH. Was started young, worked to his breaking point, and then went lame. He spent the next 8 years in a stall. No turnout, and never taken out. He's still lame, but not confined to a stall, and they are living happily ever after. And we are on the lookout for a third to add to their family.
                                      Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.


                                      • #79
                                        Two for me as well:

                                        Rags- Bought her 14 yrs ago as my shiny new show horse, she was 7yrs and I am her 8th owner. She is now 21 we have had a good "show career" together won quite a bit around TX. She was retired when I left for college and turned into a broodmare, she is the proud momma to two. She aborted a foal at about 5mo three years ago and I thought she was going to die. I have never thought about breeding her again after that. So, she is my pasture ornament that I still love to lightly ride. She could do more than I ask her to, but she doesn't need to. The way I see it is she is the best thing that ever happened to me, I'd like to keep her around as long as possible.

                                        Kibo- Acquired her 2 1/2 yrs ago. She is also 21, not sound to ride but I knew her as a great jumper and I could not let her go. I did the crazy thing and breed her, and in April she gave me a wonderful filly (that I plan to keep forever also). I would really like to breed her again, judging by this last filly, this momma can produce!!! I have offered her up as a free lease but that is only because she is so great as a mom and if anyone wants to breed her, I would rather see her have a job than not. But, I have no problem keeping her the rest of her years either!!!


                                        • #80
                                          I've got two also.

                                          Gus - Has had a bad stifle for years (due to an injury shortly after I got him). Ended up this spring with a torn cranial cruciate ligament in the opposite stifle. Stall rest and gradual rehab had him doing well. Definitely not sound, but he was improving. Late August/early September he did something to his hind cannon bone. Found out it's a soft tissue injury that could take months to heal. So, back to rest and icing that leg until the swelling is gone.

                                          Oh, and did I mention that he's got ucler-like symptoms now due to the bute he's been on? And, he's got uveitis, some weird thyroid problem (hyperthyroid) among other things.

                                          Gringo - He was my FREE horse. Yeah right. So, Gringo's got a fractured coffin bone that was missed on the PPE (at the time no pain was associated with the fracture). He's a nut who's got more then just a screw loose. Still healing from the fracture... but many never fully recover. He's only 5. Got when he was a late three year old.

                                          Both boys are on supps to keep them comfortable. Gringo's got corrrective shoeing to help with the fracture and Gus can (thankfully) remain barefoot. I'll have both boys until I can no longer afford them, so hopefully for quite a while yet. There was one moment in time that I was going to sell Gringo, but that was before we found out about the fracture. He can be a very dangerous horse at times and I just don't want him to end up in the wrong hands.

                                          Yep. I'm in debt up to my eyeballs... but I love both boys. I have a great vet that's willing to let me make payments, to an extent, and knows that I do really care about the both of them.
                                          Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
                                          See G2's blog