Has anyone else ever had to shoot a horse? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 11:12 PM
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Joe, 22 cal is always considered better for euthanasia. They tend to bounce around inside the cranium doing MUCH more damage than a higher caliber that would go through. That is why .22's are the "weapon of choice" for professional assassins. Raegan and Brady were shot with a 22. That is why there was so much damage from even the poor shot placement.

I sure hope no one here is ever in a situation that requires such an action. But, if they are, may their shot be sure and true!
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post #22 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 11:20 PM
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I'm a shooter, not a hunter...but a 44 mag seems like overdoing it to me. My son-in-law shot some horses for neighbors in his teens & told me a 22 is good enough, although I think he used a .38 most of the time.

However, FWIW, here are 2 stories from 1917 that I came across:

EMBARRASSING MOMENTS I was called one dark rainy night to a place in the western part of the city where the alleys were not paved and on arrival found a well developed case of tetanus. The attack was so severe and the animal of so little value that I considered treatment useless and advised the owner to have the animal killed to this he agreed. I have always favored a well directed bullet as being the most expeditious and humane way of destroying a horse and as I had no gun with me I called the police officer on that beat to kill the horse for us.

When the policeman came up to the horse I asked him if he knew how to shoot a horse to kill him instantly he said he guessed not as only a few days before he had emptied his revolver into a horse's head and then had to kill it with an axe. I offered to show him where to shoot a horse so that he would always kill it instantly he seemed much pleased saying that the boys at the station had laughed at him a whole lot because after expending all his ammunition on a horse he had to get an axe to kill it. I showed him the exact spot at which to aim his gun and explained how he needs must hold the gun high since as is usually the case in tetanus the horse's head was greatly elevated.

He stepped directly before the horse and only about a foot in front of its nose and placed the gun in the proper position. I cautioned him to step to one side for reasons of safety and this he did. However when he aimed from his new position he wasn t sure that he was getting it just right and he unconsciously stepped in front of the horse again. With the discharge of the gun the horse lunged forward knocking the policeman over into the mud which was several inches deep and falling partly upon the man it lay without a struggle.

We actually had to roll the horse off the policeman before he could get up and when he did get up his uniform which was a new one was a sight to behold. I went into the house and got some newspapers and with them rubbed the mud off his uniform as much as possible but a goodly portion was left. I greatly feared the resentment of the policeman on account of the unfortunate outcome but he did not look at it that way at all and the first words he said when we rolled the horse off him were Be gorry I know just how to do it now He died without kicking.


Chicago 111 James Robertson / I was called one night just after dark to see a horse out in Woodlawn the silk stocking district of the South Side. We decided that killing was best for the animal and I called the policeman on the beat to do it. He demurred and said he had better see his captain which he did and came back with a report that the captain said we must not shoot in that locality since it was then dark and might frighten the people which would result in endless telephone calls and requests for protection etc. I was much put out at this and assured the policeman that to shoot the horse was much the best way and asked him since his captain would not let him do it to let me have his gun and I would do it myself. The policeman said that he could not do that that I must not make any noise in killing the horse. I assured him that I would place the muzzle of the gun tightly against the horse's head and that the noise would not be heard even in the nearest apartment.

Somewhat relunctantly he handed me his gun. I looked about for something to stand on that would place me high enough to properly direct the bullet and the only thing I could see was a board fence which was about seventy five feet long and six feet high made of boards stood on end. It was a very old fence and very rickety and it was not without difficulty that I climbed upon it and had them lead the horse up to me. The gun went off with a terrific roar and the horse lunged forward striking the fence and knocking the entire seventy five feet of it down. I never heard boards make such a clattering noise It sounded as if a building had been blown up. I fell two thirds of the way across the alley but lost no time in getting away from there before I could hear from the captain. O no I didn't make any noise I just precipitated a cataclysm!
Different times...and I have no desire to go back to them!

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #23 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 11:20 PM
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Has anyone had to shot a horse?

No, but there's been a few times I'd have liked to!

In all seriousness, this thread has been very informative, especially the diagram of the optimal spot to aim for . Hope I don't have to face such a thing, but if it came down to letting my horse suffer or screwing up my courage to end it's pain, I'd opt to end it.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, "Oh crap, she's up!".
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post #24 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by trailhorserider View Post
Does the euthanasia solution have a half-life or something? Or does it just stay in the soil forever?

I have no doubts a bullet does a good job, but I could not be there for it. I would think it would leave a mental scar on the person that does it too. Of course, euthanasia is not pretty no matter how it is done.

I have heard horror stories about horses shot and assumed dead and then they got up later after the owner left and were wandering around out in the woods with a head wound. Not good!

I worked at a vet's office when I was younger and held many dogs and cats in my arms while they were euthanized. It took an emotional toll on me having things die all the time. That's why I quit working there.
The euthanasia solution is very potent. Years ago I read an article about low quality dog food using euthanized dogs,cats and horses in their food(listed as meat by-products) The solution survives the rendering process and is known to cause all kinds of health problems(cancer later in life as well as kidney and liver failure).

That is also my issue with a bullet, there is no way that I could be there for that. I also worked at a small animal vet, for 4 years, and I also assisted in many euthanasias, It really does take a toll on you, most were peaceful as the dogs/cats were old and ready, but then you had the occasional one where the animal would fight the drugs, certainly not an easy thing to watch especially with the owner there.

August on 2010 I had a horse euthanized, I had just gotten her the day before and she had severely foundered, she couldn't even walk out of her stall for the vet exam and x-rays. When we saw how bad her feet were(if you click on "Faith" in my horses you can see them there) we knew we had to put her down. We had to do it on the stall since she couldn't walk out of it. It was pretty traumatic, when she went down she hit the wall hard and the whole barn shook. That was the first time I ever witnessed a horse being put down, my mare who we put down when I was 18(~8 years ago) I was at work for. I didn't even know it was being done until I got home, probably for the best, but I still regret not being there, I would have liked some of her tail , I hardly even have any pics of Tiffany.

Sorry for my long ranting not so much relevant info post...
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post #25 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 11:27 PM
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My mare was shot, I came home from work one day and found her with an open break to the front canon, her leg was quite literally attached by a few bits of hair and skin.
The best and quickest option was to shoot her, she was gone in an instant.

I had my thoroughbred put down on Monday, under very different circumstances to the mare. He had on going issues, wasn't under any accute pain and suffering so there was no need to rush. I opted to have him euthanised by lethal injection. He was heavily sedated first, so that he was knocked out completely and on the ground, before the final drug was given. No convulsing, no stress what so ever. He just took a last breath and drifted off.

A friend was talking to me last night, about a horse she saw being euthanised by lethal injection. She had a broken leg, the vet did not sedate first, and the horse dropped to the ground in the stable and 'galloped' for a full minute, smashing all 4 legs, splintering the stable etc.

I think it really depends on the situation. For my mare, gunshot was the most efficient method. For my thoroughbred, I am very glad that I went with the lethal injection, as his passing was incredibly humane, calm and easy for all involved.

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post #26 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 11:30 PM
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I don't believe that I myself would be able to do it, but have never been in a situation where it was warranted. If something does come about though, I know who to ask to do it and know where the firearm is located on the property.
Interesting though, that it would be much easier for me to put a human out of his/her misery much easier than one of my horses or dogs... my vet has put down several of my dogs over the years and there was nothing dismal about it. But then again, it was the vet who gave the injection, not me...
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post #27 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 11:33 PM
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If your horse is in pain, the vet can't come out to put it down, or you can't afford it, it would be very hard, but sure, I would do it, but, ONLY if I was a great shot and knew where to shoot. Which I do and am..

“Good things come to those who wait… greater things come to those who get off their *** and do anything to make it happen.” - Unknown
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post #28 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 11:33 PM
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Kayty, my condolences on your loss. I want to thank you for sharing both experiences with us. It helps me to decide when the time has come which direction I would prefer to go in if the circumstances allow.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, "Oh crap, she's up!".
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post #29 of 66 Old 01-24-2012, 11:49 PM
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I just couldn't imagine shooting my Ransom, even if he was in pain. I think I would have to go with a lethal injection..I just couldn't stand the gun, I've always sort of been afraid of guns..The lethal injection sounds more humane. But if it was someone else's horse and we had to act fast, I would probably offer the idea, but I wouldn't do it myself.
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post #30 of 66 Old 01-25-2012, 12:52 AM
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This topic really got me thinking.
I guess if the horse was in pain and the vet was too far away I would find someone who is a good shot and knew where to do it. But I doubt I could ever do it myself.
However, I want to be a vet when I grow up so hopefully I'll never have to opt to shoot my own horse rather than give it some relaxers then the lethal injection.
This may be a little off topic but its kind of similar. My cousin got this dog when she was two and she grew up with it. About two years ago (when the dog was 13ish) she started looking bad. She had a bulging tumor in her stomach area, she was blind, and she was deaf. They had planned an appointment a few months ago to put her out of her misery but it wasn't soon enough. They walked outside and found her laying on the ground struggling for breath. They needed to help her die. The vet was two hours out and she wouldnt die comfortably if they had waited. So My aunt and her brother sufocated the dog with a towel.
The worst part was that about 30 minutes after they killed her, a fellow horse rider messaged my aunt telling her the name of a liquid that could kill a dog or cat by rubbing it on their gums. It would have been less stressful and she would have drifted away. I can't for the life of me remember the name though.

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