No one likes to talk about the day when we have to put our horses down, but facing euthanasia is often a very real and necessary part of horse ownership. If your horse is moving into his senior years, planning and discussing euthanasia and aftercare can help to make the difficult time a bit easier. If you own a horse, you will want to give these specifics some consideration.

Holding the Horse for Euthanasia

One of the most pressing decisions you will face is whether or not you want to hold your horse as the euthanasia takes place. Euthanizing a horse can be startling and shocking for owners, mainly due to the horse’s size and the initial fall after the sedative takes effect.

You should give some thought about how you want to handle the euthanasia. Some owners don’t want the euthanasia to be their last memory of their horse, and choose to leave beforehand. Other owners choose to stay with their horses for the process. If you opt to not be present at the euthanasia, asking a trusted horse friend to be present instead can be a reassuring approach.

Burial versus Cremation

Burial and cremation are the two most popular aftercare methods for horses. Before you decide on burial, make sure that you can legally do so in your town. Restrictions on burial, especially of horses who are euthanized, are common, and burying a euthanized horse may pose a threat to local groundwater.

Cremation offers an alternative to burial and is becoming increasingly popular. The costs of cremation, compared to burial, can be prohibitive. If you are considering cremation for your horse, it is best to locate a facility that offers the service and approach them for a rough cost estimate ahead of time.

Having your horse’s body removed from the property is another option. Though difficult to stomach, renderers can come and remove your horse’s body if burial and cremation do not work for your situation.

Whichever method you choose, it’s best to make the choice in advance so that you can have a plan laid out ahead of time. Be sure to have contact information for any services that you might need, whether it’s pickup for cremation or removal, or a backhoe for burial.

Memorial Ideas

When the day comes that you must say goodbye to your horse, you probably won’t be thinking about ways to memorialize him after he’s gone. But after a few days, weeks, or months pass, you may want to create a special keepsake to remember your horse by.

There are countless ways to memorialize your horse, from horsehair bracelets to ceramic pots with your horse’s hair baked into them, to shadow boxes framing mementos from your horse’s life. When planning to say goodbye to your horse, it’s a good idea to decide what mementos you might want to keep around the barn, near his stall, or around the tack room, such as his halter, a pair of his shoes, or a bit of his mane or tail hair.

Saying that final goodbye to your horse is heartbreaking, but planning ahead can help to make that sad day a little bit easier.

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Original Source: Planning to Say Goodbye

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