Can I gently persuade friend to PTS elderly horse?

Joined
20 April 2017
Messages
10
A friend has lent me her logon and I hope nobody minds but I need some advice from people who are more distant to the situation. I have a friend - now in her 70s - who has kept her horses on grass livery at mine for 20 odd years. She is now down to her final horse. He's late 20s (passported in his teens so that's a guess), very arthritic and much thinner than he should be for a heavyweight cob. He was in a paddock with one of my retirees who I had PTS before Xmas. I was sort of hoping she'd have her oldie done at the same time but she was just devastated I had mine done. I shrugged it off but we've had bitterly cold weather this week and he's not been great when I hay in the morning. He doesn't lie down to sleep very often now because its hard for him to get up.

I've struggled to talk to local horsey people or anyone who could perhaps talk to her about it because she's such a lovely person no one really wants to have That Chat. She's enough of a friend that I don't want to upset her, but not the kind of friend you can tell her straight and the relationship survive. I did speak to her hubby before Xmas but he says she knows the horse is on its last legs, the vets have already said to her that he is struggling but this will be the end of her horsey life and she just cannot bring herself to cut ties. It would be the end of horses too for her because we're not doing liveries once he's gone - which also makes it difficult locally because I don't want people to think I'm forcing her to make a decision.

We don't use the same vet practice either so I couldn't even speak to them myself - and I'm not sure that would be ethical.

I'm a bit of a loss and dreading getting there one morning to find him down in the mud. Is this a situation I am just going to have to let play out do you think?
 

LaurenBay

Well-Known Member
Joined
15 November 2010
Messages
5,505
Location
Essex
It's a hard one, but you do need to speak up for the Horses sake.

Does she still see the Horse or is he in your care?

I think I would arrange to meet up at a time when you know she is up, make a cuppa and then I would mention you have noticed x seems to be struggling with the colder weather and you need to know if x needs feeding more in the mornings as he is struggling to keep his weight on (this will force her to acknowledge the Horse has lost weight)
 

Goldenstar

Well-Known Member
Joined
28 March 2011
Messages
42,012
I can only say how I would approach this...

I would risk the friendship (I couldn't maintain it without that ability to be honest) and tell her straight. Just to underline that is how I would deal with it.. Having exhausted the "diplomatic" suggestions above.
I would too or how about you try to persuade the husband to talk with their vet and the vet assesses the horse ,and they both talk to her it’s not something you can ignore
The can’t let go owner with the old horse is a common welfare issue it’s extremely hard to deal with .
Is the old boy getting any pain medication at the very least they should sort that .
The owner or manager of the livery yard should be nudging as well .
 

Nari

Well-Known Member
Joined
27 September 2005
Messages
2,717
Can you at least say to her that you're very concerned about him and think he needs a vet visit to see what he can have to try and make him more comfortable and also look into the weight loss? No mention of pts, just that you're very concerned that he needs medical help. And who knows, if he can be got more comfortable and underlying conditions are found and addressed it may be that he starts to look better and will be happier.
 

Pearlsasinger

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 February 2009
Messages
38,833
Location
W. Yorks
Can you at least say to her that you're very concerned about him and think he needs a vet visit to see what he can have to try and make him more comfortable and also look into the weight loss? No mention of pts, just that you're very concerned that he needs medical help. And who knows, if he can be got more comfortable and underlying conditions are found and addressed it may be that he starts to look better and will be happier.

That would be my approach, I think.
 

paddy555

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 December 2010
Messages
9,366
. When this is sorted the hubby is going to have to sort the problem ie the end of her life with horses so I think he is the way in.

I would try and get yourself, hubby, friend, horse and their vet together. Tell hubby and friend you have found horse down several times and now you are really worried if it can't get up and whatever else you have found. May have to exaggerate slightly to get the point home. Say you are getting comments about if he is OK and you are getting worried someone is going to all the welfare. Please can they ask their vet to visit and see if anything can be done just so that everyone is in the clear. Whatever it takes to get vet out and everyone together.

Then point out problems to the vet, horse can't get up or whatever and can the vet increase meds. Ask if there is any way forward or what should be done or if it would be kinder to call it a day if vet doesn't suggest this. If vet can bring her round make arrangements there and then. Preferably get vet to come back in an hour to give her chance to say goodbye but not to change her mind.

As this will be the biggest wrench of her life is there anything you can offer her? one of yours to groom, play with, someway locally of being involved? Most likely she will decline but it may keep her involved until she can gradually back down from horses.
 

meleeka

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 September 2001
Messages
7,428
Location
Hants, England
Can you at least say to her that you're very concerned about him and think he needs a vet visit to see what he can have to try and make him more comfortable and also look into the weight loss? No mention of pts, just that you're very concerned that he needs medical help. And who knows, if he can be got more comfortable and underlying conditions are found and addressed it may be that he starts to look better and will be happier.
This. If she doesn’t think he’s ready, nothing you say will convince her. At the very least he needs to be on daily bute and some additional hard feed and the extra cost of that alone night sway her opinion.
 

ycbm

Well-Known Member
Joined
30 January 2015
Messages
44,200
If I read this right you are the land owner.

If that is the case then I believe you can be prosecuted for failing to ensure that a horse on your land is properly cared for.

Hopefully, you can use this to both bolster your own resolve and reduce upset on her part by making it clear that this cannot legally continue.

I couldn't watch an old horse suffer like this on my land, I'm afraid, however much it upset an old lady I didn't want to upset.

You're in a terribly difficult situation but this poor horse needs someone to fight his corner.
.
 
Last edited:

Amymay

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 July 2004
Messages
59,656
Location
South
Can you at least say to her that you're very concerned about him and think he needs a vet visit to see what he can have to try and make him more comfortable and also look into the weight loss? No mention of pts, just that you're very concerned that he needs medical help. And who knows, if he can be got more comfortable and underlying conditions are found and addressed it may be that he starts to look better and will be happier.
Excellent suggestion. The needs a vet bit is very important. You’re not suggesting, you’re telling (albeit kindly). Tell her as her YO you have a duty of care to both her and more importantly her horse.
 

Marigold4

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 May 2017
Messages
1,306
Excellent suggestion. The needs a vet bit is very important. You’re not suggesting, you’re telling (albeit kindly). Tell her as her YO you have a duty of care to both her and more importantly her horse.
In my experience though, vets rarely bring up the subject of PTS and seem to prefer to suggest more treatment options. IME it's been up to me to call the vet and say clearly that the time has come. A vet is not going to suggest PTS.
 

Hepsibah

Well-Known Member
Joined
24 January 2016
Messages
660
I would lie, and get the fallen stock man out, and tell her you found it dead in the field, is she going to know? I know, it's her choice, but I am done with being soft with people.
That’s appalling.
if you can’t get her to do the right thing, tell her you can’t have him there in that condition and she must take him away.
 

Highmileagecob

Well-Known Member
Joined
24 December 2021
Messages
618
Location
Wet and windy Pennines
We had a similar situation on our yard a couple of years ago, although not an elderly owner. Anything that was mentioned as a concern was met with 'Yes, he's always been like that' or 'Well, he's old, what do you expect.' It had to get to the point where the horse went down and couldn't get up - at this point, around 30y.o. and looking like a hat rack. it is very sad, but some people will cling on to the bitter end and not 'murder' their friend rather than look at the quality of life. If the horse is eating and drinking and can get up from lying down, unfortunately there isn't a lot you can do. It's stressful, I hope you have a happy ending, one way or another.
 

PapaverFollis

Well-Known Member
Joined
13 November 2012
Messages
8,998
"I'm sorry to have to bring this up, Mandy but I'm really starting to feel that Dobbin is struggling more than he should be. We definitely need to talk to the vet about making him more comfortable if we can but in all honesty I'm thinking it might be time to consider letting him go. I know how much he means to you and I'm really sorry. It is very hard for us owners to see our oldies deteriorate, and we don't want to see it, so sometimes this has to come from someone else. I care for both you and Dobbin too much to not say anything now. I don't want to end up with him stuck down in the mud because I know how heartbreaking that will be for you. I'm sorry to be blunt. I'm here for you to offer you all the support you need, I know how difficult it is and I'm so sorry. I can speak to the vet first for you if you would like?"

Or something like that. Just tell her. Kindly but clearly. If she hates you, she hates you. She'll thank you in the end... probably
 

ester

Not slacking-multitasking
Joined
31 December 2008
Messages
57,969
Location
Cambridge
In my experience though, vets rarely bring up the subject of PTS and seem to prefer to suggest more treatment options. IME it's been up to me to call the vet and say clearly that the time has come. A vet is not going to suggest PTS.
Interestingly on a recent visit to the oldie the vet was at pains to make sure that they would do it no questions asked and that they felt customers/owners were worried about approaching them just to PTS rather than them giving lots of treatment options so I wonder if there is a bit of a shift starting.

OP I also wondered just how often she is seeing said horse just tell her straight, that he needs extra help and/or PTS. If everyone says she's too nice to have that conversation with then she should be nice enough not to have an issue with it and if she does she does, I don't see that matters. If someone fell out with me over concern for their animals welfare I probably wouldn't want to be friends with them particularly anyway.
 

honetpot

Well-Known Member
Joined
27 July 2010
Messages
7,962
Location
Cambridgeshire
Good grief. Don’t ever run a yard please.
Wouldn't dream of it. If I thought that an animal was suffering, or likely to suffer due to in action, as a landowner I am responsible. If it was a livery I wouldn't be as kind, they would have to move it off my land, or it's shot.
I offered a friend free grass livery over the summer, so she could have time to come to terms with PTS. The animals in reasonable health, not functionally lame at grass. She decided to rehome through a large well known charity, they had it PTS in just over two weeks, and it has cost her much heartbreak. At least I was honest.
 

PaulineW

Well-Known Member
Joined
19 February 2017
Messages
315
Location
Pass Inverness, turn right.
Wouldn't dream of it. If I thought that an animal was suffering, or likely to suffer due to in action, as a landowner I am responsible. If it was a livery I wouldn't be as kind, they would have to move it off my land, or it's shot.
I offered a friend free grass livery over the summer, so she could have time to come to terms with PTS. The animals in reasonable health, not functionally lame at grass. She decided to rehome through a large well known charity, they had it PTS in just over two weeks, and it has cost her much heartbreak. At least I was honest.
No harm being honest, but equally you can’t go killing other people’s animals.
 
Top