It can be seen every day, in all formats of social media, equine classifieds, flyers in tack shops and more: “Beloved, unrideable horse free to a good home.”
Carol Phillips, writing for Horse & Hound, questions if posts like these are truly in the best interest of the horse. While she acknowledges that life circumstance can change drastically, she reiterates through her piece her anger at horse owners who pass the buck on an elderly or infirm horse to someone else, instead of considering euthanasia.
You “ … give him away into the care of a third party and an unknown future,” she says. In many cases, the issue is that the horse has gotten to the point where it cannot be ridden and the horse owner wants something to ride, but can't afford two horses. So the older horse needs to leave to make room for a riding horse, she says.
Carol notes three options:
- Find money so you can care for your retired horse and get a new riding horse
- Understand that you can afford only one horse and hack horses owned by other people
- Have the horse humanely euthanized
Carol reiterates that euthanasia in known surroundings is usually preferable to sending a horse into the hands of strangers with no guarantee for his future health or well-being. She also notes that the nonprofit centers are full with horses that need immediate care and are not designed to help horses that are simply old or infirm, but are in good hands.
Read more about Carol's case for euthanasia at Horse & Hound.
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