Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

Registered
Joined
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, I'm starting to seriously think of letting my old pony be put to rest as winter is coming and he's been having some health issues (if you want to know, you can go read it in a different thread I have up-- please don't ask me about it here). He is VERY VERY bonded to a young 9 year old mare we have, and I was wondering which euthanasia technique each of you prefer. Should I have the mare there with him if we put him down? Is there a possibly it could turn into a "Where the Red Fern Grows" type ordeal with the mare (silly I know, but I thought I'd ask). They are very bonded, and they will whinny for hours and run around if they can't see each other. Y'all mind telling me what you think on this topic?
 

Banned
Joined
30,992 Posts
The mare will mourn him. Anyone that says that horses don't mourn is an idiot. I had a mare lose a foal and it was heartbreaking.

The last one I had put down had been separated from the mares because of laminitis so he was in a small paddock by the barn. Because of the separation they weren't yelling for him all the time, and he wasn't yelling for them. They were in the pasture, came up and watched him being put down. It didn't upset them, at that time, but they looked for him for days.

Ask your Vet to give him a mild sedative before he's taken out of the barn or pasture and he won't be as anxious about leaving her.

I'm sorry.
 

Registered
Joined
14,353 Posts
Hey all, I'm starting to seriously think of letting my old pony be put to rest as winter is coming and he's been having some health issues (if you want to know, you can go read it in a different thread I have up-- please don't ask me about it here). He is VERY VERY bonded to a young 9 year old mare we have, and I was wondering which euthanasia technique each of you prefer. Should I have the mare there with him if we put him down? Is there a possibly it could turn into a "Where the Red Fern Grows" type ordeal with the mare (silly I know, but I thought I'd ask). They are very bonded, and they will whinny for hours and run around if they can't see each other. Y'all mind telling me what you think on this topic?
That is a hard one and one I will have to face having a 15 year old and a 23 year old, if everything goes as typical. Typically my experience is that many horses seem to mourn for a few months then get better.
I'd guess that I would prefer to take the pony to the vet rather than do it in front of the mare. When the dogs got my goat Timmie and the other goats were there, they kept looking at the spot where she laid for quite some weeks after so I could see it was something they can understand and remember. I would rather the picture not be in the survivor's mind. Just my best guess at what's best.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Joshie

Premium Member
Joined
2,714 Posts
We had our old guy put down (33 years old and had a possible stroke) right at the farm gate which is right near a number of paddocks - like feet from them. The horses watched and one seemed disturbed by it but the others did OK. I honestly would put him down and then let the mare go check him out to see that he's gone. It will help her to process it, IMO.
 

Administrator
Joined
19,426 Posts
Animals do mourn and only you'll be able to figure out how to handle the mare but it is prudent to let her know her buddy has passed.

As for how to do the job, I would recommend you have your vet handle it unless your very confident in your own abilities.

My father, cousin and I live close together and we put our own down but if it is something we're emotionally attached to in such a way that we may not be capably effective, we get one of the other two to handle it for us.
 

Registered
Joined
1,332 Posts
We had a colt break his leg and have to be pts. We let the mare see him after he was dead and she just sniffed him then walked away. She never called nor looked for him after he was buried. Older ones that have had to be put down we didn't have the others watch and there was never any mourning from them either but they still had other buddies with them and all are used to us pulling 2 or 3 from the herd and taking them off for a week or so of trail riding.
 

Registered
Joined
647 Posts
I had to put my arthritic donkey Romeo down a couple years back. After he was gone, we led his two pasture mates out to see his body. One of the girls gave a quick sniff and walked off to graze. Brooklyn was a different story - she slowly smelled along Romeos back from rump up to his head. When she reached his ears she gave one a good hard chomp and pulled back, waiting for him to react. When he didn't she moved around to his face and stood there some time, nose to nose with her friend. Finally, she slowly walked off. It was very sad, but obvious to me that she knew he had passed.
 

Registered
Joined
299 Posts
Hey all, I'm starting to seriously think of letting my old pony be put to rest as winter is coming and he's been having some health issues (if you want to know, you can go read it in a different thread I have up-- please don't ask me about it here). He is VERY VERY bonded to a young 9 year old mare we have, and I was wondering which euthanasia technique each of you prefer. Should I have the mare there with him if we put him down? Is there a possibly it could turn into a "Where the Red Fern Grows" type ordeal with the mare (silly I know, but I thought I'd ask). They are very bonded, and they will whinny for hours and run around if they can't see each other. Y'all mind telling me what you think on this topic?
Personally, I would leave the pony's body in with the mare for 24 to maybe 48 hours(depending on how long it takes her to figure it out) so she has a chance to say good bye and will know why the pony isn't there anymore. I agree with everyone else that horses grieve when a buddy passes. I also believe that they should be given the time to realize that their buddy has passed and "process" (for lack of a better term) it in their own way. If that is not possible, then you need to work on separating them now and put off putting him down until the bond between them is severed and she is ok with being separated from him.
 

Registered
Joined
3,205 Posts
I board. I lost my first horse to colic. I had taken her to a hospital in hopes she could be saved, and came home w/out her. There was another horse in the field that she was very attached to. That horse went down rapidly after that, and had to be PTS.

Since that time, there have been a number of horses that have either died, or been PTS on the farm. But since the other horses knew what had happened to their buddy, there has not been the same problem. They know and understand what happened.
 

Registered
Joined
179 Posts
Just my personal experience with my TB mare, she does much better with seeing the goings on than with a buddy just leaving and not coming back. She did the best when she had a couple of hours with him. (She has been through this 3 times now. First was my old, blind, half-deaf, arthritic Appy, second was my best horse, vet's suspicion was a freak accident fractured neck, last was her then only buddy.)

They definitely remember what happens. She was okay when Spirit (#2) was put down (she could see him, but not get to him), but started hollering when the backhoe arrived. She apparently remembered what that meant from Elvis (#1). #3, Justice, she got to stay with for a couple hours, and was then fine about everything. Normally, when someone goes "missing" she runs and paces for hours, will holler for up to days.

Only you know your horse, but for my neurotic mare, she does best with being around and being given the time to come to grips with what has happened.
 

Registered
Joined
715 Posts
Personally, I would do it where she can see and then allow her to spend some time with her buddy before you bury him. If they are that attached, she probably will mourn him for awhile. How long will that be??? Who knows. If you have other horses, she will probably get over it fairly soon. If you don't have other horses and she has always had at least one other horse around, she might have a hard time adjusting to being alone. I gave my old mare a year to adjust before I finally ended up having to get her a pony because she was so lonely. Just my opinion.
 

Registered
Joined
835 Posts
So sorry for you! It's a hard choice to make. There is no right or wrong and you have to do what you think is best for you and the old pony. Hopefully the mare has some other buddies otherwise she may get very lonely after he goes. I have had the vet euthanize and also had a local rendering company do it (they shoot them). It sounds gross and all, but the rendering guy was far quicker and cleaner death for the animal and was MUCH more affordable as I didn't have a vet charge plus the cost of hauling the carcass. We led the old mare out from her corral mates to the other side of a horse trailer. Put some grain on the ground and while she munched the guy shot her. She had no idea what was up and thought it was just a treat and death was basically instant. Much less traumatic for the horse, esp if you have one who is shy of injections. Of course, this requires someone who really knows how to shoot them correctly and all that. If I didn't have someone who knew what they were doing I would pay the vet fee for sure.
 

Unpaid, Volunteer Devil's Advocate
Joined
18,362 Posts
Opinions. I wouldn't have my children watch the Doctors pull the plug on Grandma and I wouldn't encourage spectators, human or horse, to the pony euthanasia process.
Get someone with a backhoe lined up. Stable all animals, walk the old pony out to where you intend to bury the pony. Let the Vet do the two step process. Walk away after the pony lays down.Leave the hole digging and shoving into the hole to the backhoe operator. You really don't need any graphic memories.
 

Registered
Joined
360 Posts
I had read so many different things when we had to put down our old guy. In the end we ended up doing what haypoint suggested and all was well. The mare that was left whinnied here and there for a few days and then was fine.
 

Premium Member
Joined
2,714 Posts
Opinions. I wouldn't have my children watch the Doctors pull the plug on Grandma and I wouldn't encourage spectators, human or horse, to the pony euthanasia process.
Get someone with a backhoe lined up. Stable all animals, walk the old pony out to where you intend to bury the pony. Let the Vet do the two step process. Walk away after the pony lays down.Leave the hole digging and shoving into the hole to the backhoe operator. You really don't need any graphic memories.
I certainly wouldn't be comparing horses to humans at all. Horses are herd animals and instinct driven. When they see another animal put down, it doesn't scar them but instead actually allows them to understand why their friend is gone. I took my children to see my grandmother when she was dying and they went to her funeral as well. It helped them to process what happened but I wouldn't compare a human's experience with an animal's. It's quite different.
 

Unpaid, Volunteer Devil's Advocate
Joined
18,362 Posts
I certainly wouldn't be comparing horses to humans at all. Horses are herd animals and instinct driven. When they see another animal put down, it doesn't scar them but instead actually allows them to understand why their friend is gone. I took my children to see my grandmother when she was dying and they went to her funeral as well. It helped them to process what happened but I wouldn't compare a human's experience with an animal's. It's quite different.
You are very correct, it is very different. Often humans project emotions to animals that either do not exist at all or are manifested in ways we don't know and have no way of knowing. If you think a horse benefits by viewing the Vet put down his stable mate, then that works for you.
I make some distinctions between dying and being put to death.
Not allowing an animal to suffer through another winter lessens the pain and allows an exit with dignity. For me it is deeply sad moment. I prefer to have it a very private moment. But that is my personal belief. If someone else wants to set up bleachers and sell tickets, who am I to judge?
 

Registered
Joined
4,222 Posts
We went through this last fall when my old horse had a heart attack. The younger gelding had never been an only horse. He knew she was sick and stayed with her in that patch of sunshine in the meadow all day. DD sat with her for a few hours saying good-bye, but the gelding never left her side.

When I made the decision to put her down we called Killer, the most compassionate man and humane slaughter guy I've ever known. He chose a spot outside the fence but where the gelding could still see and smell after the deed was done. He was patient and let DD finish saying good-bye, and let our friend feed her plums until she was ready too. He had us hold and brush the gelding up by the barn while he did the deed and covered my mare with a tarp until the backhoe got there.

Because there were no other hooved animals, and I wasn't ready to take on another, the gelding went into deep grief. By day 3 he was in physical grief. I placed the gelding in a 4H care lease with a large herd. 2 hours after arriving at his new home, he snapped out of it and began making new friends. He started his high step floating prance feeling good and showing off stuff and I knew he was okay.
 

Registered
Joined
2,272 Posts
So sorry you have to face this. I'm with the let the mare see. We had to euthanize a gelding who had lived with his mom for his whole life. They were incredibly bonded. He was 15 or so. Letting her watch and then sniff the body made a world of difference to the screaming we had when we tried to separate them..
 

Registered
Joined
160 Posts
I made the appointment today for three 29yr olds for next week. The two mares were born here and I've had the stud since he was six months old. They'll get their Christmas apples next week before the vet gets here. My husband's not happy with me but he can see the one mare's been losing weight steadily and doesn't look happy anymore. The other mare doesn't look bad now but last winter it was so cold and she didn't even want to walk to the water tub. My boy's had a big fused knee for years and last year he blew out his opposite tendon trying to buck and jump, now he's reduced to slinging his head around when he's trying to impress and his back's giving out from carrying most of his weight. It's not the first time we've had to do this but it never gets any easier, in fact the older I get the harder it is to let them go. I remind myself that horses live in the present and they're present has stopped being comfortable. Dun-in fifty years I've never had the other horses have a fit over the loss of a friend. Even if they couldn't see they seemed to know they were gone. Condolences on the loss of your friend.
 

Registered
Joined
770 Posts
We just had the older mare put down Wed. We did the deed in a paddock, then led the boys in to view her after. Each sniffed her over, some short, some a long time, while we held them on long ropes. When they started grazing around her, we took them out of the paddock, back to the barn. They knew, understood, and processed the information in their own way. No hollering, standing looking for her. Then we covered her. The backhoe came a couple hours later, buried her then. As mentioned, some horses take a longer time to process things with old buddies than others, and we wanted to allow plenty of time if they needed it.

We do this with each horse we have had to put down, the horses understand and don't go into declines.

Husband has seen a number of long-time buddies go into hysterics when the partner suddenly leaves to be put down, or is put down and buried right away, no chance to process what happened to him. Then the folks lose the second horse also, to colic, when he doesn't settle.

Each time the partner left is shown the dead horse, they do sniff them over, get things worked out in their heads. So far have horses left behind have not had any issues later so they had to be put down as well.

We always get a 2 step process, sedative first, before the shots to put them out. At times a horse will react BADLY to the shot for putting them down, go berserk! You never know WHICH horse will react this way. So it is MUCH BETTER to lay them down first and prevent the problem. Can be EXTREMELY hard and DANGEROUS to administer more meds to horse acting crazy. Our Vet friends have warned us about this, because it used to be very few gave the sedative first when they put horses down. So it is better to ASK AHEAD, make SURE the Vet uses a sedative FIRST, to keep things dignified and quiet for an easy passing. It is bad enough to have to put one down, but to have it turn into a rodeo is going to be a really bad ending to the day. And a person might get hurt trying to handle the drug crazed horse, sure NOT WORTH that happening.

It is NEVER easy, but best for the horse and that is what you have to keep thinking.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top