Has anyone else ever had to shoot a horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Has anyone else ever had to shoot a horse?

I posted on another thread a few minutes ago, and it got me thinking
I have had to shoot 6 in my lifetime, I got called when no one else would, or could from the time I was 16. I am thankful I haven't had a bad shot yet, but if at all possible I call the vet and euthanize and have for years.

Yes I still think back and feel sad about every single one of them. But, I think if I had it to do over, I'd still make each well placed shot, just like I did then.

I know it's been bashed to death as being horrific and cruel, but seriously isn't it a better alternative than suffering? Now mind you, I am not talking about (insert name) down the street that shot his poor crippled up horse 9 times because he couldn't shoot the broad side of a barn. I mean a well placed, planned out, one shot, and done deal. I know ill placed shots happen, and they aren't pretty. I just wonder how many would seriously choose a bullet over suffering if euthanasia was hours away and the injury or trauma of a terribly painful nature.

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post #2 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 04:23 PM
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I have seen one such case where the horse was kicked and broke his leg severly. The closest vet was about 3 hours away (we where on a camping trail ride) they could not stand to see the horse suffer that long. Someone with experience took the shot and it was as quick as he was able to make it for the poor horse.
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post #3 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 04:26 PM
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I've not myself but I could/would if it came down to it and my vet couldn't get here. If I wasn't a good shot, not a chance. It would be hard to do but I could do it.

Life is like a camera. Focus on what's important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives and if things don't work out, Take another shot.
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post #4 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 04:26 PM
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I came very close to having to shoot a horse. I was in the BO's house when we looked out in the pasture. We saw one of her two year olds standing in a very unnatural way. We immediately went out to see what was up. We found that his right front leg had two open fractures and was just hanging there.

We immediately called multiple vets looking for one to come euthanize right away. We were having a horrible time finding one not too busy to do it quickly.

I always carry a firearm (cop...remember?) and I went to get it. If there is one thing that surpasses my love for horses, it is my horror in seeing them suffer. I was about to shoot the horse when the owner told me that a vet was 10 minutes away. I decided to wait the 10 minutes.

It is a horrible decision for anyone to have to make. God bless you for being there for other people the way you did. There is nothing worse than needless suffering. As far as I am concerned, a bullet is FAR more humane than waiting a long time for a needle.
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post #5 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 04:31 PM
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Just in case anyone needs to do this, someday...

Details of Euthanasia Methods

The proper location of gunshot penetration is important in the destruction of the brain and minimizing suffering. The optimal site for penetration of the skull is one-half inch above the intersection of a diagonal line from the base of the ear to the in side corner of the opposite eye. The firearm should be aimed directly down the neck, perpendicular to the front of the skull, and held at least 2-6 inches away from the point of impact. When performed skillfully, gunshot induces instantaneous unconscio usness, is inexpensive, and does not require close contact with the horse.

A .22-caliber long rifle is recommended, but a 9mm or .38-caliber handgun will be sufficient for most horses. The use of hollow-point or soft nose bullets will increase brain destruction and reduce the chance of ricochet. If a shotgun is the only avai lable firearm, the use of a rifled slug is preferred.

This method should only be attempted by individuals trained in the use of firearms and who understand the potential for ricochet. Care must be taken to minimize the danger to the operator, observers, and other animals. Personnel must comply with all la ws and regulations governing the posession and discharge of firearms; local ordinances may prohibit the discharge of firearms in certain areas.

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post #6 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 04:37 PM
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There are many people who will swear that a well-placed bullet is quicker and even more humane than a lethal injection. If it came to that, I would definitely opt for a bullet over waiting a very long time for a vet.
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post #7 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 05:31 PM
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Why are we having this conversation?

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
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post #8 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 05:40 PM
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I've never shot a gun so if this were to happen.. I don't know what I'd do.

But good on you for biting the bullet (no pun intended) and ending a painful experience for the horse(s,) OP.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #9 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 06:06 PM
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We've put down a pony this way before after she almost killed the farrier. It was completely out of the blue, with no provocation and it wasn't the first time she had gone after a person - she'd also double-barreled a nine-year-old child. The farrier had just finished with one of her back feet and was gently setting it down when she went after him. Honestly, if our farrier hadn't gotten his arm up when he did, he'd be in the ground right now, as it was his arm was broken and he had to be out of work until it healed. If the circumstances were different, we definitely would've tried to re-train her, but as things are, our horses are out on pasture board that isn't on our property, and we couldn't take the risk that someone would be stupid and bring their kid in to "pet teh purrty pony" and have her attack them, there literally was no rhyme or reason to her going after people - she had no history of abuse, and was well cared for all of her life, she wasn't in pain, and she wasn't provoked.

The person taking the shot was an experienced large-game hunter and he researched shot placement and actually drew the placement lines on the mare's head to best ensure accuracy. He ended up taking a total of three shots - he was pretty sure the first one did it, but he wanted to be 100% sure that she was dead as quickly as possible, so he immediately fired the other two. And then the carcass was moved into a pit that was already dug on a relative's property.

We chose to shoot her instead of having her PTS with an injection mostly due to cost and ease of disposal and accessibility of a shooter vs a vet, and it's a choice that we don't regret - she needed to go right then since she presented considerable danger to both other horses and people and a bullet was more accessible than a shot.
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post #10 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 06:08 PM
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I would always try to get a vet to euthanize but if the vet wasgoing to be ages then no I would use a gun. If I was In the horses situation I would prefer it.
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