Has anyone else ever had to shoot a horse? - Page 7 - The Horse Forum
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post #61 of 66 Old 01-26-2012, 05:46 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Lancing, TN
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You asked!!!!!!

Couple years ago, Big 17 hand mare - grey - large cancerous tumor in udder - time to put her down. Wife is already upset about the whole matter, but we cannot feed animals that don't produce and we had promised the previous owner that the animal would die on our farm - no rides to any slaughterhouses for this animal!! Now, my favorite deadly weapon of choice for short range work is a .410 pistol. Very deadly at less than 10 yards! Now as stated previously this mare is 17+ hands and most of our animals are 13-15 hands. Well I lead the mare to a previously dug hole, put the gun to her head, pull the trigger, AND I MISSED HER BRAIN!!!!!!!!! Probably no more than 1/2 ", but HERE SHE COMES - I was almost trampled! Well she runs up the road to my dad's buisness - about 200yds, and a "concerned" "not minding her own buisness" woman steps out out of the shop to observe - mare sees her and turns around and heads back to the barn. In the interim, the country vet shows up on a completly different issue - just poor timming! The mare is bleeding like you cut both juglar viens out of her mouth and falls down at the front of the barn. My poor wife runs sobbing to the vet and asks him to give the mare some "juice". By this time, I am madder than a hornet that 1. the vet and I go way back, and he is laughing at me, 2. I am now having to pay the vet for the "juice" when I was trying to avoid that in the first place, 3. My wife is mad at me!, 4. One of my employees is not helping, he is leaned over the backhoe vomiting.

Later after I had calmed down, the vet says that he has messed up several as well and that the mare would have probably been dead in another 30 seconds - but, he needed the extra cash anyway!

So that is why I shoot them from about 20-50 yards! I work real hard on my aim as well!
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post #62 of 66 Old 01-26-2012, 08:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Comanche, Ok
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I've had to shoot several and helped use lethal injection, I prefer the bullet any day.

with the bullet the horses were jerking BUT it was nerves dying off causing that, the horses were in fact already dead and only a couple have done this

when I helped a vet with the injection it was a sad sight, he had me sit on the poor mares neck/head area to hold her down (she had went down and couldn't get back up, was a rescue horse in her 20s) when he administered the shot, it seemed as though she wad in so much pain, she was thrashing around fully alive trying to get up, threw me off her neck trying to stand then just collapsed.... It was horrible....
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post #63 of 66 Old 01-26-2012, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Ga
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Originally Posted by Corporal View Post
It's downright cruel to let them suffer. If there is no other option a bullet is a blessing to a suffering soul.
This is why I asked this question to begin with. We all love our 4 legged partners, and in my mind I could never see letting one suffer for longer than absolutely necessary.

There have been some awesome discussion on this thread, and I do appreciate that everyone has kept it constructive. It's a terrible issue to think of, but we take these guys into our hearts, homes, barns, and lives. IMHO it is just as important to plan an emergency euthanasia as it is to plan for fire, natural disaster, and emergency services.

As far as the impact on the owners well it isn't something to think lightly of. If you aren't sure where and how to place the shot PLEASE get someone with more experience to do it! One of the poor guys I had to put down was sitting with 3 bullets in his head, bleeding and screaming, and it was the most horrific one I have had to do.

To this day, his owner has never gotten another horse. She was traumatized by the attempt to shoot him and the subsequent failure of her efforts. There are pros and cons for everything in our lives. But the more knowledge we have, the greater our chances of making a decision that we can live with in the event that something goes wrong. It can and does go wrong! I have seen euthanasia go horribly wrong for all kinds of animals. (Former BOD for an animal shelter)

Thank you to everyone, even the caliber discussion group, for thinking and placing more information at other horse owners disposal. The more we learn, think, and discuss, the more our animals benefit.

When you close your mind to alternatives you may be forced to make a decision that you can not live with, after the fact. If I had not called the vet out for one, he'd have been gone a lot faster, and I'd not hear him scream sometimes in my dreams. 3 hours of screaming and thrashing is not something you want to ever have to repeat. Impaction colic can and does often become extremely painful, in a very short time. He was 24 years old. He did nothing in his life to deserve to die like he did. I own a pistol for just this reason. I swore after that episode with my friends old guy, I'd not be without a pistol ever again.

If anyone learned anything from this AWESOME! I hope it got people thinking and planning. Life is short, and it shouldn't be filled with regrets and recriminations for the animals that mean so much to us.
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post #64 of 66 Old 01-26-2012, 10:16 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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I would shoot one if I didn't have access to a vet within a reasonable time. But if I could avoid it, I sure wouldn't be grabbing my husbands .22 LR but rather my .38 special. I see the difference in our targets when we shoot aluminum sheets and I sure wouldn't want to rely on chance "bouncing around" to get the job done. Even when they talk about conceal carry its recommended not to use .22 but 9 mm or .38. If the .22 really did so much more damage I would assume that the .22 LR would be the big recommendation.

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #65 of 66 Old 01-26-2012, 10:34 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
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Originally Posted by Cat View Post
... Even when they talk about conceal carry its recommended not to use .22 but 9 mm or .38. If the .22 really did so much more damage I would assume that the .22 LR would be the big recommendation.
For concealed carry purposes, it is assumed your shot may be taken under high stress, without a chance to aim, against an armed man. That is very different from taking an aimed shot at 3 inches - although if I had to shoot a horse, I'd use a .38 or 44 special. Neither would be likely to go out the far side of the horse's head with enough velocity to endanger a bystander.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #66 of 66 Old 01-27-2012, 02:26 PM
Green Broke
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I have had to shoot cattle.. but not a horse. I used a .22 magnum or a .243 and it was against the head. No long shots. The horses I have had or been around that had to be put down were usually done by the knacker. We always had him kill them and then he took them for dog food and rendering. He was very good at his job and used a .22 magnum and he never missed in all the years I was around and he was doing this. He also put a cow or two down. I know about the X on between ears and eyes.
I worked on two farms and owned one where his services were used. On the one farm the horses euthanized were not always on their last legs.. and in one case the horse was put down because the owner had been skunked by the seller (TB mare.. 10 years old.. was supposed to be in foal to a TB called "Black Duck" and she has no foal.. she had pus instead.. then she developed lymphangitis.. and recovered fully.. and the woman was so disgusted because she believed she was cheated when the mare came in heat she called the knacker and had her put down almost out of revenge.. poor horse.. .. and the repro vet said the horse could be bred and probably would produce a live foal.. and yeah.. that whole thing still aggravates me, tho all the players in this, with the exception of the knacker, are now dead).

I have heard some horses will fight the anesthesia.. and I have sedated horses for other reasons (not to be euthanized) and had them fight the sedation..

The bullet was swift. Some of the horses postured after.. but they were dead and it was just nervous system reactivity.

Yes. I would put down an animal with a gun to end suffering and I have.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
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