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Hi all,

I'm new here. I've been actively reading for a few years but never made an account to join.

This is probably going to be long, so congrats if you manage to read to the end...

I need advice, opinions, support.. anything I guess regarding PTS for my horse that I have owned for 18 years.

He is now 22, a lof of many happy years, things were not always easy but we had fun together.

8 years ago he had a stroke whilst in his field. This left incurable neurological damage. Within a few hours he went from being a very calm, friendly horse, to a very nervous, unpredictable horse.

I stopped riding him forever and decided to keep him as a field pet, because I have land at home and another horse to keep company.
Since his stroke, he's been very difficult to manage, his behavior was unrecognizable, but he is still as beautiful as always. We had to stop stabling him because he was becoming too dangerous (would crush you, panic in his stable...) and developed breathing problems, so we were told to leave him out 24/7. He has now lived out fully for about 7 years.

I was hoping he would get better over the years, but he hasn't. On the rare occasion, we can stroke him, or even manage to slip a rope around his neck to catch him. This is probably once or twice a year.

He is in excellent physical condition even though he is barely groomed and touched. I have always made sure he had access to quality feed and he is still so beautiful, you would never guess he is 22 ! He is in perfect condition, weight and his coat is beautiful.

I have always made sure that he was correctly fed, de wormed and well cared for, even though he had pretty much turned feral by this point.

For the past few years, it's been more and more difficult to catch him in his field. We can spend hours and hours and hours, we have tried everything. Nothing works.

He is very spooky and scared of everything, which made me think that he may have some eyesight issues, but apparently not. He used to be a very respectful horse, he now would not hesitate to run you down. He is not a nasty horse, he just is no longer "all there" I would say.

I managed to catch him this summer after months of not being able to get close to him. He had a proper make over, full shower... he was well pampered and de wormed. I caught him whilst he was having his afternoon nap.

Over the past 2 years, we have caught him about 3 times. Which means he hasn't seen the farrier, he hasn't had his vaccines for 2 years, he hasn't seen the dentist for even longer.

His hooves grow very slow so when the farrier comes for my other horse, he just looks at them from a distance. We haven't managed to catch him for the farrier to get a good close up look at them. Farrier says they are fine but I would like to have them checked out properly from time to time.

I have tried everything including calmers to try and catch him. It's mission impossible.

I wish, wish, wish, he wasn't so spooky and could be caught on a regular basis for basic care.
It's very difficult to even get a rug on him in the winter. Luckily, most times, when he is really cold, he will finally stand there and let me put a rug on his back without too much trouble. Again, no ropes or head collars in sight.

I often tell myself that things cannot go on like this, one day he will get ill or need veterinary treatment (or again just a general vet and farrier checkup) and we won't be able to get near him to give him proper care he needs.

I noticed he was slightly lame on one leg this morning, and upon inspection we saw that he has a wound behind his pastern. It doesn't look good, it looks like it is infected and he needs the vet.
We tried this afternoon for hours to catch him but we couldn't.

I ended up leaving him, in tears, again and calling it quits, hoping tomorrow will be another day. I can't leave him in need of professional care, but I don't know how we can give it to him if we can barely touch him.

These past 8 years have been mentally and physically draining.

Maybe it's time to call it a day... :cry:
 

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Unfortunately only you can make that decision, but my sympathies for what you are going through. I am a true believer in the statement “Better a day too early than a day too late”, and if he has an injury that is already infected and requires professional care, you are looking at possibly an emergency visit in the event he becomes immobile due to the infection and additional expense involved in care. If he has neurological issues plus possible vision issues,
I would liken that to a human who has suffered a stroke or dementia. His feral behavior may be from fear.

Best wishes on making this very difficult decision.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I'm sorry. But yes, it's time. He will suffer if he has an injury you cannot treat and while there are ways to give a feral horse medical treatment (if they can do it with a lion, they can do it with a feral horse), you have to ask yourself whether it's the right thing to do. It would also require resources that you may not have. It sounds like he has permanent neurological damage and possibly that he has not been regularly handled so has grown more and more feral. He has no future as a riding horse, and if he cannot be safely caught and treated, then he has no future as a pasture pet either.

I think it is time to let him go. Better now than in the middle of the night when he is down in the field and will suffer long hours before help comes to relieve him of his pain. If you wait until it is really obvious that he is suffering, you will have waited too long.

Please feel free to come back and talk about it afterwards. We understand and are here to support other horse people in the good and the bad.
 

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If you can afford to regularly have someone come out and dart him down in the field with a tranquilizer to do medical stuff then he might do all right. You'd be managing him like you would some kind of captive wildlife that can't be handled. But that's kind of a tough life and frankly it would be easier on the horse to let him go. He won't know the difference, it's just hard for us as humans because we care about them to let them cross the bridge.
 

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I'll start by saying that I don't want to discredit the fact that at least part of his behavior is caused by a medical issue. My horse of similar age has undergone some serious psychological changes due to medical issues despite our best efforts, so I completely understand the despair of having a horse you don't recognize some days. My heart is with you on that one and I'm sorry you're experiencing it 💛 However, it's also possible that he "cannot be caught" because... it's been working for him. It's our job as humans to train our animals to accept routine handling so that we can provide them with basic care. Keeping animals trained and tame requires some degree of "maintenance training" and consistency. So at this point, you have a decision to make whether it is worth yours and the horse's time, stress, and effort to get him caught, put in a corral, treat his injury, and retrain him.

If keeping him in a smaller environment or training him to accept handling again is not in the cards, I'd say that having 8 years in a field with a horsey friend, being able to cruise around and do as he pleased makes for a good last chapter of life. He doesn't deserve to suffer and if you cannot provide him with regular care due to his behavior, putting him to sleep would be a kindness.
 

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Yea, as I was reading I was thinking about the darting, also.

You seem to have two choices, let him be and see if he stays healthy on his own, and eventually putting him down when he does not stay healthy, or doing it now. In any case, you will likely have to make this decision at some point. There is no good answer here, but it is good to get feedback from those of us who have had to do it.
 

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I think it's up to you to decide the ultimate choice. But I do want to say I'm so, so sorry you have to go through this. I just had to go through this as well with my mare. Losing your best friend is hard, and I'm so very sorry. Prayers being sent your way to both guide you in your decision and comfort you in whatever you decide. ❤
 

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I 100% believe that we owe our horses the best life we can give them, and when that’s no longer possible, also owe them the best death we can give them.

Reading your story is heartbreaking, for both of you, but as an outsider looking in, it’s time, it’s past time. I just keep thinking of what sort of life he has in his head, yes physically he looks good, but his mental, well being does Not sound great.

it’s horrible having to make the decision, but I would give him peace.
 

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@Nounours92

You have my upmost sympathies, eight years is a long time to spend mentally and physically drained.

Euthanize the horse. He's had eight years of living relatively naturally and had a happy conventional life for ten years beforehand. That's nothing to sniff at!

Yes, he still looks beautiful... But he's near impossible to catch and once caught, he obviously doesn't enjoy it. He can't be given routine care to assure continued good health, he can't be assessed for changes from exam to exam, he can't be monitored for contagious diseases.

He already has a severe wound in need of treatment, he's already eluded your attempts at capturing him for treatment.

Yes, you can peruse extreme care methods like darting... If you can find a local vet willing to do that, which is a huge gamble.

But at the end of the day, it's not just about your horse - You are incredibly important too! And if you've had enough, if caring for your horse has become too difficult to manage (Which, no offense, but it sounds like your situation is already well past that stage) and simply isn't enjoyable anymore...

Then there's no shame in saying goodbye.
 

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8 years ago he had a stroke whilst in his field. This left incurable neurological damage. Within a few hours he went from being a very calm, friendly horse, to a very nervous, unpredictable horse.

Over the past 2 years, we have caught him about 3 times. Which means he hasn't seen the farrier, he hasn't had his vaccines for 2 years, he hasn't seen the dentist for even longer.

I noticed he was slightly lame on one leg this morning, and upon inspection we saw that he has a wound behind his pastern. It doesn't look good, it looks like it is infected and he needs the vet.

Maybe it's time to call it a day...
Yes, it's absolutely time. He cannot be safely handled at all, and his care is being neglected as a result.

From an outside perspective with no emotional attachment, please, put him down.

Set up a small corral with panels and put some food in it to "lure him in" so that he is in a smaller area so you can safely catch him.
 

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Like some have said, only you can make that call, BUT! He's telling you every way he can, it's time. Life is no fun any more. Don't ask him to take another winter. Life will not get better for this horse. He had the summer. Don't ask for the winter.
Say goodbye, and let him go.
 

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I offer hugs of support.
No matter which way you proceed someone may have a unkind word...but they have not and are not walking in your footsteps and finding defeat no matter how hard, how often you try and different approaches tried.

At this point the animal is truly suffering if he has a wound looking infected and you can not treat or help him...
You lost your horse when he had that stroke, the animal existing since then may resemble yours but is something foreign you did your best to keep healthy and safe.

I too think the time has come to say no more for the animal...
No more of the torture he now has being so fearful he runs, hides and will hurt you to evade your touch and care.
I'm not sure darting is enough to keep you safe as animals can blow through dart medications and catch you in harms way if not truly facing your death by this animal.

I would speak to the vet and tell him its time but you want to do this painlessly, and safely for all who will be near when it happens.
Does darting and can darting him enough allow hands-on drugs to be administered safely for all or does darting then...{I'm sorry} but one who is gifted with accuracy shoot him dead so there so no more pain, danger or suffering of horse or human.
A final resting spot needs determined and arranged before any of this comes to that day...
But the questions are valid...and you need the information and answers truthfully given.

To me, the horse is suffering now.
Out of his mind in fear is not a way to live when he knew you and was your loved pet knowing kindness and love from you...
I would euthanize him. The sooner the better with a injury now that could give him more reason to fear and be harmed by other animals as he is less than what he was and his escape is hampered by a sore foot.
I'm so sorry you are having this happen.

There is dignity in death when done correctly.
There is a release of spirit so the animal again soars free and so your heart hurts with loss but not the burden of worry.
Send your friend home, free to roam the heavens..til you meet again in future.
🐴..
 

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I am sorry for both you and your horse for what you have gone through for the past several years. You have done everything you could to give him a good home/retirement.
But I do wonder what the quality of his life has been, I don't know how he behaves when he is out on pasture even with the other horse. Does he behave like he is in constant fear and worrying. I know you said you can't catch him and this must be scary for him but if he is living in constant fear of "whatever" even when no one is bothering him it seems to me that the quality of his life is not that great.
Only you can make a decision and I know it hurts to have to think of putting him down but sometimes it is the best choice to make
If it was my horse I would spend some time just watching him to see how he manages day to day living, if I thought he was worrying or frightened most of the time I hope I could make the right choice.
Sorry you have to think of these things.
 

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Hi all,

I'm new here. I've been actively reading for a few years but never made an account to join.

This is probably going to be long, so congrats if you manage to read to the end...

I need advice, opinions, support.. anything I guess regarding PTS for my horse that I have owned for 18 years.

He is now 22, a lof of many happy years, things were not always easy but we had fun together.

8 years ago he had a stroke whilst in his field. This left incurable neurological damage. Within a few hours he went from being a very calm, friendly horse, to a very nervous, unpredictable horse.

I stopped riding him forever and decided to keep him as a field pet, because I have land at home and another horse to keep company.
Since his stroke, he's been very difficult to manage, his behavior was unrecognizable, but he is still as beautiful as always. We had to stop stabling him because he was becoming too dangerous (would crush you, panic in his stable...) and developed breathing problems, so we were told to leave him out 24/7. He has now lived out fully for about 7 years.

I was hoping he would get better over the years, but he hasn't. On the rare occasion, we can stroke him, or even manage to slip a rope around his neck to catch him. This is probably once or twice a year.

He is in excellent physical condition even though he is barely groomed and touched. I have always made sure he had access to quality feed and he is still so beautiful, you would never guess he is 22 ! He is in perfect condition, weight and his coat is beautiful.

I have always made sure that he was correctly fed, de wormed and well cared for, even though he had pretty much turned feral by this point.

For the past few years, it's been more and more difficult to catch him in his field. We can spend hours and hours and hours, we have tried everything. Nothing works.

He is very spooky and scared of everything, which made me think that he may have some eyesight issues, but apparently not. He used to be a very respectful horse, he now would not hesitate to run you down. He is not a nasty horse, he just is no longer "all there" I would say.

I managed to catch him this summer after months of not being able to get close to him. He had a proper make over, full shower... he was well pampered and de wormed. I caught him whilst he was having his afternoon nap.

Over the past 2 years, we have caught him about 3 times. Which means he hasn't seen the farrier, he hasn't had his vaccines for 2 years, he hasn't seen the dentist for even longer.

His hooves grow very slow so when the farrier comes for my other horse, he just looks at them from a distance. We haven't managed to catch him for the farrier to get a good close up look at them. Farrier says they are fine but I would like to have them checked out properly from time to time.

I have tried everything including calmers to try and catch him. It's mission impossible.

I wish, wish, wish, he wasn't so spooky and could be caught on a regular basis for basic care.
It's very difficult to even get a rug on him in the winter. Luckily, most times, when he is really cold, he will finally stand there and let me put a rug on his back without too much trouble. Again, no ropes or head collars in sight.

I often tell myself that things cannot go on like this, one day he will get ill or need veterinary treatment (or again just a general vet and farrier checkup) and we won't be able to get near him to give him proper care he needs.

I noticed he was slightly lame on one leg this morning, and upon inspection we saw that he has a wound behind his pastern. It doesn't look good, it looks like it is infected and he needs the vet.
We tried this afternoon for hours to catch him but we couldn't.

I ended up leaving him, in tears, again and calling it quits, hoping tomorrow will be another day. I can't leave him in need of professional care, but I don't know how we can give it to him if we can barely touch him.

These past 8 years have been mentally and physically draining.

Maybe it's time to call it a day... :cry:
Honestly, if it's for the best, it might be time to say goodbye. Have you looked into sending him off to a professional trainer that might be the last chance for help? I'm sorry to hear about your situation and I have a feeling you'll do the right thing either way. We're here for you ❤
 

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Acepromazine can be given orally, so if the horse will eat out of a bucket you could try giving some in a bit of grain. That potentially could make the horse calm enough to get closer and use some Dormosedan gel on the gums to get him sedated. At that point the vet could inject sedation in order to do what is needed.

I've never seen a horse with a stroke that did not need to be put down right away, so I would say your horse has had a much longer lifespan than would be expected. At this point, since you are unable to treat the horse even in the case of an accident, I would think the kindest thing would be to put the horse down.

It is a very hard decision to make, and there are always people who will question you about it. Some people will even try to make others feel they should have kept trying with a very old and sick horse. I believe it's far better to euthanize a horse with issues before you get into a situation where they are suffering and traumatized. Most here have had to make this decision and we know how heartbreaking it is to lose a horse.
 

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Honestly, if it's for the best, it might be time to say goodbye. Have you looked into sending him off to a professional trainer that might be the last chance for help? I'm sorry to hear about your situation and I have a feeling you'll do the right thing either way. We're here for you ❤
The horse had a stroke and has neurological issues. Not something a trainer will work him out of.
 

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It seems like he has been allowed to "go feral" due to lack of frequent handling. Some horses learn to avoid people due to fear or poor handling and if turned out in a huge pasture they turn back into wild animals.

I had a friend ask me to come work with some older horses that should be suitable for children to ride. Those horses acted like they had never seen a saddle in their life. Because they weren't being handled much if at all they were reverting back into wild animals. No way were those horses suitable for anything without completely restarting them under saddle.

If you are feeding this horse, you need to set up corral panels and make a small pen with a chute. Then you should be able to catch him.

Vets do have options for sedation. You can probably mix something in his feed to sedate him to catch him, if you really wanted.
 
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