Can I gently persuade friend to PTS elderly horse?

honetpot

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Bloody hell. I'd be devastated if someone had done that to mine. Mine really struggled for 2 days and I made the decision, I knew he was on borrowed time but no-one but the owner has the right to make the call.
When see someone not caring for their animals suitable to their needs, on your land, and you are responsible for their welfare, and ignore your requests, it makes you realise that sometimes the owner of the animal is not perhaps the best person to judge when is the right time, or even to care for them.
Over the years I have seen a couple of times when a horse has been in physical distress, and mental distress of the owner has been seen as more important, and it has delayed the inevitable, to the detriment of the horse. I hope the horse in question does not get to the point where it is suffering, or likely to suffer, but if I thought it was, and it was on my property, I would have to end it.
 

Hepsibah

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When see someone not caring for their animals suitable to their needs, on your land, and you are responsible for their welfare, and ignore your requests, it makes you realise that sometimes the owner of the animal is not perhaps the best person to judge when is the right time, or even to care for them.
Over the years I have seen a couple of times when a horse has been in physical distress, and mental distress of the owner has been seen as more important, and it has delayed the inevitable, to the detriment of the horse. I hope the horse in question does not get to the point where it is suffering, or likely to suffer, but if I thought it was, and it was on my property, I would have to end it.
That is the stage where you tell them to leave, report it to a welfare organisation or both. Nothing you say makes it okay to take it upon yourself to kill another person's horse.
 

chaps89

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Well done you for working out how to handle this rather than bury your head or turn a blind eye.
If the vets haven’t seen him for 18 months I think I’d be pressing for a vet visit- as YO do you have authority with her vets to call and speak to them if needed? If so, perhaps you could call and have a conversation with them in advance.

If it’s the end of her horse owning time, might you have one she could come and groom and faff with and love to keep the routine going?
 

saddlesore

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I think that's utter claptrap. Making the decision to have somebody else's horse shot because you don't want to look at it is over the line. Way over the line.
Agreed, what a genuinely disturbing way to think/act. I’ve been around equestrian nutcases for decades but I’m genuinely 🤯🤯
 

Zuzan

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Have to say this thead has made me think ..

I am going to ask a couple of people I trust to promise to sit me down and give me "the talk" if I fail to pick up when my horse (who is hopefully many years away from needing to be PTS) needs to be given a graceful and peaceful exit.

I know I am very attached to her and this thread has made me think there, but for the grace of god go I.
 

SO1

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Most veteran horses need their teeth checked every 6 months. My 19 year old does now. I presume horse is not vaccinated either. What about worming has it had a worm count/saliva test? Does the farrier come? Could the farrier perhaps say that hoof care is becoming difficult as the horse is so arthritic and that he needs his meds reviewed.

If the vet has not been for 18 months perhaps she is avoiding the situation of having him seen by a vet.

He is obviously a very big part of her life and if she is retired she may have little else to do in her spare time. If she has been a livery with you for 20 years the yard may be like a 2nd home for her. It is not just loosing her horse but a massive lifestyle change. It may also be due to Covid that the yard is the only place she feels she can safely go.

It is difficult that you don't use the same vets as then you could say you were getting the vet to check your horse's teeth and suggest to her they check her horse whilst they are there.

I don't think telling her horse needs to PTS but maybe say you think the horse looks very uncomfortable in the mornings when you hay him and you think that he needs to see the vet to have his meds reviewed and his teeth checked as he has lost weight. Or you make it a condition of her livery that the horse is checked by a vet every 6 months as it is a lot of responsibility having him on the yard due to his age and condition.
 

scats

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I had a similar dilemma with a friend a number of years ago. Elderly horse who was also diagnosed with a neck compression and was struggling to move, couldn’t lie down and was wobbling. Friend didn’t leave it too long, but longer than I personally would. A few of us gently tried to suggest it was time but they didn’t want to hear it. Fortunately they made the decision themselves a short while later.
it’s a tough one for me, because I am very much a day too early kind of person but I know a lot of people aren’t.
 

SEL

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I think it all depends on what vet you have out too. I had one of the most experienced vets out when it was time to put the feral pony to sleep purely because we weren't sure what to expect. I asked her about my arthritic one and she asked questions like - eating ok, rolling still, lying down, getting up, attitude with field mates. Other vets have been happy to just prescribe his bute and avoid the difficult conversations.

Tough one. I've seen horses left too long and it stays with you - a tractor used to get a horse up who should have gone weeks before broke my heart and I don't want that for mine.
 

Nudibranch

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From experience, even a vet visit may not help. I recommended mine to someone whose pony was in a complete state. She trashed my vet and kept him going for nearly 2 more years. Some people cannot see the woods for the trees sadly.
 

cauda equina

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In the absence of any better ideas a vet visit seems like the best starting point, either to offer some sort of care, or if appropriate to at least plant the seed of pts in the owner's mind
Sometimes a decision like this is easier to make if it's been gestating for a bit, rather than being told We think you should put your horse down now

So perhaps - depending on how bad a condition the horse is in, attend to his teeth and anything else which might help him and agree to review him in x weeks, with the possibility of pts then if he's still struggling
 

honetpot

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That is the stage where you tell them to leave, report it to a welfare organisation or both. Nothing you say makes it okay to take it upon yourself to kill another person's horse.
When I had problems with people not caring for their animals on my land, I took legal advice, phoned the RSPCA, WHW, and they were not interested, and it was my problem.
If the animal is not in distress, you can go down the eviction and abandonment route, which is now a lot quicker and you only have to hold them 96 hours before they can be disposed of. As a horse keeper you are responsible for any suffering, and you could be prosecuted, so in that time if I was concerned about being it any suffering it would be disposed of much quicker.
'Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, animal owners and keepers are under a legal duty of care for the animals for which they are responsible on a permanent or temporary basis. It is an offence to cause any animal unnecessary suffering or to fail to provide for its welfare. The 2006 Act is backed up by the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses, Ponies, Donkeys and Their Hybrids which provides owners with information on how to meet the welfare needs of their equines, as required by the 2006 Act. That includes ensuring the animal has a suitable environment to live in and is protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.'
Having been through the stress of having animals not cared for suitable to their needs on my land, I would not hesitate to go through the process to seize them. I had to go around my neighbours and explain why the animals were in that condition, what I was doing, and how at that time I was powerless to do anything, in the end the best advice I got was from a bailiff. This is why I do not have liveries, and if I do someone a favour, its a week to week rent, so I can get them off in seven days plus 96 hours if there is a problem.
https://www.bhs.org.uk/advice-and-information/the-law/abandonment-and-fly-grazing
 

TGM

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It sounds like the two main problems with the horse are that it is losing condition and that it has arthritis that is making it hard for it to get up and down. Given that the horse is quidding and hasn't seen a vet (or presumably a dentist) for 18 months then the weight might be fixable if the teeth can be sorted. However, the problems getting up are more concerning and that was the point when I called it a day with my old mare. It sounds like his problems are most apparent to you first thing in the morning and that when she arrives the horse is standing and looking OK. Has she ever seen him struggling to get up or getting stuck? Might it be worth videoing what you are seeing so she understands the real extent of the problem? I agree with most of the others though, that a vet visit might be the best way to start the process. Videos would also be helpful to show the vet, and might encourage him/her to suggest euthanasia.
 

ester

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When see someone not caring for their animals suitable to their needs, on your land, and you are responsible for their welfare, and ignore your requests, it makes you realise that sometimes the owner of the animal is not perhaps the best person to judge when is the right time, or even to care for them.
What requests is the owner ignoring?

She sees the horse daily, so you can hardly go down the abandonment route.
 

Annagain

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It sounds to me like she knows and maybe needs the evidence to be presented to her so it's black and white. I'd echo the advice to use the quidding as a reason to suggest a vet visit. It might improve the weight issue, which in in the short term might be enough for him to feel a bit better and give her a bit more time to come to terms with it or at worst, for him not to improve and for the evidence to build up so she can't stay in denial. Of course his teeth might be so bad that the vet tells her there's no other option.

I'd try to have a word with the vet beforehand to say you're very concerned she's in denial and if (s)he's of the opinion the time has come, it needs saying gently but directly as she's not listening to you.
 

Birker2020

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How dreadfully sad, both for the horse and the owner.

The horse sounds like he has no quality of life, if he cannot lie down or rise than that is a huge issue in my eyes and any horse I had would be pts on that basis. If he cannot regulate his body temparature that is also a big no no in my eyes and would lead me to PTS.

I pride myself on the fact that my old mare, a 24 year old WB who I'd owned for 17 years had the best life, was always sought prompt vet attention and had a humane and timely death when medical intervention and pain relief could no longer support her. She was fine until the point when she wasn't and then I made the hardest decision I've ever had to make, the first decision I've ever had to make as the previous fives deaths were taken out of my hands.

During all the time I had her she would still skip around the paddock when the mood took her, was able to get up and down both in her stable and her paddock and was alert, kept weight on and was not in pain, gobbled up her feeds and forage and would whinny when she saw me.

Your friends horse displays none of the above, and this is very sad that she can't see this. If she loved him she would let him go. No, its not easy, for any of us, but its the last act of kindness we can provide for a lovely best friends.
 

Birker2020

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Have to say this thead has made me think ..

I am going to ask a couple of people I trust to promise to sit me down and give me "the talk" if I fail to pick up when my horse (who is hopefully many years away from needing to be PTS) needs to be given a graceful and peaceful exit.

I know I am very attached to her and this thread has made me think there, but for the grace of god go I.
I did the very same thing the year before I lost Bailey. You have to pick people you know will be 100% honest with you. But in our case it didn't really come to that as she had deteriorated so quickly, literally within the space of a few days. They were however fully supportive in my decision when I told them I'd reached the end of the road and agreed with me (and both I felt would have told me otherwise if they didn't agree).

My Mum who I brought to the yard to say goodbye (although I never told her that was the reason why she as there) also said that she 100% trusted my judgement having watched me to everything in my power to keep her sound all those years.

I do feel that the OP should get her friend to read this thread.
 
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I'm at work but I wanted to log in quickly and say that although he is thin, arthritic and struggling I don't believe this is reaching the level of welfare problems that would involve the RSPCA etc. I definitely would not PTS without the owner's agreement unless it was an emergency. We're not at that stage and I hope we don't get there.

I will ask her to get the vet to look at his teeth and hope they will give him a good once over. I suspect his weight will improve if his teeth are causing problems, but that doesn't stop his arthritis now being so bad it is affecting his quality of life. I have told her I worry about him in bad weather, that he's sore in the morning and seems to have stopped lying down since he last got stuck but I just don't think she can make that leap. It may come better from a vet.

I know how important horses are to her, but we don't really have anything she can play with since I had his companion put down before Xmas. There is a charity about 20 mins away who would love to have someone like her helping and I did try some gently hints a while back but they were ignored. I think the big problem is she can't see how to fill her life without him.
 

honetpot

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There may be extreme cases where PTS without owner permission is a valid choice. Extreme cases.

To suggest that this is such a case is utterly ridiculous and actually quite repugnant.
I actually think the livery is repugnant. For someone to post on here their concerns and ask for advice, they are probably stressed, like they said when his companion was PTS, she expected the same for this horse, they see this animal at its worst. They are left with a problem that is not theirs.
To leave a horse which is a flight animal struggling to get up, and therefore unable to get away from danger, is cruel. I have not had to PTS one of my oldies for a couple of years, and I have a couple with dental problems, which live forage based mash. They are seen by the dentist every three to six months, and their weight is monitored, but if I thought at any stage they were losing their mobility it would be time for them to go.
Every one goes on about the rights of horse ownership, but not the responsibilities, and there seems to be a blind spot that when you have paid your rent you can just forget about, you have done your bit, and you can do as you please.
The LO has to persuade the horse owner to get the vet out, has to negotiate with them to do the right thing, the only person not taking responsibility is the HO. This where even if you have just a very casual livery agreement it should be discussed as in a loan agreement what happens at the end of life,( end of life for a horse may be loss of mobility with no chance of recovery) because when you have long term relationship with an older animal and it's not yours there is likely to be conflict.
 
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As mentioned earlier you are the keeper of the horse, so if shove came to push you could be liable.
Tell her this, and that you can no longer take the responsibility, when in your opinion the horse is suffering and.....
If the horse needs a vet, a dental check, extra feed, maybe stabling, medication, that is owner's cost, tell her that you love the horse, but the time has come to re assess the current situation. Presumably he is not on retirement livery, just standard livery, and that does not meet his needs.
At least it seems the vet is aware, a lot just want to keep animals beyond their useful life, by which I mean, beyond their happy life.
 
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PapaverFollis

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I actually think the livery is repugnant. For someone to post on here their concerns and ask for advice, they are probably stressed, like they said when his companion was PTS, she expected the same for this horse, they see this animal at its worst. They are left with a problem that is not theirs.
To leave a horse which is a flight animal struggling to get up, and therefore unable to get away from danger, is cruel. I have not had to PTS one of my oldies for a couple of years, and I have a couple with dental problems, which live forage based mash. They are seen by the dentist every three to six months, and their weight is monitored, but if I thought at any stage they were losing their mobility it would be time for them to go.
Every one goes on about the rights of horse ownership, but not the responsibilities, and there seems to be a blind spot that when you have paid your rent you can just forget about, you have done your bit, and you can do as you please.
The LO has to persuade the horse owner to get the vet out, has to negotiate with them to do the right thing, the only person not taking responsibility is the HO. This where even if you have just a very casual livery agreement it should be discussed as in a loan agreement what happens at the end of life,( end of life for a horse may be loss of mobility with no chance of recovery) because when you have long term relationship with an older animal and it's not yours there is likely to be conflict.
I don't disagree that the horse needs action to be taken.

I just think that suggesting going behind the owner's back the lying about it in the described circumstances is an absolutely disgusting and utterly heartless suggestion.

You seem to think that those of us who are horrified by your awful suggestion are somehow not worried about the horse. I would suggest not. We're just not prepared to behave appallingly cruelly towards an older woman struggling with the end of her horse and the end of her lifestyle either.

It is possible to want to take action in the best interests of this horseand still retain some humanity.
 

ester

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Absolutely have concerns for the horse, just thinking skipping the blunt conversation stage to shoot it is OTT and appalling and nothing you have written since suggesting it has made it seem less so HP.
Sometimes it seems like you are reading completely different posts to the rest of us. Again they haven't paid their rent and forgotten about it they are there regularly.

People do have different thresholds of what they consider too much I have friends that have PTS after I would have done, and before but that doesn't mean they were 'wrong' necessarily. It is a grey area when you have steady decline. If it wasn't there wouldn't be anything to discuss with other people/vet etc.
 

paddy555

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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.
why lie? why not tell the truth, I thought you were being cruel so I took it upon myself to have your horse PTS.
Will the stock man shoot a horse without the owner's permission in a situation that is not an emergency?

presumably after it was dead you would tell her. She may want to see the horse to say goodbye. Would it not be obvious that the horse had not dropped dead but had been PTS. What if you disposed of the horse via the knacker man and she had plans for cremation and the ashes to be returned for example. Who is going to pay for the destruction and removal. You presumably. She is hardly going to pay for a service she didn't request and I don't see how she could be made to do so.

Finally how can you decide if this is a welfare case requiring destruction unless you are a vet. If you thought this, got the vet out and he confirmed it then it may be different but just to go around destroying someone's horse because you don't agree with it's quality of life is not on.
 

paddy555

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There is a charity about 20 mins away who would love to have someone like her helping and I did try some gently hints a while back but they were ignored. I think the big problem is she can't see how to fill her life without him.
I appreciate it is not your problem to sort her out and you are being very kind trying to help could you turn this situation around. Is it possible for the charity to ask her to help, they are desperate, lots of flannel etc. It is not their problem or yours but if she felt really needed (presuming she is capable of course) it may slightly break the deadlock of what next and more easily achieve what may be the best result ie PTS her horse.
 

Hepsibah

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I actually think the livery is repugnant. For someone to post on here their concerns and ask for advice, they are probably stressed, like they said when his companion was PTS, she expected the same for this horse, they see this animal at its worst. They are left with a problem that is not theirs.
To leave a horse which is a flight animal struggling to get up, and therefore unable to get away from danger, is cruel. I have not had to PTS one of my oldies for a couple of years, and I have a couple with dental problems, which live forage based mash. They are seen by the dentist every three to six months, and their weight is monitored, but if I thought at any stage they were losing their mobility it would be time for them to go.
Every one goes on about the rights of horse ownership, but not the responsibilities, and there seems to be a blind spot that when you have paid your rent you can just forget about, you have done your bit, and you can do as you please.
The LO has to persuade the horse owner to get the vet out, has to negotiate with them to do the right thing, the only person not taking responsibility is the HO. This where even if you have just a very casual livery agreement it should be discussed as in a loan agreement what happens at the end of life,( end of life for a horse may be loss of mobility with no chance of recovery) because when you have long term relationship with an older animal and it's not yours there is likely to be conflict.
Still not up to you to decide to kill the horse and pretend it dropped dead in the field.
 

Melody Grey

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I feel for you OP. I once had a fieldmate who desperately needed to be PTS. At the time, my own horse was having weekly vet visits for injections. The owner was a novice but was wilfully ignorant to his needs. I mentioned that if my vet saw her horse in that condition while he was here, he may have no choice than to report it to welfare (I admit I don’t know if this is really the case).
Horse had a vet there within two days. To my shame, I played on her lack of knowledge, but it really was in the horse’s best interest. As the landowner OP you do have a right to be concerned. Could you magically ‘need’ a vet to visit one of yours soon and offer to share the appointment? I’ve also done this before when someone didn’t want to pay for a call out, so I brought my vaccinations forward a month to get the vet.
 
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