We own a horse (my daughters). She LOVES him! But over the last few years he has had many injuries. His last one - 6 months ago - has more or less confined him. The vet says he can no longer be jumped, ridden or even got on at all. He can be hand walked and that's it. She doesn't even think he can be turned out on his own. He lives his life in his stall or in a pen outside which is just slightly bigger than his stall. They say he isn't in pain and he seems 'happy'. My daughter doesn't want him living like this and we are at a loss. I have contacted 'retirement' places but since he needs a stall the price is VERY high! Other places wont take him since he is considered too high maintenance. I even contacted a few colleges who have large animal vet programs thinking they could take care of him and study his progress but they don't want him either. My daughter visits him on occasion but its tough, he is in one major east coast city and she is starting her first job after college in another city. I don't know what to do. I'm not a horse person and the vet/trainer aren't much help at all. Any suggestions?????
I am not sure of what to tell you, I know you may not want to hear this but the choice maybe to just have him put down. A horse can't just live his life in a stall, and what injuries does he have to were he can no longer be in a pasture?
First, get a second, hands-on examination second opinion from another vet to see what they say and what recommendations they have.
Second, life is about quality and not quantity. I would turn him out on pasture to retire, and if he hurt himself because that was too much, I would euthanize him. Life stuck in a stall is no life for a horse to lead.
Sometimes the right thing to do is the hardest thing to do. If the quality of life is living in a stall that is not a life and will lead other problems.
My mare shattered her hock destroying the joint back in January of this year, there were two options treat the wound and she would be unusable and most likely in pain for the rest of her life, or have her put down. I had to make the choice to put her down because I could not put her through a life of no life outside of her pen. It still pains me to think about her, she was my everything, but I know she is at peace. If he has no future I say make the hardest call and have him humanly euthanised
Thanks for your responses. I may be saying this wrong but he may have 'fractured' his left hock? I have it all written down and documented, not being a horse person I don't remember off hand. This would have been his most recent injury. Over the last 2 years we have had him x-rayed many times and we had taken some of his bone marrow and mixed it with other and then put back, we have done so much and I feel so bad if we are to put him down but you're right, what kind of life does he have. He is 21 and has lived a great life but the trainer/vet keep telling me that he seems so happy. I feel like they are judging me and they aren't to happy with maybe thinking of putting him down.
Don't worry about people judging you. They are not the ones who are responsible for the care of the horse. It sounds like you have done all you can, and gone above and beyond to help him. "He is 21 and has lived a great life," some horses have a high tolerance for pain, and if he is a trooper he may not show you. You have to do what is right what ever you choose you have to live with the decision, not the vet and not the trainer.
When my mare was injured I was fortunate I suppose, when I asked my vet what she would do she said she would put her down, so that helped me make my decision. It was not any easier to let her go, but I felt better about it.
Do they have you giving him any sort of painkiller like Bute daily? If not and he's comfortable, I'd go ahead and turn him out into a big pasture and see how he does. Like another poster said, if he injures himself further, he may need to be put down, but that's something that I would be looking at already. If he's turned out and comfortable and doesn't re-injure, he could continue to live for a decade or more as a beloved companion/pet.
If he is on bute and is uncomfortable without it, I would spoil him rotten for a few days and then let him quietly go in the arms of someone who cares about him.
At 21 years old, im sure he's had a great life. You have put a ton of money and care into him already. This type of horse is a money-pit unfortunately.
You need to do whats best for him, and to be honest, the least stressful for you. Putting him down would give you piece of mind. You have done everything you can for him. He is going to get worse as he ages. Arthritis is likely to take over, if it hasnt already.
If he was my horse, I would have him put to sleep. Unfortunately, there just arent many options out there for this type of animal.
If he cannot be turned out and will never be able to be turned out, I'd put him down. A horse shouldn't be locked in their stable for the rest of his life. If he can walk without pain though I'd see if I can organise a smallish paddock with perhaps another older horse.