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What the heck to do with a Broken Horse???

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  • What the heck to do with a Broken Horse???

    My 10yr old TB gelding that I have had for only 2 months decided to be a moron during turnout and chip fracture his knee. The vets prognosis was grim. Choices are: Surgery (with soundness 65% possible; jumping out of the question) or try to let it heal on its own ( 9 months layup with little chance of soundess). Since both choices are not in my budget I have been trying to place him as a companion horse.
    But lame horses are a dime a dozen and I havent had any luck. Ive posted on BB's and put up flyers with no response. He is very very very sweet but is a hole in my wallet at this point. It may sound a little heartless but I just cant keep a horse that is unsound.
    Ive tried rescue operations but most of them arent accepting any more horses. One of them (a reputable operation) told me I had to pay them 10,000 to donate a horse for life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Has anyone ever donated a horse to the animal shelter? The local shelter is no-kill shelter and has kept horses for up to 15 years. They have a very nice facility but the whole government run establishment thing makes me a little nervous.
    Any other suggestions? My vet suggested putting him down but I just cant do that. He is such a nice guy and has a right to live even if he is broken............
    ~Proudly \"bonked\" member of OMGiH I loff my mare clique!!~ and the Redheads with Redheads clique!!!!

  • #2
    It sounds very cold and callous, but if you can't find him a good, lifelong home, and can't afford to keep him, the best option is euthenasia. If he's going to likely be in pain for the rest of his life, it's really the most responsible option. I'm sure it's much easier said than done, and I know I would have a hell of a time making the decision if it was my own horse, so I'm really not trying to minimize your situation.

    Comment


    • #3
      Do you have another horse you could sell in order to be able to afford to keep this one?
      "I never mind if an adult uses safety stirrups." GM

      Comment


      • #4
        Red,
        don't take this the wrong way, because I am not trying to be cruel, but if you love him and won't pay for him, why would someone else?

        I feel for you, I really do, but I don't think it's either fair or realistic to expect that someone else should shoulder that responsibility.

        If you are unwilling to pay for his retirement, then I think you should take the vet's advice and euthanize him. Yes, I understand he has a right to live, but if you want that, then you need to be willing to make it happen yourself, and not expect someone else to.

        If the $10k is possible in payments, then maybe you should think about that. He could live another 10-15 years, so that is not an excessive amount to cover most of his costs.

        Good luck with whatever choice you make.
        "If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." -Don Marquis
        **CEO of the TQ "Learn How To Ride or MOVE OVER!!" Clique**

        Comment


        • #5
          The first horse I bought as an adult lost an eye to cancer awhile back. I can't always ride him with certainty (gets a big bit of spook in him now and again due to it, never was 100% steady with both eyes, but boy can he jump out of his skin now, and he can't be too free to run around like he used to because, well, he hits his head on things on the blind side. He is here for life because I can't guarantee his safety elsewhere. The cancer was in both eyes - and is likely to come back any moment in the remaining eye, at which point he will be euthanized.

          I would do the same if I couldn't afford to keep him any longer - he's been too much of a friend to just throw down the road and hope for the best as a "companion" animal or the like. That doesn't work out much for horses, no matter what a cool idea it seems at the time. It is always suggested for ill/injured/otherwise broken ones, but frankly once the thrill of another animal has worn off, and the horse requires care for his condition, and the bills mount, you can be assured that 8 of 10 times will see the horse not treated all that well. Some people, no matter how well intentioned re the companion/pasture thing start thinking about all that money they spend on something they can't use, revise history and bob's your uncle there goes your horse to an unsavory end.

          So, I'd say if you feel his condition is unsalvagable regarding being a using animal, can't afford to keep one that isn't used, and can't find any situation that you really trust to do right by him no matter what, be a really good friend and euthanize him. The only thing worse than doing that is realizing the hell he went thru and how he suffered after he left your care - don't let that happen. Really sorry about your situation - best of luck.

          Comment


          • #6
            How would you get the money if a child of yours needed surgery that cost the same amount as the chip surgery? Probably find it by cutting back expenses, working extra hrs, getting a home equity loan, buying less shoes or whatever. You took on the responsibility of having a horse. Stuff happens... If you aren't able to provide for YOUR horse, put him down, and don't buy another one.

            Why didn't you buy insurance on him (Major medical) when you bought him, if you knew you wouldn't have the finances to cover unexpected medical expenses? That IS why people get insurance for horses, cars, themselves...

            Edited to add- You were asking for a companion pony on the giveaways in June. Why can't you let HIM be your companion"pony"?

            Comment


            • #7
              Agreed. Euthanasia is kind compared to what can happen to a horse that falls through the cracks. I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

              Any person who buys a horse and isn't financially prepared to keep it for life, even if it is unridable, should maintain a separate savings account that always contains enough money for euthanasia and burial, cremation, or carcass disposal. That account should not be touched, except to deposit more towards expense inflation. If you have multiple horses, multiply the balance in that account.

              I have a separate account like this, and that means I can give Ember my word that he will NEVER go back to the slaughter auction where he was headed when I pulled him out of the broker's barn.

              Every horse owner is responsible for their horse's comfort and security. If you can't provide that yourself one way or another, then it's time to let them go in peace- not burden someone else with a 'broken' horse that you only want if he's useful.
              "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi

              -my gelding is a ho clique-

              Comment


              • #8
                Pasture board = about $150 a month if you hunt around.

                An extra $150 a month = 15 hours a month at a part time weekend job.

                As someone who worked my normal 9 hour job today and then exercised 6 horses after that to pay for my horses' vet bills, I really do not understand what the problem is. There is always a way to earn more money, if you truly want to do the right thing.

                Comment


                • #9
                  A friend and I were joking the other day about making a written questionaire for anyone who wants to buy a horse/breed to her stallion. I think I'll add a scenario like this to the questions. If you do donate this horse, please make sure that if you get another horse you let the seller know that this is what happened to your last horse, because if I sold you a horse and then found this out later, I would stalk you down daily to make sure something like this didn't happen to my baby.

                  Like someone else said, you can find retirement board for $100-150 a month. Regardless of the fact that he only "served you" for two months, when you accept responsibility for another living being, I personally feel you have a duty to do right by it. It would be one thing if you became incapacitated and could no longer work, but not wanting to support a useless animal is a whole different scenario. If you can't find him a job as a babysitter on someone else's dime, please do right by this animal.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I agree with Jetsmom - I have insurance on my horse, mainly in case there's ever a need for surgery. If this were my horse and, like you, I didn't have insurance, I'd find some way to raise the money to get the surgery, or work out a plan to pay it off in time.
                    She wasn't running away with me, I just couldn't stop her!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I know it's hard, but there are things you can do for your horse to ensure he is cared for even if he's retired. It will take some hunting around to find the right situation that you can afford, but I am certain we can all find something should we need to. If you want to place him as a companion horse, you should be ready to contribute to his upkeep.

                      When my horse was first injured, we didn't know if he would heal in the way he needed to. Of course, I started immediately trying to find a good farm to retire him to. I found one - though far away from me. I was prepared to pay the amount of money required for him to retire comfortably and live out his still useful life.

                      It's a commitment we make. It's important. I know it's hard, but if you can't find the right and fair situation after searching high and low, you might consider putting him down. Best of luck to you. I do hope it all works out.
                      *Faune D'Helby*

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you don't want to kill him, can't find anyone to take him, aren't going to keep him, about the only other thing left is sell him at an auction. What you could do, should have done, etc. is meaningless because you didn't and aren't
                        Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sad and Unpleasant...

                          Red ... There is no way to soften this duty. I am facing it myself. A horse's passion is to run. We humans, harness that for our own passion. If he can't run, he is a prisoner of his body's failure.

                          Release him to run again... Put him down. Anything else is to torture his spirit slowly.
                          Equus makus brokus but happy

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I cannot believe the people who insist that keeping an unsound horse is a must-have for someone!!
                            If chances are that low on surgury, then don't feel bad about putting him down. The horse won't mind--especially a TB, which likes to have a job/run/etc.
                            And don't feel bad about it; I run a business, and I have to look at it in a business relationship. If I have a horse that is injured, I figure out chances with surgury, and cost. If the cost is such that I'd pay more to replace the horse than to do the surgury AND if the chances of successful surgury are good, then I do the surgury. If it is more cost-effective to simply replace the horse, then we look for someone else who would like the horse and will either keep it as a companion or do the surgury themselves, and give the horse away. Otherwise, we put it down. And I am sure I am going to be told that I am heartless and cruel. BUT the reality is that if I am going to continue, I must do this. In addition, I also realize that said horse usually isn't going to be that happy as a 'pasture pet'. Now, I could keep said horse as a pasture pet, but the cost of upkeep for a non-useable horse doesn't make sense. Incidentally, for those who would refuse to ever deal with someone who thinks like me, remember that bad things can happen to anyone/anywhere. And I've seen a number of 'companion' horses that are kept when they are crippled and those horses aren't always that happy--oftentimes they get less attention than other horses, and while they get the basics, otherwise they are often forgotten. Now, I could do that--but that I cannot do, as I don't think the forgotten horse is all that good of an idea.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If you can't afford, or are unwilling to care for a horse after it has an injury (and a chip in his knee isn't exactly rare or dibilitating for life) you need to switch to more durable animals to play with. Like stuffed ones. Horses are definately breakable so odds are you'll hit this snag often. Frankly, who *wants* someone elses damage?....most who would take another's brokedown, past/future/present, are doing so out of goodness of their heart or love of the animal using an yearly chunk of $$ out of their hard earned wallet. How kind to allow others that resposibility while finding a new source of personal entertainment? Life: not always easy but it sorts the resposible from the irresponsible, among other defining moments.

                              You should see what is run, earning money on multiple chips, floaters, and pretty big hunks of (chipped) bone sitting in the joint. Not pretty but certainly not the last leg of life. At the very least you are responsible for his lay-up on your dime, while that knee cools, before trying to give him over for whatever load he'll be equiped to handle. You've probably been told that removing a chip is w/ that % because the joint can begin to crumble (more chips) on heavy use. Rather like a tooth will often do, or not crumble much at all w/ normal use.

                              "He is such a nice guy and has a right to live even if he is broken............"
                              Yes he does, and you took on that obligation, to foot the bill and provide good care regardless, when you bought him. If your vet suggested putting him down for this chip then he/she most likely sees his future with you as bleak. So put him down already and move on! It is nauseating, imo, to whine about your loadshare of his injury.
                              "There's a fine line between genius and madness. I've removed that line." -Super Genius/me

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Well, after receiving the devestating (for me!) news just this week that my 9 year old competition horse has the knees and hocks of a 29 year old, I've found a retirement home at a friend's farm for him to live out his days as a lawnmower and occasional trail horse.

                                The cost of boarding him there is probably a quarter or less of what I was paying to keep him at the trainer's barn. Luckily, at this time my husband and I are in a financial position where we can support Ute while finding me another young project-type horse to buy, or a more experienced horse to lease so I can continue to event.

                                If our circumstances changed, and I could no longer afford to keep 2, I'd either find a part time job, or sell the competition horse. I know I'm responsible for Ute for his entire life, even more so now that he's "broken." I would feel the same way had I only owned him for 3 months before he "broke" instead of 3 years.

                                If Ute was in pain however, with little chance of recovery, I wouldn't hesitate to consider euthanasia if it seemed like the most prudent option.

                                You are in a tough spot. Good luck with whatever you decide.
                                I'm not one to say I toadaso. But I toadaso. - Ricky

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I have looked at this situation with my own horse when a previous vet declared him permanantely unsound and likely to injure himself worse. (Fortunately, he was later proven wrong! )
                                  As others have said, nobody wants your lame horse. Especially if yours is likely to need additional care during his healing time. This is especially true if he is not marketable as a good pasutre buddy, therapy or husband horse.
                                  I looked into "pasture" boarding situations but I live in an expensive area - I couldnt find anything less than $300/mo. Add to that him needing therapeutic horseshoes every 5 weeks, and the fact that he tends to be, um, socially inappropriate (he has had solo turnout) and he was tough to find a "retirement" place for.
                                  He didnt have surgery, but I ended up spending big bucks (enough for surgery!) for diagnostics and treatment at a great clinic. I was fortunate that it helped tremendously and he is now servicably sound.
                                  My "Plan B"? If he couldnt be made sound, I would keep him for another year or so, as long as he was reasonably comfortable. Then when he worsened, I would have him euthanized.
                                  In my case, I had owned this horse for years. It seems reasonable that my commitment was greater. If surgery is not an option for you, perhaps you could let him enjoy (assuming he's not is great pain) a couple of months of relaxation. Then, if he doesnt improve as your vet predicts he will not, you could have him euthanized. Then you might want to wait a little while before getting a new horse to build up an emergency fund and investigate insurance options!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Unless you can live with the possibility that this horse if you give him away or sell him at auction, can end up upside down on a meat hook in a slaughter house, than any other action besides putting him down or providing for his care for the rest of his natural life is very risky. Go watch some of the slaughter videos and you will know that putting him down at your stable is a far better end for any horse.

                                    I think that it is cruel to keep a horse hobbling around lame in retirement because the owner can't bear to do right by the horse. They do not know why they hurt but they will have to live with the pain every day....horses don't sit down and put their legs up like a person and they can't use crutches or a wheelchair like a disabled person, so they are in pain all the time. Drugs help some but there are lots of bad side effects for them...just like in people. It sounds like your vet knows that it is time and I suggest that if you can't be there to hold the horse for euthanasia than you need to ask if the vet has an assistant or find a friend of your than can help you. It's not pretty, it will hurt and make you sad... but when it is over you will realize that your horse is no longer in pain or suffering and that is healing to you as well.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by SeaOat View Post
                                      If you can't afford, or are unwilling to care for a horse after it has an injury (and a chip in his knee isn't exactly rare or dibilitating for life) you need to switch to more durable animals to play with. Like stuffed ones. Horses are definately breakable so odds are you'll hit this snag often. Frankly, who *wants* someone elses damage?....most who would take another's brokedown, past/future/present, are doing so out of goodness of their heart or love of the animal using an yearly chunk of $$ out of their hard earned wallet. How kind to allow others that resposibility while finding a new source of personal entertainment? Life: not always easy but it sorts the resposible from the irresponsible, among other defining moments.

                                      You should see what is run, earning money on multiple chips, floaters, and pretty big hunks of (chipped) bone sitting in the joint. Not pretty but certainly not the last leg of life. At the very least you are responsible for his lay-up on your dime, while that knee cools, before trying to give him over for whatever load he'll be equiped to handle. You've probably been told that removing a chip is w/ that % because the joint can begin to crumble (more chips) on heavy use. Rather like a tooth will often do, or not crumble much at all w/ normal use.

                                      "He is such a nice guy and has a right to live even if he is broken............"
                                      Yes he does, and you took on that obligation, to foot the bill and provide good care regardless, when you bought him. If your vet suggested putting him down for this chip then he/she most likely sees his future with you as bleak. So put him down already and move on! It is nauseating, imo, to whine about your loadshare of his injury.

                                      These are my sentiments exactly. If you can't handle a chip, you need plastic horses. Fill their chips in with a little epoxy and go on with your life. He is your horse, and he is depending upon you to do the right thing. Dumping him on someone else and hoping they make the decisions that are in his best interest is not a good plan IMO. Either care for him yourself or put him down. Horses measure time in quality, not in quantity. Better to euthanize him now while his quality of life it still good than to risk something terrible happening to him.
                                      McDowell Racing Stables

                                      Home Away From Home

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        If possible, get a second opinion on your horse. I completely respect your vet's opinion and since one of his suggestions is an absolute it would be wise to have that backed up w/ one more opinion. The exception would be if the attending vet is an expert and sought after equine vet, I could go with his opinion.

                                        You owe doing the right thing to the horse which includes euthanasia if persistant pain will be part of this horse world.

                                        Good luck and I'm sorry this happened to your guy.

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