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Trying to Euthanize Two Elderly Horses - Looking for Creative Solution

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  • #21
    I agree with Long Spot, and hope that someone who lives in the area will let you haul to their place, or somewhere that has a vet who makes farm calls to euth on arrival. Are there any vet schools within driving distance? They might do the euth for you.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White

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    • #22
      If the big-cat place takes horses at all, they probably have someone who can shoot them themselves, so all you'd have to do is get them there.

      If they're really fine except for hay being too expensive (and I agree with him, those prices are nuts), shame it's so far, hay's cheaper for us, the barn has room, and if they had to be put down our neighbor's got a compost trench for large animals he doesn't mind sharing (he does/did cattle.) Hopefully someone nearby has room and food to give them at least a little time and a soft ending. I don't think it would really be lying to give them a "good home" that was extremely temporary. Like weeks. It wouldn't be a lie, they'd be going to a good home.
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      • #23
        It feels like more is going on here for your dad. Was he the "horse person" in your family or was it more you, your brother, etc?

        If this was truly never his passion maybe he is truly just tired of caring for them.

        Other then being old do the horses have weight or health problems?

        I know you said you can't afford board on 3 horses but would it be possible to find retirement board for them somewhere else that maybe doesn't have as cold winters where hay is a little more accessible?

        Just throwing out ideas I'm not against euthanizing just thinking of other options.

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        • #24
          OP, you mentioned that the nearest clinic is a 3 hour haul. Could you do that? Do you have truck/trailer? I know it would mean giving up an entire day for this, but the issue *would* be resolved at the end of the day.

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          • #25
            Hay in my part of CT is going for $5 a bale, if you weren't upstate I could get you in touch with some of them, but it would be a long drive for you.
            What kind of shape are the horses in currently?
            Please support S. 1406 to amend the Horse Protection Act and Prevent all Soring Tactics to the Tennessee Walking horse!
            https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/113/s1406

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            • #26
              Originally posted by HalteredFaultered View Post
              I called a few local vets (we don't have many), including my own regular veterinarian, but they only make house calls. The nearest clinic is over 3 hours away.

              I talked to a friend who mentioned donating their carcass to the zoo. There is a local big cat sanctuary that I have called about making a donation. I'm waiting for a call back from them. I could ask my brother, who is an experienced hunter, to go with me to haul the horses there alive and we may be able to do gunshot euthanasia on site and have the carcasses fed to the large cats. I don't know what my brother's response will be as we grew up with these guys. They've been a part of our family for a long time but I can't stand to see them be allowed to starve because of my father's stubbornness.
              Big cat rescue is an alternative that I've used. Do you have a trailer? If it's anything like the one I used, they have a vet on the site and they have someone who's a very good shot. In other words, I just hauled them in and they took care of the rest. FREE! Financially I can afford to have them PTS, but I can't bury them on my own property, and I think donating to the rescue is a good thing.
              "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George

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              • Original Poster

                #27
                Again, another one of my big frustrations. My parents aren't financially s trapped per se but the horses aren't at the top of the budget and won't ever be. The idea of spending a lot on hay, grain, fuel to drive to get hay, stuff to fix fences, bedding for the stalls, etc is not on their radar and won't be. Over the years, the barn and fences have fallen into disrepair due to neglect. If they won't fix the barn, I highly doubt they'll hire someone to take on the task of caring for the horses. Again, vastly different husbandry beliefs.

                My father grew up around horses and I did get my love of them through him. But now, as he's aged, the passion he used to have is gone, the task of trying to fix things now is overwhelming and he is just *done*. I wish he could see this through to the very end for the horse's sake but that just doesn't seem to be an option.

                The horses are in good health and the one horse is still very much sound and ridable but is not an easy ride. She's feisty and forward. It's hard to find an advanced intermediate or advanced rider willing to take on a 32 year old horse.

                The 28 year old winters hard and tends to lose weight. He's very creaky and arthritic and has a pretty significant swayback. His hocks click loudly and I've long said he could benefit from some winter blanketing and supplementation but this falls on deaf ears as well. My father is a minimalist horse keeper and I think he believes that horses can fend for themselves for the most part (hence the "let them loose" comment). I don't think he understands or recognizes the TLC some older horses require. While the older of the two is quite spry, the younger one is showing his age.

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                • Original Poster

                  #28
                  Originally posted by Toadie's mom View Post
                  Big cat rescue is an alternative that I've used. Do you have a trailer? If it's anything like the one I used, they have a vet on the site and they have someone who's a very good shot. In other words, I just hauled them in and they took care of the rest. FREE! Financially I can afford to have them PTS, but I can't bury them on my own property, and I think donating to the rescue is a good thing.
                  This is so good to hear. I'm waiting for a call back from them. I'll be honest, I don't know if I'll be able to be there to actually see them shot but I would like to have some sort of confirmation that they were in fact shot before being fed to the lions and tigers. I don't know why this is. I did witness a gunshot euthanasia before but it was to a severely injured downed horse that made it a necessity. I think seeing to bright and alert horses put down in this manner would bug me but I know it would be a necessity in order to utilize their body for donation.

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                  • #29
                    I feel terrible for you and for the horses. In comparison, at our barn, there are 2 old QHs, owned by the same lady. They are 35 and 32, blanketed, and they go out every day. The barn owner made a large run-in part of the barn into three pens. One for his 3 Belgians, one for his little QH and the middle one for the oldies. They have a door to a flat paddock. They have NO manners at all. You can barely halter them!! But their owner is there every.single.day to prepare their mash and fix blankets or whatever... Horses should be so lucky as these two!
                    I hope you find a solution to help these horses (are you too far to help take care of them?) Heck, I could not watch the horses I grew up with get so little care and attention.
                    And yes, hay is about that price here in Ontario!
                    HOw old is your dad?? How would he like this kind of care for himself in his old age?
                    I feel for you.

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                    • Original Poster

                      #30
                      Originally posted by snbess View Post
                      OP, you mentioned that the nearest clinic is a 3 hour haul. Could you do that? Do you have truck/trailer? I know it would mean giving up an entire day for this, but the issue *would* be resolved at the end of the day.
                      With the younger of the two having pretty significant arthritis, I'm trying to avoid this at all costs as I feel it would stress a lot. If I can't find another suitable option, I'll have to consider it strongly.

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                      • Original Poster

                        #31
                        Originally posted by FalseImpression View Post
                        I feel terrible for you and for the horses. In comparison, at our barn, there are 2 old QHs, owned by the same lady. They are 35 and 32, blanketed, and they go out every day. The barn owner made a large run-in part of the barn into three pens. One for his 3 Belgians, one for his little QH and the middle one for the oldies. They have a door to a flat paddock. They have NO manners at all. You can barely halter them!! But their owner is there every.single.day to prepare their mash and fix blankets or whatever... Horses should be so lucky as these two!
                        I hope you find a solution to help these horses (are you too far to help take care of them?) Heck, I could not watch the horses I grew up with get so little care and attention.
                        And yes, hay is about that price here in Ontario!
                        HOw old is your dad?? How would he like this kind of care for himself in his old age?
                        I feel for you.
                        I only wish that my dad could have found more time in his retirement to devote to these horses. I wish I could take them on but I cannot. I can't even do a cheaper self care option because I work 2 jobs and go to school full time.

                        I have my old mare, she's 20, in full care for $195 per month which is a steal in this area considering hay prices. In fact, I'm not far from Ontario. Believe me, if I could take them on, I would in a heartbeat and without question just to give them a level of care I believe they deserve for being such a big part of my early years.

                        This situation just blows. I'm not a crier but this has reduced me to tears multiple times today.

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                        • #32
                          How sad that he thinks turning them loose to starve is kinder than euthanasia. I really feel for you. you are in a tough place. Big Hugs and good luck!

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                          • #33
                            I am so sorry you are in this situation. Is there a vet school you could donate them to? At least the students would be learning something and then they will take care of the remains………….. Many hugs to you and thank you for taking care of this situation responsibly! What a tough spot you are in…………. We had a friend that was moving out of the country and felt like her older mare would not be taken care of while she was gone. She had to deal with the same sort of thing you are dealing with. She boarded her at her mom's, but her mom didn't want to mess with the horse. This particular one had COPD and had to be outside all the time. She was 28 or 29. She did euthanize the horse and cried the entire time doing it, but felt it was better than some other situations the horse could end up in. Best of luck to you……………………… :/

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                            • #34
                              I can see how barn owner might not let a stranger trailer two horses in, only for the purposes of being euth'd. But you are already boarding at a barn- did that BO really refuse to let you trailer them in and euth there? And the vet you use for your horses is refusing to make any exceptions to "house call" rules? Geez I'd be pissed if that were the case. It's an extraordinary circumstance and you'd think these people, whom you pay regularly and presumably have a good relationship with, would extend themselves the teeny tiny bit it would take to help you do this. (unless maybe I missed that you live far away?)

                              If the big cat sanctuary falls through, here's what I would do: tell your dad that he has to sign ownership over to you, because otherwise you are not legally able to sell or give them away. Which is true. And then, make arrangements with the vet and renderer to be there same day, and have the horses euth'd at the farm. Just be done with it. I am certain your father knows at some level that by turning them over to you "to find them homes", he is in actuality asking you to have them put down. If you do it at the farm, he may be angry for a bit but will get over it. And if he doesn't then there's other factors at play anyway (sounds like he's already resentful and angry for awhile, so what do you really have to lose. At least you'll know the horses got the humane end they deserve).

                              If that's just not an option for you, then I'd suck it up and trailer them (or hire someone) to the nearest vet clinic. A 3hr trip is not that heroic, difficult of a distance to ask the horses to endure.

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                              • #35
                                Originally posted by HalteredFaultered View Post
                                This is so good to hear. I'm waiting for a call back from them. I'll be honest, I don't know if I'll be able to be there to actually see them shot but I would like to have some sort of confirmation that they were in fact shot before being fed to the lions and tigers. I don't know why this is. I did witness a gunshot euthanasia before but it was to a severely injured downed horse that made it a necessity. I think seeing to bright and alert horses put down in this manner would bug me but I know it would be a necessity in order to utilize their body for donation.
                                Before I took a horse over there the 1st time, I was naive too about the method they would use. I envisioned them turning my mare loose with the cats I also told myself if I drove in the place and the cats started getting all excited I was going to turn around and leave. I drove down a driveway with tigers on both sides and they never even looked up from their nap! They woman who runs the place is super nice, and very sympathetic. She gave me a big hug, listened to me talk about the horse, and gave me the option to witness the shoot. I declined.
                                "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George

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                                • #36
                                  Have you contacted Cornell, Morrisville, Cazenovia or Cobleskill? Spring Farm Cares? I'm trying to think of anyone in my area who might either have a place for them, or could help you in some way. I know a few vets from the track, one of them might be able to help, at least with more options if nothing else.

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                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by HungarianHippo View Post
                                    I can see how barn owner might not let a stranger trailer two horses in, only for the purposes of being euth'd. But you are already boarding at a barn- did that BO really refuse to let you trailer them in and euth there? And the vet you use for your horses is refusing to make any exceptions to "house call" rules? Geez I'd be pissed if that were the case. It's an extraordinary circumstance and you'd think these people, whom you pay regularly and presumably have a good relationship with, would extend themselves the teeny tiny bit it would take to help you do this. (unless maybe I missed that you live far away?)

                                    If the big cat sanctuary falls through, here's what I would do: tell your dad that he has to sign ownership over to you, because otherwise you are not legally able to sell or give them away. Which is true. And then, make arrangements with the vet and renderer to be there same day, and have the horses euth'd at the farm. Just be done with it. I am certain your father knows at some level that by turning them over to you "to find them homes", he is in actuality asking you to have them put down. If you do it at the farm, he may be angry for a bit but will get over it. And if he doesn't then there's other factors at play anyway (sounds like he's already resentful and angry for awhile, so what do you really have to lose. At least you'll know the horses got the humane end they deserve).

                                    If that's just not an option for you, then I'd suck it up and trailer them (or hire someone) to the nearest vet clinic. A 3hr trip is not that heroic, difficult of a distance to ask the horses to endure.
                                    If you're going to trailer them to the vet to be euthed chemically, just load the arthritic one up with bute.

                                    This has to be really tough for you OP, I'm glad I'm not in your shoes. Rehoming the dog was hard enough for me.

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                                    • #38
                                      If I'm remembering correctly, MVP also has big cat sanctuary as a means of disposal experience. I hope she'll chime in, because I remember it went well, was respectful and the people very kind and knowledgable. I hope she'll see this and chime in so you feel comfortable considering it.
                                      "Aye God, Woodrow..."

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                                      • #39
                                        Can you get ownership of the horses, make arrangements for the horses to be euth'd and the renderer to pick up the horses at the farm and have your brother have your parents away from the farm for the day?
                                        Then just tell him they are in a better place.
                                        Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

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                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by SonnysMom View Post
                                          Can you get ownership of the horses, make arrangements for the horses to be euth'd and the renderer to pick up the horses at the farm and have your brother have your parents away from the farm for the day?
                                          Then just tell him they are in a better place.
                                          i was going to suggest something along these lines. (actually, i was going to say trailer them to your barn and have a house call, but this idea is even better!) i feel so sad for you. looking at my elderly horse, i have so much sympathy for people going through this.
                                          My mare wonders about all this fuss about birth control when she's only seen a handful of testicles in her entire life. Living with an intact male of my species, I feel differently! WAYSIDE

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