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What to do with horse I can't afford

(78 Posts)
Blackfellpony Sat 25-Feb-17 10:56:40

I have owned horse for 11 years. He has been on loan for the past 6 as I can't ride him for various reasons.

Loan home (riding centre) now can't keep him as they are closing down. He has been kept there for years as a companion to another pony and was used on the odd ride but hasn't done much. They kept him as he is a sweety and everyone loves him more than him being of any use.

I have found a retirement field for him near me but it's £100/pcm and I really really can't afford it. I can't find anywhere cheaper. I didn't know he would be coming back as he was on permenant loan and not meant to come back. I haven't even seen him for around a year other than a quick drive buy to say hello as he was so content.

He is 20 years old. He won't hack alone, hates schooling, won't travel in a horsebox or trailer without full sedation and is very hard to ride. He is very sharp, jumps like a stag and is highly unpredicatable. He spins and has bolted on more than one occasion and I would be scared to get on his back.
He is no good for showing,hunting, dressage or anything really if I'm honest.
He also runs along fence lines and ruins fields.

Loaning him is an option but am I likely to find someone again that would want a horse like this?

What are my other options. Euthanasia even though he is healthy and happy grazing with his friends?
Selling him but then he could end up anywhere?

Please be kind I didn't realise 11 years ago things would have changed so much financially sad

Shannith Sat 25-Feb-17 11:00:59

You know the answer. Put him down. He has had a lovely life.

Bufferingkisses Sat 25-Feb-17 11:09:27

I agree, arrange to have it done there to spare him the stress of change. Right now he is healthy, happy and well cared for. He has had a long and good life. End it there. If you take him back you are opening him up to various stresses, change and unpredictability as well as making your own life a major challenge.

Honestly, things change over the course of a horses life, you've done right by him up to now, a lot of people wouldn't with a difficult horse. flowers

Garnethair Sat 25-Feb-17 11:10:31

Pts where he is with his friends. A horse doesn't know how old he is or what his life expectancy should be. It's the kindest thing for him.

EverythingEverywhere1234 Sat 25-Feb-17 11:12:58

To my mind, there's no kinder option than to have him pts at the stables where he currently is.

Fireinthegrate Sat 25-Feb-17 11:38:36

I have to agree with everyone else. Have him PTS as the place he is at now to spare him the trauma of travelling.


Gabilan Sat 25-Feb-17 15:08:25

Oh OP. It's horrible but you only really have one option. It is better than being passed from pillar to post. It's actually better in some ways when they are relatively happy and healthy, certainly better than when it has to be done as an emergency.

He's had a good life, remember that.

Blackfellpony Sat 25-Feb-17 15:24:28

Thank you to you all.

I think it's clear what I need to do then. It's either that or retire him somewhere and struggle to pay for it sad

If I had a use for him it would be easier to justify the costs but I would literally be paying for a horse that I can't do much with. I don't want to ride him and never will again, he's not my 'type' and he's very sharp. I only took him on in the first place as I felt sorry for him as he was mistreated. I managed to find him a loaner who loaned him on my yard for years and then he went to the centre, he's never actually been mine to ride as I've always had a native and kept him just because he is a nice horse. I prefer native cob types and he is an Arab x tb so very fine and flighty. I rode him a few times but he makes me nervous!

We have a baby, I've lost lots of hours at work and are in the process of moving house so it couldn't have come at a worse time.

Gabilan Sat 25-Feb-17 17:03:26

What's happening to the other horses at the riding centre OP? Is there anyone there who has a soft spot for him? I think euthanasia is probably your best option but for your own peace of mind, I would just exhaust all other options.

I love hotbloods but unfortunately I am really not in the position to take on another horse!

runninglikemad Sat 25-Feb-17 17:12:34

Oh no so sad. I am passionate about Arabs too, they are such special horses. I do agree with everyone else that the kindest thing would be to have him pts but oh boy that is hard if he is perfectly healthy. 20 is a difficult age though isn't it, not that old but old enough that he could start developing health problems.

Could you put an advert up locally to loan and just see if by some miracle someone comes along who could take him on? Be honest with them but if people are drawn to Arab/TB types then they will know about the quirks!

Blackfellpony Sat 25-Feb-17 17:16:31

Most of them are on loan so are going home Gablian. I suppose some will be sold but he isn't really a candidate for that unless I find someone exceptional.

Everyone loves him but nobody with their own land or enough money to take on another, it was a really small place not a large riding school more of a hobby business than anything else.

Realistically he needs someone willing to put in the work but at his age would I be able to find anyone to do that when they might only get a short time out of him?

So for example he will hack out but he jogs, pulls and one minute your one way and the next your halfway up a bank wondering what happened. He sees scary things and shoots off in all directions and it takes most of your effort to keep him together so I think a hacking home is out. He hates machinery, heavy traffic, horses and carts, cycles etc. He is put together horrendously and wouldn't be any use showing and he moves crap (being honest) so he wouldnt make a dressage horse and he jumps but only if you have a suicide note in your pocket.
He is a lovely lovely horse though- temperament wise you couldn't find a nicer boy if you tried sad

I would love to keep him I really would but it would mean as a family we can't afford to move house or buy anything other than the bare essentials for potentially another 10 years. DH thinks it's a waste to spend so much on a horse i get nothing from. I can't bare the thought of him going to slaughter or anything like that.

I actually sold my other pony when I got pregnant so am in the middle of a horse holiday and am not missing it at all! If I was to go back to it I would want to do what I enjoy selfishly and he can't do that sad

Blodplod Sat 25-Feb-17 17:20:59

What an upsetting situation. I do agree with others that the best option would be to PTS. Aside from the monthly field rent which would already be a struggle for you, there's all the additional costs even with a grass kept horse. Worming, hard feed and hay in winter, any medications and vet fees (which are likely to increase as he ages), farrier etc.

Selling him, of course, you wouldn't know where he may end up and TBH as you've said he's aged and difficult, and in these uncertain economic times, horse's are a plenty and a buyer has their pick of younger more 'useful' horses.

My mare is 22 now, and to be brutal I've already made the decision that if anything should happen to me either physically or financially I would have her PTS, as that's the only guarantee I would have she wouldn't end up in the wrong hands, I know she's had a good life, and I would sleep better at night knowing she was 'safe' - if that makes any sense?

It is hard and a moral dilemma but I truly believe you would be making the most respectful decision for the horse in the long run.

The only other option would be to advertise him as a free to good home as a companion. But obviously, any new homes would have to be thoroughly vetted first. Personally for me and my mare, I wouldn't take that risk unless she went to someone I knew. But I'm a cynical cow and don't really trust many people to do best by her so I probably wouldn't actually in reality take this as an option.

Good luck.

Blackfellpony Sat 25-Feb-17 17:35:49

Thank you everyone.

If I could put him out and leave him it would be easier but he has awful skin so ends up with mud fever and rainscald all the time. He also hates cold and rain! His current routine is to come in early afternoon and by 3pm he is desperate to be in!
He is happy out in summer which wouldn't be so bad but winter would be awful with a small baby, two large dogs, working until 8pm at night, DH working away during the week and renovating a house.

I don't know if I can live with the guilt though as he is so happy. He would be fine at our current yard as we could leave him with the companion horses but it's so much money to spend on something you get nothing back from. What a mess!

I will look into part loaning as an option but it's so uncertain- if the other person was to drop him I would really struggle to pay for him.

Gabilan Sat 25-Feb-17 17:38:59

Sounds like you've been through all the options Fell. I agree with Blodplod - if you have them pts you know they are safe. If you sell a horse like that he could end up anywhere and could well get smacked around. If he's gone he's safe. I've heard some horrible stories about loans as well.

I had my old horse put down at 18 because of a tendon injury. I could have retired him to a field, but for what? I could have gone down to the field one day to find him in pain and unable to stand. As it is, I know he had a good end before it got to that stage. It sounds as if your horse has had 11 good years with you as an owner, that he might well not have had at all.

Frouby Sat 25-Feb-17 20:40:35

Pts. Without a shadow of a doubt.

He won't know a thing, it's very quick and painless. I have held a couple and it's far worse than us than for them.

I am having my old girl pts in September. She has had a good, happy life doing very little. She is only 17 but has cushings and has struggled the last 3 winters.

yorkshirepuddingandroastbeef Sat 25-Feb-17 20:46:27

Oh no, please ring one of the horse charities (Blue Cross, Horse Trust) before you put him to sleep. They may have a solution.

Garnethair Sat 25-Feb-17 21:06:34

I don't think its fair to try to pass him onto a horse sanctuary. They are over run with young horses. Let him go while he is in his current home and happy.

Gabilan Sat 25-Feb-17 21:12:06

The horse charities are having a hard time of it at the moment. So many horses are being abandoned that it is difficult for them to cope.

I know it's difficult OP but whatever decision you make, please don't feel guilty. It is our responsibility as owners to step up and make a decision for them. I've seen the suffering that occurs when that decision is made too late or not at all. IMO in some ways it is better for them to go a little too early when they're still fairly healthy, than too late when they're in pain.

snowpo Sat 25-Feb-17 21:51:16

It's horrible when it becomes about the money.
I had to PTS my 14yo who was unsound but not in pain. I was paying £140 a month for retirement livery 4hrs away, hadn't seen him in 3yrs. Lots of photo updates and I knew he was completely happy and healthy.
In the end I just couldn't justify the cost any more - I worked out I'd spent £10k on his retirement and I could end up spending another £20k.
It wasn't fair on my DH or the kids.
It was absolutely awful coming to the descision and I felt so guilty, I still do. Thank god the YO arranged it all for me.
He knew nothing about it, he went in the field with his friends and a mouthful of grass. Try to remember that.

nagsandovalballs Sat 25-Feb-17 22:12:39

Horses don't know how long they've lived, only that they are happy right now. Definitely put to sleep. It's the right decision for the age, temperament and circumstances.

Leggit Sat 25-Feb-17 22:21:03

Horse charities are not there for this.

PTS is he most sensible thing to do. It's heartbreaking to go through, I have done it with a couple of older horses but it is absolutely guaranteed your horse will not end up getting sold on and mistreated and worked hard in his old age.

Spudlet Sat 25-Feb-17 22:27:36

I'm sorry. I truly am. But I used to work for a horse charity - one of the big ones. We couldn't have taken this horse in. We did not have the capacity for anything beyond welfare cases.

But we did take plenty of welfare cases that started out just like yours - the difficult horses. The ones that someone offered to loan, pinched, drugged up and sold. Or just locked away in a box to rot in the dark.

I'm not saying this to attack you, but to show that there are many, many fates for a horse far worse than a swift, easy end in the care of a person who loves them. If you had called us, we would have advised you to put to sleep. So would our fellow charities.

I'm sorry again that you're in this horrible situation. flowers

qwertyuiopasdfghjkl Sat 25-Feb-17 22:32:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gabilan Sat 25-Feb-17 22:45:07

The trouble is the sheer number of horses out there in proportion to good homes available. I bought my horse for £1k a few years ago. He's older, yes, but he can dressage/ event/ jump well beyond the standard that most amateur riders need. He's a lovely horse but he was very cheap because the market is flooded.

There are so many, many horses that would be great retirement companions. Unfortunately there are also a lot of people who think they can take such horses and transform them into something rideable when truth be told they don't have the knowledge or ability. I agree with pp - there are far worse things that can happen to a horse than a swift end to a happy life.

JamDonutsRule Sat 25-Feb-17 22:46:49

I think you owe it to him to try to find a nice home for him (on loan only to ensure he is well looked after) before having him PTS! Especially as judging from your comments you could afford to keep him but don't think it is a wise use of the money because he is crap to ride.

DH thinks it's a waste to spend so much on a horse i get nothing from......If I was to go back to it I would want to do what I enjoy selfishly and he can't do that

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