Farewelling your horse

The purpose of this section is to provide horse owners with vital information about having to put their horse to sleep.

Humane destruction is possibly the least discussed topic of horse ownership, and by far the most sensitive. Even so, every horse owner should give this issue some considered thought so they will be prepared if the time comes. What do you need to know?

It is difficult to accept death at any time. Death becomes even more painful when you must decide to end a beloved animal’s life.

Humane destruction is possibly the least discussed topic of horse ownership, and by far the most sensitive. Even so, every horse owner should give this issue some considered thought so they will be prepared if the time comes.

It’s probably fair to say that the majority of horse owners will one day be faced with the upsetting yet inevitable situation with having to put a horse down.

There are a range of circumstances under which euthanasia may be considered for a companion horse. Here are some of the most common:

  • Debilitation in old age
  • Severe traumatic injury
  • Dangerous behavioral traits
  • Undue financial burden of caring for a sick or incapacitated horse
  • Undue suffering for any reason
  • Incurable, progressive disease
  • Incurable, transmissible disease
  • Chronic lameness
  • Inoperable colic
  • Foals born with serious defects

It is a highly individual decision to euthanize an animal. Every case is unique. The decision can depend on the horse’s temperament in some cases. Can they cope with the treatment without getting too stressed? Some are more co-operative than others; some have a higher pain tolerance.

Be practical and not entirely emotional when addressing the situation. Let your head, not your heart control your actions. Speak to your veterinarian to help you decide what is right for you and your horse as even though you have the ultimate responsibility your veterinarian can provide you with medical information and what his possible future could be. The options will be explained.

farewell booklet

If you would like a hard copy of the Farewell Booklet posted to you instead of reading the digital version click here: Request for Farewell Booklet