Putting down one of a bonded pair - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 04-23-2019, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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Putting down one of a bonded pair

A few months ago I took in a pair of miniatures from a lady who was moving. This is a mother son pair that are very closely bonded. They get very upset if separated by more than a few feet. Problem is they are horribly foundered and their feet were severely neglected. The older mare’s hooves are twisted so she walks on the outside of her feet and you can see that she tries to carry most of her weight on her front legs.
Lately shes gotten quite thin and spends most of her days laying down. I’m just sick about these poor little things.

My farrier said the mare’s feet, are beyond help and of course she’s in pain. My vet agrees. The younger one is better and we believe with regular maintenance will be ok. I have other horses and one other miniature. I keep the pair separated to avoid them being pushed around, fighting for food etc.

Sounds terrible, I know, but we had to wait till the ground thawed, before we could even think about putting her down, but now here we are. My question is what can I do to help the younger one so it’s not so traumatic for him. Until he can be more mobile I don’t want him out with the others.

Am I being overly sensitive about this little guy? Never seen a pair bonded like these two are. Would putting the other mini in help?

Thanks for any advice!
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post #2 of 11 Old 04-23-2019, 11:29 PM
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I'm sorry that you are faced with this decision, but of course it sounds like the right one. If the other mini coming in to the group would cause the old mare to be forced to run around, then it would be wrong to bring it in while she is still alive.


I don't know if this is true, but I've heard that it helps to let the bonded member who is still alive smell the body, before burying it.


Sorry if I have nothing better to offer.

First you get with the horse, then you get the horse with you.
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post #3 of 11 Old 04-24-2019, 12:01 AM
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Could you put the other mini next door with a fence between them? Maybe get some portable electric fencing?

Horses can bond over the fence. I would want to introduce them as soon as possible. Having another horse nearby should help.

Maybe some sedation for the colt when the vet comes out? That way you don't have a screaming running horse on sore feet. In fact, i think i would insist on sedation for him. Less traumatic for you as well.

I dread the day my old mare passes. I will have the same issue. Harmony is very bonded, even if they aren't a mother daughter pair.

I think you are doing the right thing. Founder is so painful.
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-24-2019, 02:23 AM
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Tingling is correct in letting him sniff the body of his dam. He will sniff and paw at her but accept that she is gone after a while. He might be restless for a few days after but should soon settle.
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-24-2019, 08:01 AM
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I had a bonded pair wish i had let the gelding left, sniff see his passed on buddy. He did get over it but think he did more calling looking for buddy, then had let him have time to process his buddy was dead. I know my decision to put down my old guy was the right one.

My horse I had put down in 2018 almost a year ago was also in pain. Hard for me to do I cried a lot don't just erase 27 years of owning a wonderful horse.

Sorry you're having to go through this, not easy but sounds like mare is in a lot of pain. It's the right thing to do.
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-24-2019, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all so much. That makes a lot of sense. I agree it’s better he knows what happened.
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-24-2019, 10:12 AM
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I agree with the things mentioned above. Start (if you can) by putting your least aggressive horse in the pen next to the mini's. Do this for a couple of weeks. When it is time to let the older mini go. Let the other stay with her for as long as you can. I know it is hard to see him investigate and grieve so walk away if you can. Leave hay or grain out for him and when he walks away you know it is safe to bury her.

God Bless you for taking them in. This is the hardest part of rescue. Knowing when to let them go.

I live in NW IL (near Lena) welcome to the forum.
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-24-2019, 10:26 AM
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I've worried twice about similar things - two 3 year olds that had been together since birth, I really expected the mare to fret when we sold the gelding but she didn't even seem to notice he'd gone. Oddly when we sold a mare that was a year younger that she'd never been that close too and had been apart from several times in the past, she got very upset about and didn't eat for a few days when she was sold but soon returned to normal.
When Flo was euthanized we expected Honey to get really upset as she usually hated her going out of her sight but she didn't seem to be remotely bothered and carried on as if nothing had happened. We didn't let her sniff the body.

Just winging it is not a plan
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-24-2019, 11:35 AM
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I had a 1/2 sister pair that was bonded. The older one died from sand colic. The younger one was devastated. I started doing things with her out of the ordinary (she was not yet started) to take her mind off of it - I ponied her out, took her on walks outside the property, made up obstacles to her to do, anything I could think of. It actually helped us both. I had another horse, but the company didn't do much for her.

I have never done the sniffing thing, but even if you do that and she's still depressed, I'd try something that will work her mind a bit and take it off of the loss of her buddy.

They are very fortunate to end up with you.
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-24-2019, 11:45 AM
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What i have found over the years is that if an owner is really upset and depressed over having a pet put to sleep their other animals take it hard.
If the owner accepts that what was done was for the best and accepts it as part of life the other animals don't seem to miss their companion.
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