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Making a hard decision (long)

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  • #21
    D, I'm so glad to hear your concern for this guy. I really hate to see horses put down over one isolated instance of some type of bad behavior, even really bad behavior. There is another current thread about a gelding who suddenly exhibited really bad behavior. His owner is treating him for ulcers and gave him a Depo injection with good results. Maybe ask a vet about medical reasons for this kind of aggression. Another poster suggested that we do not owe retirement to horses that haven't earned it with us. I believe that we owe any horse in our possession the benefit of carefully thought out decisions taking into account the horses best interests as well as what we can and cannot do.

    The other thread is "Damned horse lost his mind..." or something like that.
    Last edited by ptownevt; Apr. 24, 2013, 12:42 PM. Reason: other thread
    "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp

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    • #22
      Honestly, I didn't realize this was an idolated instance. In that case, I personally feel that the horse desrves to be evaluated and some alternatives need to be explored --- unless, you really do want only 2 horses and are looking for an excuse to put him to sleep.

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      • Original Poster

        #23
        I find that a bit of a cheap shot, Hundredacres. You are of course entitled to your opinion. If I had wanted a horse off my feed bill, would I have REALLY brought one home? No. I've given this horse a good home for seven years...if I had wanted him off my feed bill it would have been years ago.
        I would LOVE to have an explanation for yesterday...I really would. That does not take away the fact that he is now considered unsafe and that he poses a risk to other horses, and if humans are there, then are they at risk too?
        If I try to remedy it and believe I've found a solution only to have it happen again, then where does the responsibility lie if he hurts another horse? Squarely on my shoulders.
        I would love alternatives.
        D.
        Founder of the I LOFF my worrywart TB clique!
        Official member of the "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique
        http://wilddiamondintherough.blogspot.ca/

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        • #24
          I didn't mean for it to come off like that. My personal opinion is that he deserves a medical evaluation, but it's always up to any horse owner to euth their animal, if the alternative is re-homing. I would put mine to sleep before re-homing because I've read too many horror stories and honestly -- bleieve me --- I would not pass judgement (not that it matters what I think anyway ) . There are worse things in the world than euthanizing a horse.

          ETA: I just reread my response and it did sound sh!tty. I'm sorry. I'm at work and shouldn't be posting between tasks!

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #25
            Originally posted by hundredacres View Post
            I didn't mean for it to come off like that. My personal opinion is that he deserves a medical evaluation, but it's always up to any horse owner to euth their animal, if the alternative is re-homing. I would put mine to sleep before re-homing because I've read too many horror stories and honestly -- bleieve me --- I would not pass judgement (not that it matters what I think anyway ) . There are worse things in the world than euthanizing a horse.

            ETA: I just reread my response and it did sound sh!tty. I'm sorry. I'm at work and shouldn't be posting between tasks!
            Hey thanks....you have no idea how hard this whole thing is (actually, I can tell that you do) and the wonderful internet makes meaning where it shouldn't sometime. Am fortunately in the part of my work day where I am solo now and can indulge myself in some tears...my other half is having to pretend to be a tough guy at his job and pretend that everything is normal, thankyouverymuch. Not easy. Have told a couple of friends...I know that one is upset with me, and that hurts me even more, because I would like to think that she knows me well enough that I have a damned good reason to make such a final choice. Losing our older gelding suddenly at Christmas was hard enough...having to make the decision for another in this way is brutal. The worst is second guessing yourself...what if? Maybe? and then imagining the rest of the scenario...finding out that one of them broke something or was severely injured, and realizing that I SHOULD have done what it looks like I need to do. I brought it on here knowing that I'd get some clear thought from people outside of the situation, and am glad for that. Am hoping the rescue I contacted has some good ideas...but I have no desire to shuffle him off on someone else as their problem...especially when I do care for him and want a kind end for him when that time comes.
            D.
            Founder of the I LOFF my worrywart TB clique!
            Official member of the "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique
            http://wilddiamondintherough.blogspot.ca/

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            • #26
              We had a similar situation happen with one of our geldings years ago. He is a pony size very sturdy-built QH. We have now had him almost 20 years. During that time he had lived fairly constantly with another TB gelding and then some add-ons to the field at various times. The TB had a brain tumor and had to be put down, which left the QH with no companion, so we added him in with two other older geldings that he had lived with previously. Similar as you describe, he tore into the other two geldings, who never offered any resistance.

              I have never seen an attack like that and hope never to see anything like it again.

              Fortunately, we had space to keep the QH by himself. Not sure what we would have done otherwise.
              \"Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.\" Anne of Green Gables

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              • #27
                My thought is to have a phone call with the vet to see if he/she has any insight and thinks it would be worth a physical exam, or drawing blood, etc. or not. I was just talking to someone who's normally nice horse turned into a monster and it turned out to be Lymes. I would just want to do it for peace of mind with the decision to euthanize. Normally I have no issues with euthanasia, but since this is an isolated incident maybe it is worth a chat?

                It is easy to give advice when I wasn't there and didn't see the incident, or to spend other people's money, so take it with a grain of salt.
                DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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                • #28
                  I caught him and handed him to DSO who went to bring him in....he went into the barn quietly and then bolted backwards dragging DSO facedown until he let go (DSO is a big guy and realized I was about to get flattened while bringing in middle gelding). Caught him again and he was quiet.
                  I doubt anyone wants to deal with a horse that is a pain in the ass to ride, attacks horses on turnout and drags someone. Spend as much money as you want on a vet to make sure there isn't some obvious issue, and if there is not, a kind, painless end is fine.

                  Horses are big and can do damage, and aggressive horses either need very special handling or to go to God's Big Pasture. I doubt anyone capable of handling an aggressive horse actually would want one with such limited potential.

                  If you feel guilty, go adopt a sweet horse to take his place.

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                  • #29
                    Dee, I wouldn't do the rescue route. Honestly. There is no guarantee that he won't end up in the wrong hands....and your friend who is giving you a hard time, just drop her from the conversation. I had a friend that I actually lied to about my gelding - I told her he was injured and PTS. I didn't need to hear her gasp if I told her if I told the truth . She had a dog that was well passed the comfortable stage and was suffering, and a horse with EPM that was a danger to anyone who had to handle her - yet she felt like some hero for pouring money in to them. This is your decision, and yours only.

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                    • #30
                      I would put him down. I don't do "fool me twice, shame on me." So sorry Dee, I know what a difficult decision it is for you. Huge hugs.

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                      • #31
                        If it were me, I wouldn't be so fast. Give him some time to settle. Have the vet out for an exam, maybe some bloodwork. I think I would try them over the fence for a while before deciding to PTS.

                        Just remember, a rescue is only as good as their adoption coordinator. Crap happens sometimes.

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                        • #32
                          I am sure you will make the right decision, but if you were a personal friend I would not think worse of you for choosing to put him down. He has had quite a few good years with you and with the number of kind, gentle and talented horses that are killed in a non humane way every day, I am always baffled at why people get so upset over the idea of humane euthanasia.
                          If he were my horse and I did not have my own property to house him on, I would euthanize.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by DeeThbd View Post
                            I would LOVE to have an explanation for yesterday...I really would. That does not take away the fact that he is now considered unsafe and that he poses a risk to other horses, and if humans are there, then are they at risk too?
                            If I try to remedy it and believe I've found a solution only to have it happen again, then where does the responsibility lie if he hurts another horse? Squarely on my shoulders.
                            I would love alternatives.
                            D.
                            But you never know, that might be a one time incident. We bought an ex-chaser for $1. He came in as part of a polo string, with a mare. When we separated the mare from him he lost his ever loving mind. He reared up and nailed me in the head, both front hooves. I saw it coming and slipped in the mud trying to get away.

                            He never did it again. Sometimes fear does strange things. I was always very careful with him...but he was a big old sweetheart after that.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              You are being very conscientious and thoughtful about this. Put me down with the 'vet consult' recommendation crowd, but if no good medical explanations / solutions are present, I wouldn't fault you for putting him down. There is nothing scarier than that kind of aggression.
                              I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                              I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09

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                              • #35
                                Look, it is obvious that you are limited completely by this horse's own behavior.

                                *He can't be turned out alone.
                                *He can't be turned out with your new boy.
                                *He can't be ridden by just anyone, he needs an experienced and strong rider.
                                *You don't own your own property where the liability is ONLY on you, the BO is the one really in a world of hurt should that horse get loose and maim someone right now.
                                *You wouldn't have any say over his future if you give him away or turn him over to a rescue.
                                *He doesn't respect you, the BO, or your DSO.
                                *He's also shown you he has no compunction about hurting a PERSON on the other end of his lead line, THAT is a complete deal breaker for me.

                                If you owned your own place and could absolutely 100% ensure this horse could live out his days quietly without being a threat to others it would be one thing. But right now you have at the very least 1 other human involved and sometimes with DSO in the picture you have 2 other people involved for this horse to potentially hurt. Not to mention if the horse injured a visiting guest or a child God forbid. Unless you are willing to risk this animal hurting DSO, BO or yourself along with the other horses in the barn, I think you are absolutely correct to be putting the horse down. As hard as it can be to see a sound and healthy horse cross the bridge, it is the right thing to do sometimes. I think this is one of those cases and when you are honest with yourself, you do to. Don't let anyone on a message board flame or guilt you into keeping a dangerous horse (altho I don't see anyone here trying to do that at this moment, you never know down the road). I'm sorry for your pain and the anguish of the situation. I'm glad to see you already know the right thing to do.
                                If you love me let me go....

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  I was in this same situation except with a dog. I adopted a Great Dane when she was 6 months from a pound, so no info on her background. Everything was fine, she did obedience classes, got along great with our greyhound and cats.
                                  Then a year later, she got into a scrap with another dog at an obedience class. Then in an argument over spilled cat food she tore our greyhound to pieces (took two staple boxes for vet to put her back together) and then 24 hours later tore another dog's throat open over a chew toy. A friend who has a Phd in animal behavior and works as a zoo curator took her for a week and evaluated her, we tried some behavior and diet modifications. A month later, she got so aggressive about another dog in a fenced yard while I was walking her, she knocked me to the ground and stood over me when I tried to restrain her.
                                  My friend said, "Some dogs have bad hips, some dogs have bad brains." We had to put her to sleep, a beautiful loving 2 year old dog who had something very wrong with her.
                                  Do I grieve? Yes, more than 10 years later, I still do. I can't bear to look at photos. Did I do the right thing? Yes.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    I do know of a gelding that behaved in a similar fashion to your older guy - one day, in turnout (& the field is big enough that the horses do not need to see each other), he attacked another gelding: there was no apparent provocation & both geldings had been in the same group (5-6 horses) turnout for at least a couple of years. Attacker chased & cornered the offending horse (who was being as submissive as he knew how to be), would not let him by, kicked & tore chunks out of him: BO finally drove him off with a lunge whip.

                                    The 2 geldings are still on the same property & have been worked in the arena without issue, there's no aggression in the tack up area. They are obviously never in the same turnout & live on opposite sides of the barn so no chance of interaction.

                                    The aggressive gelding has never attacked another horse, he is a bit grumpy towards other horses (except for his "love" who does not share the attachment), he is still part of group turnout BUT he is never out unless there is someone able to monitor.
                                    He is a very kind horse under saddle & easy to work with.

                                    The attacked horse healed up fine (but was unrideable for 2-3 months re the location of the wounds) & seems to bear no animosity: he is a horse that has poor horse skills, so his turnout has always been managed.

                                    I'm not suggesting that you should not follow your (present) probable course of action - the situations are very different, especially in terms of the available living situation.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Me personally, I would not want to try seeing how he is with the other horse again(even if he gets all the bloodwork health screening in the world). Also, some people are more willing to deal with dangerous behavior from an animal, I wouldn't. The fact this horse drug your SO is totally unacceptable in my book. He has had a good life, sometimes you do what you have to and it's not fun, but the best thing to do.
                                      I LOVE my Chickens!

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                                      • #39
                                        I dont know the dynamics at the barn where you board are but what I wonder is....

                                        Is the BO there alone? in other words would the BO have the potential to deal with this horse alone in the future. Even if the horse is pastured alone someone has to walk him in and out. I personally would not feel comfortable having someone else assume the danger involved in handling such a horse. At least when this happened there were multiple persons available to deal with it at the time.

                                        I am sorry you are in this position.
                                        Just like our eyes, our hearts have a way of adjusting to the dark.--Adam Stanley

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                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
                                          But you never know, that might be a one time incident. We bought an ex-chaser for $1. He came in as part of a polo string, with a mare. When we separated the mare from him he lost his ever loving mind. He reared up and nailed me in the head, both front hooves. I saw it coming and slipped in the mud trying to get away.

                                          He never did it again. Sometimes fear does strange things. I was always very careful with him...but he was a big old sweetheart after that.

                                          Would you volunteer to put your horse in with him to test the " one time incident theory"?? I wouldn't. These horses have shared a common fence and been fine for a while now and even had turn out together with no issues. This isn't the type of horse I could in good conscience pass on to someone else, unless they knew of everything he did and were willing to risk him with their horses. Good Luck With That.

                                          Don't beat yourself up OP, sometimes the right decision with our horses is the hardest one . You have given him many good years despite the fact you don't enjoy riding him.

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