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Trying to Euthanize Two Elderly Horses - Looking for Creative Solution

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  • #41
    I donated my first horse to a Wolf Sanctuary when it was time to let him go. The people were nice and experienced in putting horses down by bullet. He had always been very resistant to drugs (sedation, etc) so I felt this was a swifter and kinder option for him. Also felt better that he could help other lives in the end...
    I also have friends that have donated to their local foxhunt.
    Hope you find a solution for those 2.
    "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


    • #42
      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?) .
      Her vet may very well lack any type of their own place for someone to come to. My first three years in practice, I lived in an apartment and worked out of my truck. I was in utter suburbia. Now, I have my own farm and while I do 99% small animal, I could in a pinch euthanize a horse on my property that was shipped to me. There is a spot set aside for my best friend's 32 year o


      • #43
        Aging has a different effect on different people. Sometimes we become more childlike and overwhelmed as we age. Perhaps this is happening with your dad.

        Becoming the parent here is the role your dad seems to need from you. Resolve the situation in a way that works best for your family.

        I am so sorry you are faced with this difficult situation. Treating all parties with compassion can help pave the way to resolution and peace. Best wishes.


        • #44
          I hope the big cat sanctuary is able to take them for you. That's tops on my list if it works out that I'm able to make the call in advance.

          Sorry you're having to deal with this.
          ... and Patrick


          • #45
            I'm from CT and we often order hay out of upstate Ny. You can get really good quality hay for far cheaper than you are quoting. Just do a google search, or check Craigslist. There's no reason these horses should have to starve. If that isn't a possibility have someone take your dad out for the day, call in a vet, have the horses euthanized and either bury on site or have them hauled somewhere else for burial. Just have everything taken care of before your father gets home. If its peace of mind he wants, just tell him they went to a new home. Sucks to have to lie, but its not right that they should be left to starve just because your dad doesn't want to be reasonable.
            Hillside Stable LLC
            Glastonbury, CT



            • #46
              Super sucky situation *hugs*

              Sanctuarys, rescues and zoos are the best options in this case. Some grass feed for a week before putting them down (cleaning their system up) and some do it right away. My friend couldn't afford euthanasia + hauling fees do she donated her old boy to a big cat rescue and they grass fed him for a week then had an experienced shooter come in. Nice way to go.


              • #47
                You have got enough hay to make sure these horses have a full belly while you decide what to do, don't you?

                Several people have quoted hay sources, at least get something sorted for these poor horses while plans are put in place.

                Personally I'm in favour of euthing at home - there must be a local farmer if there isn't a vet, who would come and shoot them. Travelling horses that age, who haven't been away from home for a while is going to be stressful for you and them.

                Your dad needs some tough love at the moment, those horses should not have an empty belly at their age, in winter, while the options are considered.


                • #48
                  Originally posted by HillsideStable View Post
                  I'm from CT and we often order hay out of upstate Ny. You can get really good quality hay for far cheaper than you are quoting. Just do a google search, or check Craigslist.
                  Upstate NY means different things to different people, so saying upstate is still a pretty vague answer.
                  Just because someone ships tractor trailer loads out of state for a price does not mean it is available to people to buy in state for that price for less than a tractor trailer load volume.

                  Do check CL for pricing. Good second cutting is crazy expensive and hard to find.


                  • #49
                    I'm very sympathetic to your situation. Having an older relative that refuses to euth or properly take care of elderly animals is extremely frustrating. I've been there. There seems to be some kind of disconnect. My uncle had a horse when he was a kid so he thinks he knows how to take care of horses. Except he had an older mare who needed TLC. She couldn't survive on just hay. She needed grain and she needed the TLC that most older horses need. But he wouldn't do it, because... I don't know. He never had to do it for the horse he had when he was a kid? And then the first time he put them out in the spring in a grass paddock near the road someone called the authorities. I helped him out with farrier appointments and what to feed, but he really didn't get current horse keeping standards. Thankfully, the mare was finally PTS because she became incapable of swallowing.

                    I'm surprised that you haven't been able to find cheaper hay. Even if you did though, it doesn't excuse the fact that your father doesn't want to pay or care for them, or take responsibility for not wanting to take care of them and euth.

                    Are there any openings at the barn where you currently have your old lady on self-care? Seems like moving them there would be a fairly affordable option if only for a month before you euth them. Maybe you could find another family member to talk some sense into them to pay for it or would pay for it himself?


                    • #50
                      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.
                      Be very careful with shooting a horse. I have had it done by an experienced huntsman with a small handgun. He placed it between the horses eyes and the result was painless and instant. However I had a horrible experience when an employee from a rendering plant tried to use a rifle, the horse spooked and he missed got him in the nose instead. I won't go into detail, this occurred over 20 years ago and that nightmare has never left me.


                      • #51
                        Trying to be compassionate and creative...

                        I think your dad might be relating to the horses because of their age and his own feelings of mortality. Perhaps some reassurance might help before the next conversation.

                        It also sounds to me like the 28 year old horse is ready, due to arthritis, but the 32 year old is still feeling spry. If it were my dad, I would want to lessen the blow. You might be surprised about how depressed he is after the loss of both. Older men are far more attached to their routines and their pets than they typically let on. Why not talk him into euthanizing the younger horse and keeping the older one? Give him some time to accept the loss of one horse and approach him again next fall. I would also find the hay and pay the difference, if I had to, just to keep things going for awhile.

                        An honest conversation, a set date for the vet to come out and euthanize one horse, no trailer ride, and a chance for your dad to say 'goodbye' would be preferable for all concerned. If burial is what you and your dad decide, you may have to wait until the ground thaws. I guess i'd get some more hay, regardless of cost, just to get through this spell. If the horses aren't suffering, there is no need to rush the process. Hugs to you and your dad. This must be hard on you both.
                        “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

                        St. Padre Pio


                        • #52
                          Lots of good advice so far, and I have nothing to add but support, sympathy and encouragement.

                          This is a case of the right thing not being the easy thing, I'm afraid.

                          Please do post back when you can and let us know how this was all resolved.

                          And bless you for trying to do the right things for these old guys.
                          The plural of anecdote is not data.


                          • #53
                            i'm so sorry i live too far away to help.
                            ((((((((((((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))))) )))))))


                            • #54
                              I have a small farm located in upstate NY as well...let me know if I can be of any help...might be too far away since 'upstate' can be a huge area but shoot me a PM and maybe we can figure something out.
                              The best little horse show series around! www.WinningWeekends.com


                              • #55
                                First of all, you don't shoot a horse between the eyes, it's actually above the eyes. You could have the same result as shooting one in the nose if you go right between the eyes.

                                We sold one of our horses to a mink farmer for market price. He had her out on pasture until he needed her, then put her down and fed her to the minks. Same idea as the cats but another market to look into. I also know a guy that trains wild animals and he will do the same for the wolves/bears. I know them both personally and would trust them to do a good job of the whole process; probably don't want to do that with just anyone.

                                I'd just buy them some feed for now and when you find a place, tell your dad you found a place that will care for them until their time comes. Let him say his goodbyes and let him off the hook. I wouldn't space it out, that would just be horrible to see the one horse all lonely and still hungry and it would just add a dimension to the pain to your dad that isn't necessary.
                                “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                                • #56
                                  *hugs* to the OP. what a crappy spot to be in. Any chance your dad could go away for the weekend, and you could have the vet "take care" of the horses I assume you would be able to bury them on the property while he is not there adn then he can go on thinking that they went to a good home?
                                  If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.


                                  • #57
                                    Hugs to the OP... such a difficult situation. Lots of good ideas and helpful members here on COTH so I'm sure something can be worked out sooner rather than later. Please update us on the situation when you can.


                                    • #58
                                      I believe FlashGordon and Meupatdoes are both in Upstate NY? I would PM them. I am scratching my head for others I know up there... how far is Morrisville?

                                      I wish you lived closer, I would definitely help you out.


                                      • #59
                                        A more specific,though still general location might help. Are we talking near Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton etc. I'm sure there are COTHers around each area that might be able to help.



                                        • #60
                                          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.
                                          Can the vet(s) make a house call at a neighbors house and you do it there?

                                          ETA: I would be hesitant for someone who doesn't shoot horses (or cattle) regularly to do a good job the first time. :-/