PTS methods/oppinions wanted ....

Foxhunter49

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I would always prefer a humane killer to an injection. It is faster and when issued by either a knackerman or huntsman, very simple.
I would not want a vet to shoot a horse, they do to few of them.
Injection means that you have to make arrangements for disposal and that will cost.
I had my old mare out down by the hunt a couple of months ago, she never knew what hit her she went down so fast. They hauled her away and she was fed to hounds. Useful all her life and, in death.

It never worries me what happens to them once they are dead, it is HOW they go that matters.

The biggest disadvantage of humane killer is there is a lot of blood from the nose mainly, I always have a large chaff bag ready and as soon as they are down I will put the bag on their heads and have buckets of water ready to wash the area down.
 

AndiK

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So ive decided to take him to my instructors yard that he's been in before and perfectly happy with. She has also agreed to arrange the deed and be there should I choose not to be there.
I am really sorry you have to make this decision (((HUG)))

Please stay with him.... I have promised myself that I will be there if I have to make this decision.

When my ex-step mothers horse (who I cared for 6 days out of 7) was destroyed she did not even tell me about it and I worry every day about his end.... I don't know if he was alone, if it was quick or what happened. :(

(for full stoy read my thread called Oscar's story)
 

the watcher

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I am really sorry you have to make this decision (((HUG)))

Please stay with him.... I have promised myself that I will be there if I have to make this decision.

When my ex-step mothers horse (who I cared for 6 days out of 7) was destroyed she did not even tell me about it and I worry every day about his end.... I don't know if he was alone, if it was quick or what happened. :(

(for full stoy read my thread called Oscar's story)
Sometimes the owner is not the best person to be there, they can be far too emotional and that is not good for the horse. Ultimately we all want our horses to go quickly, quietly and happily, ideally with their noses in a bucket of feed and the sun on their backs.
 

AndiK

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Sometimes the owner is not the best person to be there, they can be far too emotional and that is not good for the horse. Ultimately we all want our horses to go quickly, quietly and happily, ideally with their noses in a bucket of feed and the sun on their backs.
TBH my horse would worry and might panic... He does not 'do' strangers and I think I would be a comfort to him (even if I were a ball of snot and tears). Of course its what ever is best for the horse at the time.... My personal feeling is that I would want to be there, but, if it is best for the owner not to be then obviously this is the way to go... I did not intend offence...
 

bumblelion

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Just out of curiosity, why do some people think it strange for owners to have their horses cremated individually? I can't think if anything nicer. My horses, well all of my animals are part of my family and I would want their ashes to either scatter or keep. Financially we pay enough to care for them whilst they're alive so is it because they're now
useless (dead) they don't deserve any more money spent on them? When my dad died a few years ago I had him cremated and have his ashes, if I hadnt people would've thought that strange!
 

AndiK

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Just out of curiosity, why do some people think it strange for owners to have their horses cremated individually? I can't think if anything nicer. My horses, well all of my animals are part of my family and I would want their ashes to either scatter or keep. Financially we pay enough to care for them whilst they're alive so is it because they're now
useless (dead) they don't deserve any more money spent on them? When my dad died a few years ago I had him cremated and have his ashes, if I hadnt people would've thought that strange!
I agree...
 

applecart14

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Had two horse pts by injection. Had one shot. The shot one required shooting a second time (think he may have moved at the last minute). The first injected horse I don't know as I wasn't there. The second injected horse had a lot of movement and noise after death which I'd not been warned about and I was very distressed.

I would say whatever method you use they render a horse brain dead before they hit the floor. Any movements/sounds afterwards are purely reflexes. From my own personal point of view I would prefer the injection as I would not want to be by my horses side if he had to be shot. But at the end of the day I would go by what the vet suggests for your particular horse/circumstances. You need to make sure wherever the deed is carried out that there is access for a vehicle to be able to get to your horse as the horse will be winched onto the vechicle after it had died. Do not stop to watch this as it is totally unnecessary and extremely upsetting.

I would only say that you should be warned about movement/noises afterwards. It can take up to ten minutes for the body to shut down completely and if you are not warned as in my case it can be very frightening and make a sad situation much worse. I would also suggest that if your horse has a very close field companion that it should see the body. My friends gelding spent 20 years in an adjoining stable with his companion a mare. They were turned out together and were extremely close. When the mare was pts the gelding did not witness the dead mare and pined for days, whinnying and worrying itself, running up and down the paddock in search of her. It went onto develop colic due to the stress and had to be pts.
 

ofcourseyoucan

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i would choose a gun over an injection. but you need someone good with a gun. most vets arent. they twitch and grunt and thrash whatever method you choose. personally i wouldnt choose to hold a horse to be PTS whatever method. it is not a nice sight. idealy choose someone that the horse knows and is happy with, and choose a good vet or knackerman. Sadly when i have had to have a horse put down i have used mick wills. from the grafton hunt. equine berevement services. he is fantastic. he meets the horse and sadly bonds! and he is capable of doing the job by himself, no mess, no fuss, no stress. but i will when the time comes stay with my big boy and my ginger demon!! but gun every time! you have to do what suits you. there is no right or wrong in the decision. thinking about it makes it worse. just do it at the right time for the horse.
 

Pearlsasinger

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We have all but one (and a foal) shot. I have never seen 'running' after they've gone down, once hooves 'drummed' on the ground for a couple of seconds. They've all gone with their heads in a bucket of their favourite feed and there has been very little blood to clear up afterwards - a shovelful of shavings has been sufficient and our labradors use the same yard as the horses, so you can imagine what they're like!
The last emergency PTS we had, the attending vet rang the knacker for us - she didn't want to do the job herself. A previous PTS for terminal illness, a different vet from a different practice also suggested knacker. We have used both knacker and hunt, both have been equally professional, understanding and compassionate, with owners and horses.
Many years ago after a field accident, the vet called the knacker out for us, there was a lot of blood to clear up (fortunately the farmer/landowner cleared up for us, as he would have for his own daughters) but that was because the horse was 'bled' at the scene. That doesn't happen these days.
Personally, I can see absolutely no point at all in individual cremation, with the ashes returned. IMO there is no horse left and what happens to the 'shell' makes no difference to the horse. I always leave dogs/cats at the vets too, after the deed has been done. But then I would prefer to put my £700 towards the cost of the next horse.
I do think that the decision has to be a personal one for the owner to make, with their knowledge of the horse and the particular circumstances.

I agree with Applecart, re the close companion. We had 2 mares who had been together for 20 yrs. One had a stroke in her stable, the other was next door. She was present when the knacker came, shot and removed the horse, although she was sad she coped with the loss. We think that was because she knew exactly what had happend and knew too that her friend had been down for most of the night. These 2 were so close that we had considered having both PTS together. We kept the older one for another 2 years, with her familiar herd - and the 'replacement', who seemed to to give her a new lease of life.
 
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cptrayes

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Just out of curiosity, why do some people think it strange for owners to have their horses cremated individually? I can't think if anything nicer. My horses, well all of my animals are part of my family and I would want their ashes to either scatter or keep. Financially we pay enough to care for them whilst they're alive so is it because they're now
useless (dead) they don't deserve any more money spent on them? When my dad died a few years ago I had him cremated and have his ashes, if I hadnt people would've thought that strange!
You understand of course that you do this for yourself, and not for the horse, who knows nothing whatsoever about it? It's a ritual to make you feel better, it's got nothing to do with what a horse "deserves".

Personally, I don't need to spend what is a hell of a lot of money getting the ashes of my horse back to cry over. I can cry without them.

I think it's strange because I cannot imagine feeling the way you must feel to want to do what you do. I also can't believe that you actually get an individual cremation unless you stand there and watch, but I am sceptical to a fault.

But each to their own. If it's what you want then it's what you should do, if you have the money.
 
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Very sorry that it has come to this for you.

I have had two horses PTS - my own by bullet and my mum's by injection.

My horse was first, he was terminally lame and I made the decision the day before. My mum used to work for a massive horse charity, who, by the nature of their work, have a lot of horses put down. She recommended Mick from Grafton Equine Bereavement Services (http://www.equinebereavementservices.co.uk/), who does all of theirs where possible. My boy was a big, strong, young and healthy horse so I chose the bullet because I was worried he would fight the injection. I had never seen a horse PTS before but I chose to stay with him. It was the best decision I ever made. I held him with his nose in a feed scoop and the sun on his back. Mick was compassionate and gentle with me - made absolutely sure I wanted to stay, warned me it wasn't nice but didn't attempt to force me either way. He asked me to tell him when I was ready and didn't rush me at all. (I am crying writing this). He was quiet and affectionate with the horse, patting him and talking to him and my lad wasn't worried or distressed at all. It was all over before he was even aware what was going on. I stayed until the moment he hit the floor and then I left. I didn't see any blood, I heard a bit of scuffling but it wasn't distressing. Mick had the headcollar off before he even went down.
There is nothing about it that I regret. I had someone from my mum's work who I trusted with me in case I bottled out of staying at the last minute but I knew all along I wanted to stay. It was peaceful, dignified and quick which is exactly what I wanted.

My mum's horse was a more sudden one so there wasn't time to get Mick. She had second-stage encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and had walked into fences all night so was covered in blood and seemingly in a lot of pain. She was done by injection and although everything went as smoothly as these things can it felt very undignified to me. First is the injection to bring the horse to the ground and seeing that really upset me - there's something very distressing seeing a horse fall like that. I didn't like that she was on the floor and "alive" (althoug unconscious) before the second injection. It was probably better for my mum as she is much more emotional than me so she got to sit with her afterwards. We then had to wait for the disposal company to arrive which can take a couple of hours - I had left by that point as I had to leave for my first day of Uni (what a start!) but I know my mum sat with her the whole time which wouldn't have been good for me. I remember my horse as very much alive but my last memory of the other is of her dead and I don't like that.


So for me it would be a bullet every time. If you don't choose to go with the hunt I cannot recommend GEBS highly enough.

Big hugs as it's never easy :(
 
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hairycob

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One small thing to consider if you have your horse shot is that if the person doing the shooting also takes the body away, the body will be loaded up & gone straight away. For some people that will be good, but some (including me) may prefer to sit a while with a cup of tea for a last goodbye. That is why my 2 were shot by the vet (& if you use Fellowes Farm, Richard is excellent) & then collected by the Hunt later.
I've also used Grafton (someone elses horse in an emergency) & they were good but I didn't have that time that I personally needed when it was my own.
 

eahotson

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You understand of course that you do this for yourself, and not for the horse, who knows nothing whatsoever about it? It's a ritual to make you feel better, it's got nothing to do with what a horse "deserves".

Personally, I don't need to spend what is a hell of a lot of money getting the ashes of my horse back to cry over. I can cry without them.

I think it's strange because I cannot imagine feeling the way you must feel to want to do what you do. I also can't believe that you actually get an individual cremation unless you stand there and watch, but I am sceptical to a fault.

But each to their own. If it's what you want then it's what you should do, if you have the money.
We all know that when anything animal or human is dead, they are dead but rituals, funerals etc. help the living to cope with the loss.If you want a burial plot or ashes, perhaps to scatter over a favourite spot because it helps you, why not? someone I knew had to have two old and much loved dogs put down.She and her husband took their ashes and scattered them along a mutual and favorite walk.
 

merrymeasure

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I too, highly recommend Grafton Equine Bereavement Services. Though my old lad was PTS with injection by the vet, they came and collected him, and returned his ashes to me.They are truly wonderful at a very, very difficult time. At all times, he was treated with respect and compassion, and for that I thank them.
 

applecart14

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Personally, I can see absolutely no point at all in individual cremation, with the ashes returned. IMO there is no horse left and what happens to the 'shell' makes no difference to the horse. I always leave dogs/cats at the vets too, after the deed has been done. But then I would prefer to put my £700 towards the cost of the next horse.
I agree with this. I wouldn't want the ashes back. Its so expensive. I have two of my horses tails in the wardrobe (not the whole tails you understand, just a few strands plaited together).

I wouldn't like ashes back - I'd find that a bit creepy tbh. As pearlsinger said I'd much rather spend the money on getting another horse or putting money saved towards lessons/comps for the new horse. But that said I wouldn't criticise anyone who did have ashes back, its very much a personal thing I guess.

I had a set of shoes back but only because they'd been taken off the horse at the hospital prior to one of his three ops. Dad laquered the one is a really nice silver spray paint which looks just like silver and placed it on a lovely heart shaped mahogany piece of wood which was varnished with a gold plate underneath saying his name. It has pride of place in my bedroom.
 

Rana

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QR

Well done on making a brave decision. I'm sure your horse would thank you for it if he could.

I've had 1 injected and 1 shot. Both went quickly and without fuss.

I chose the injection for the first one, she was very old (37) and ready to go. She was comfortable with vets and injections, and it was the first horse I'd ever seen put down. My vet said there was nothing to choose between the methods, but the injection was kinder on the owner. So we went with that. I made all the arrangements myself, and arranged the disposal company for approx 30 mins after the vet, to give me and my other horses time to say goodbye. I chose a communal cremation, no ashes, I just couldn't stand the thought of her ending up in a cat food tin.

The second one was shot. She was nervy with vets and would have known something was going on. We had the local slaughterman out (the same one who collected the other horse), so she was shot and taken away all at once. They would have been happy to allow me time to say goodbye afterwards, but I felt that I'd said goodbye to her beforehand. I chose an "economic disposal" for her -for no other reason than I felt that I didn't want ashes back and I couldn't see the point of paying for a cremation otherwise.

Things to bear in mind - shooting is sudden and loud. The people we used brought an extra person to hold the horse if needed (it wasn't, had my husband there for that, bless him), check if your local hunt/slaughterman can do that. Whatever you feel in advance, that may change. In my case, I felt I was winding up my horse, so I gave her a last pat, handed her to my OH and walked away. Shooting can also be messy. Mine was, and I was glad I didn't see her afterwards. If you want to keep their headcollar, put an old or cheap one on for the shooting. I didn't, and I really would have liked to have her headcollar as a memento. Don't watch the removal of the carcass, it isn't pretty or dignified and there's no reason you need to put yourself through it. Make sure the place you choose is accessible for large vehicles, especially if you get a lot of wet weather shortly beforehand.

Hope this helps a little, my last one was PTS at Easter, so very fresh in my mind :( I've tried to leave emotions out of it and think only about the facts.

When the time comes, I hope it goes as well as it possibly can. Will be thinking of you xx
 
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Very sorry that it has come to this for you.

I have had two horses PTS - my own by bullet and my mum's by injection.

My horse was first, he was terminally lame and I made the decision the day before. My mum used to work for a massive horse charity, who, by the nature of their work, have a lot of horses put down. She recommended Mick from Grafton Equine Bereavement Services (http://www.equinebereavementservices.co.uk/), who does all of theirs where possible. My boy was a big, strong, young and healthy horse so I chose the bullet because I was worried he would fight the injection. I had never seen a horse PTS before but I chose to stay with him. It was the best decision I ever made. I held him with his nose in a feed scoop and the sun on his back. Mick was compassionate and gentle with me - made absolutely sure I wanted to stay, warned me it wasn't nice but didn't attempt to force me either way. He asked me to tell him when I was ready and didn't rush me at all. (I am crying writing this). He was quiet and affectionate with the horse, patting him and talking to him and my lad wasn't worried or distressed at all. It was all over before he was even aware what was going on. I stayed until the moment he hit the floor and then I left. I didn't see any blood, I heard a bit of scuffling but it wasn't distressing. Mick had the headcollar off before he even went down.
There is nothing about it that I regret. I had someone from my mum's work who I trusted with me in case I bottled out of staying at the last minute but I knew all along I wanted to stay. It was peaceful, dignified and quick which is exactly what I wanted.

My mum's horse was a more sudden one so there wasn't time to get Mick. She had second-stage encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and had walked into fences all night so was covered in blood and seemingly in a lot of pain. She was done by injection and although everything went as smoothly as these things can it felt very undignified to me. First is the injection to bring the horse to the ground and seeing that really upset me - there's something very distressing seeing a horse fall like that. I didn't like that she was on the floor and "alive" (althoug unconscious) before the second injection. It was probably better for my mum as she is much more emotional than me so she got to sit with her afterwards. We then had to wait for the disposal company to arrive which can take a couple of hours - I had left by that point as I had to leave for my first day of Uni (what a start!) but I know my mum sat with her the whole time which wouldn't have been good for me. I remember my horse as very much alive but my last memory of the other is of her dead and I don't like that.


So for me it would be a bullet every time. If you don't choose to go with the hunt I cannot recommend GEBS highly enough.

Big hugs as it's never easy :(
Thank you for being so honest it must be really hard for you. I will definately giving Mick a call. This is the ending I had envisaged for him x
 
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