The fate of the Unrideable

LaurenBay

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I am aware of that LB. They have to be a 'type' i.e certain build and fit an age criteria and as I said they also cannot be on any drugs. But I have known about five that have gone there and I don't see it an issue if they can live a happy retirement in a herd environment and lead a useful life - what's not to like. If they had a choice of that or no longer being around I am sure they would willing go there.
Oh absolutely, I agree that they have a good life there. But it wouldn't suit every Horse (ones that do not like big herds for example) My own Horse would love it there, she isn't at all needle phobic and loves other Horses and being out. She is a tad too small though so I have managed to secure some grazing for her to retire too, shes 13 with hock arthritis.
 

Clodagh

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well, while my unwanted cockerels and drakes go in the freezer-my unrideable is currently on loan to a better home than I could give him (ie better suited to a foreign pansy of a horse that doesnt like to be rugged and who likes to be out in a larger herd). He's a young horse, seems completely healthy and I struggled with the thought of PTS and was lucky enough to find someone who he adores (he never adored me lol) and who adores him but doesnt want to ride.
Well he is on loan - so it is a bit different to taking him to the sales or the Blue Cross.
I had a pony who used to fall over occasionally when ridden, she obviously only did it twice, but was absolutely fine unridden. She went on loan as a pet and was much loved. I do think loan is different.
 

JoannaC

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I have a 14 year old who had an accident when she was 8 so at best can only do light hacking but mentally is a horse that needs to be in relatively hard work so she is now a field ornament. She is going on breeding loan this year so hopefully this will be successful as she is a lovely mare and her injuries are due to an accident as opposed to any other issue. I would never sell her but if she can have a job to do in the meantime it would be great. Luckily I have my own land so she can always come home to retire but if my situation changed I would certainly consider PTS as there are far too many unwanted animals out there and I wouldn't want her to end up in the wrong hands. It's bad enough selling a healthy rideable horse!
 

Rowreach

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They have a tricky future at best if you can't keep them. When I was rescuing I always advised PTS, I only took those who could be rehabbed or got back into work because otherwise I would have been knee deep in them and their lives would not have been great (nor mine!).
This, to me, makes absolute sense, and should be what "welfare" is all about, taking the best approach for every single animal, however difficult that may be.
 

dominobrown

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If you the resources... i.e time, money and space to keep the 'unrideables' and I suppose its great if the charties feel they have too... but at the moment I doubt most will do.
I do agree the same applies to dogs.... my parents in law adopted and elderly dog from a shelter because no one else would... it should of been pts. It had cost them thousands due to its endless health issues, its almost blind and death. It seems miserable, its agressive to other dogs animals and people, especially agressive around children. All it does in a day is sleeps, eats, is sick or a has dioherra after eating, has a panic attack amd tries to kill something/ someone and then sleeps again. It should of been pts years ago. Whats the point?
 

BSL

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Big 'like' to your post.
Horses with no future should be PTS rather than passed on.
Same with dogs, and (odd to most but I like chickens) it happens with chickens. I didn't want a cockerel - FTGH or send to market. No one can cope with making the decision these days, we are an instant fulfilment and disposable society lacking moral strength - on the whole.
Agree. I value "life". But there is so much worse than a humane death.
 

hopscotch bandit

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Agree. I value "life". But there is so much worse than a humane death.
I guess you have to judge each animal, what you are prepared to put in money wise if there is any hope of a rideable future, this also goes for time; it can be many weeks or months of rehab, if there is any treatment available, how much you are prepared into keeping a horse you cannot ride.

Everyone is different. I often wonder when I drive by fields of many horses that are plainly in retirement how well there owners know each animal, do they visit them everyday, do they get the vet to do an annual check up etc? I can't think of anything worse that a horse chucked out in a field suffering in discomfort or pain that is not being managed, perhaps because the owner is not aware the animal in question is in pain. What a miserable existence for any animal pottering about suffering quietly in the background.

I'm a one horse owner. Mine is with me until such time she dies or has to be pts on humane grounds, its her forever home. If this means I cannot do the activities I used to do or even not ride at all then so be it. Yes I will miss riding but I owe her that much after decades of service to me. I could never part with an animal if I couldn't ride it but we are all different - I guess there is no right or wrong answer.
 
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Pearlsasinger

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The answer for me is that every horse owner should do the responsible thing, which definitely does NOT include passing unsound horses on to someone else, including a 'rescue'. It might include retirement with the owner, retirement with another trusted person, suitable work with another trusted person (as in a few examples on this thread), or pts but the responsibility should stay with the owner until the end. Everyone who acquires a horse must be prepared to pts from day 1, accidents and illness happen to horses all the time.
 

WelshD

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Agree. I value "life". But there is so much worse than a humane death.
This in spades

I had a very mentally damaged pony some years back, common sense said to PTS but I rehomed him on the basis that I was not arrogant enough to assume that because I could not cope with him that someone else could not turn his life around and I felt he deserved a chance

Sadly he is exactly the same years later, he is much loved and in a good home but I do sometimes worry about his future should the owner ever find herself unable to care for him

If I were ever in such a situation where I could not (or would not) keep an unrideable pony I would PTS without hesitation
 

maisie06

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My welsh was PTS at 13 with PSD...I don't agree with the surgery and the prognosis was crap so he was put down, he wasn't the sort of horse who would be happy in retirement.

If you can afford and are happy to retire a horse and it's happy then all well and good. The problem seems to arise as these days horses are seen as pets and not working animals.


I think lots of people need to "man up" and do the right thing and PTS horses who are injured, unridable, severe behaviour issues etc and not try selling them on or dumping them on charities. Charities can then funnel resources to those equines with a bright and useful future.
 

Merrymoles

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If my own became unrideable but was not in pain, then hell yes I'd keep him - he'd been pushed from place to place enough when I bought him and still has some traits that I know would lead to the same again. I'd miss riding like hell but I have promised him he's mine until the end. He would retire happily, even though he clearly enjoys his work, as long as he had plenty of grazing and company and a bit of attention every day.

If he was in pain, that would be different and I would have to think very carefully about his future, veterinary intervention etc. While not prone to handing out opinions, I have in the past asked gently "do you think it's time?" of others and I hope if I ever become blind to the signs, someone would do the same for me.

I don't look at the rehoming pages of charities all that often but it always seems to be that the great majority of those advertised are deemed not suitable to be ridden and I do wonder about the money and energy spent on a horse which only someone either very well off or with their own land would really be happy to take on.
 

Farcical1

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I have two unrideables, one who was my original ridden horse and one who was a rehome from a large equine charity as a companion. I was also very lucky to have a third, ridden horse for several years but have had just the two oldies for over two years now.
I love them to bits, but I know that they cost me a ridiculous amount of money and time. I go twice a day, as they are stabled overnight at the moment, (roll on better weather!), and watch them like a hawk for signs of illness and stiffness, as they are both now getting on in years.
However, we are planning a major life change and they will not be able to come with us. Therefore they will be PTS together if they are still going at the point I can no longer keep them. They are my responsibility and will always be so. I can’t abide seeing adverts for old, knackered horses that deserve better than being shuffled around from pillar to post.
 

AandK

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I have two veterans. The 21yo I still ride (he was still eventing, albeit at 80 level last year), he has been with me since a 5yo. I also have a 28yo who I have had since a 7yo, she probably could be ridden, but not much more than a gentle pootle round the lanes. She has pretty much been retired for the last 16yrs ish (since I got the 21yo!), bar two short (18months/2yrs) stints on loan in her late teens. She came back to me in 2010, and has been retired out 24/7 since then. Both will be with me until their last breath. And if that means not being able to ride for a while then so be it, I managed for pretty much a whole year at one point due to ridden horse having an op and then another unrelated issue. I won't get another until they are both gone (funds won't allow due to grown up stuff like mortgages).
I do find it very sad seeing ads for aged horses, not so bad if they can still do a job (although still not good IMO) but the ones trying to palm off oldies as companions makes my blood boil. If you can't afford/don't want to look after them in their twilight years, do the decent thing.
 
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oldie48

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I have a pony with very bad stringhalt that someone rescued. He was off to feed zoo animals as an unbroken pony who clearly had no value. I have him on loan to keep Mr B company and for that he's pretty perfect and I am quite fond of him. However, his owner hasn't visited since dropping him off a year ago. There will come a time when I won't need a companion and he is a young pony with potentially years ahead of him and I, at some point, will sell up. If he isn't taken back, then I will pts without hesitation. I do wonder why he was rescued though.
 

JDH01

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I have always kept my horses until their end with the exception of 1. I see him every day as still on out yard and sold for£1. I will always know where he goes? It is my belief that there are much worse things that happen to horses than being pts
 

Pearlsasinger

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I have a pony with very bad stringhalt that someone rescued. He was off to feed zoo animals as an unbroken pony who clearly had no value. I have him on loan to keep Mr B company and for that he's pretty perfect and I am quite fond of him. However, his owner hasn't visited since dropping him off a year ago. There will come a time when I won't need a companion and he is a young pony with potentially years ahead of him and I, at some point, will sell up. If he isn't taken back, then I will pts without hesitation. I do wonder why he was rescued though.
As I can't imagine that he was going to be turned out in the tiger enclosure, I'm afraid that I don't consider this to be a 'rescue'. Someone intervened when he was to be pts, by one method or another. There are far worse things that can happen to agony of little/no value than pts. (not getting at you, oldie48 but at the 'rescuer')
 

Goldenstar

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There’s no one size fits all with this .
I saw far too many old cold miserable retired horses when I was a welfare officer to think it’s all roses roundness the door for the retired horse .
But my personal view is that being able to man up and lead your horse to be put down is something we all need to face up to .
Deciding when the moment is right is very hard in some cases .
 

honetpot

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A big problem for charities is to the general public horse ownership looks easy, so every animal in their care can be saved. You just turn them out in field and they look after themselves, don't they? Plus the well meaning uneducated that thinks love and 'bonding' and this season's must have rug makes a happy animal and good owner.

I think this forum is rare,we are very open of our succeses and failures, which causes costs emotional and financial. I have about four that are hangers on,two l sold as young ponies to what I thought where the right homes. One has been very successful but looking at his passport he has been from pillar to post, I couldn't bare to see him advertised again so I bought him back.

I no longer ride but they still give me pleasure, but people have made me very cynical, I rarely believe anything that anyone says about why they are selling a horse. I have lovely youngster to sell but it would break my heart to see him on low end sales site. When I can I loan, then I know I have control but I am getting a bit long in the tooth.

I have just bought two cows and I think I have just upset someone as I said their calves may go for meat, but I am pretty sure she eats meat. As a society I just do not think we want to face up to reality.
 

Flora

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Although this post has been done a few times before its always interesting to hear peoples opinions. It's interesting about your comment on rescues because I think the same about ALL animal rescues. The majority of 'horsey' people fully understand that PTS is a normal thing, necessary and although horrible its just something we do but to have the view that half the dog rescues up and down the country are holding onto dogs that are dog/ people aggressive or other serious issues but they still look for that very elusive, one in a million home for it, to me seems like a total waste of money and resources when there are so many other suitable dogs waiting to go into rescue. I say cull everything that doesnt meet the grade in terms of homability/ usability and concentrate on those that are suitable for the wider majority of homes.

Difficult to put that into words so i am aware I may have rambled a bit but hopefully I get my view across, apologies :)
Totally agree! I have a rescue near me with mainly horses. Last year they were asking for money to buy padding for a stable and protective wear for a handler, for a horse with severe narcolepsy. Why!!? If it is that bad surely pts is the only option and then concentrate on horses that are healthy and need homes. They seem to take on old horses and ponies all with problems then struggle with help to muck out and to pay for them. Doesn't make sense.
I have a 26yr old and a 16 yr old both retired that I have had for years and will stay until I feel its time to pts. I won't be passing on to a rescue!
An old vet once said to me, that if you can't bring yourself to do the right thing by your horse when the time comes, don't have a horses. How true!
 
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Crugeran Celt

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I have a mare I bred myself who was backed as a 5 year old and retired at 7. She will be 25 in July, she is happy, pain free and if I ever find myself in a position whereby I am unable to keep her she will be PTS. I have also worked for an equine charity and I must say I agree with many here that some older animals are kept alive when PTS would save the charity a fortune and it certainly isn't the worst thing for a horse with an uncertain future.
 

JJS

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So the crux of this post, and I've no doubt it will be controversial, is this. Why do rescue charities persist in trying to keep alive so many sick and injured horses that have no prospect of a happy, pain free, stress free future? Would they not be better concentrating their resources (which after all are very limited) on rehabilitating horses and ponies which can go on to lead happy and useful lives?

And why oh why do owners keep passing on their problems instead of being responsible and doing the right thing by their horses - and anyone who may sit on them in the future?
This is always such a difficult and emotive topic. One of my horses has been retired for around two years now, since he was seven. T's currently happy, healthy, and pain-free, but the number of people who've asked me if I'll bring him back into work is enough in itself for me to know what I have to do if ever I can't keep him. On the surface, he looks perfectly rideable, but the reality is that his condition not only makes him dangerous to be on, but also causes him real pain, which just isn't fair to him. I've always been open about the fact that if he can't stay here with me forever (which I fully intend for him to do) then PTS is the only other option I'd consider. He's exactly the sort of horse that would end up in an awful downwards spiral, and he's experienced too much of that already. He'll never find himself in a situation like that again.

However, the issue of charities is more complicated. I don't think we should keep any horse going unless it can lead a pain-free life (whether that means medicating it or not). However, too many people are of the opinion that a happy life goes hand-in-hand with being rideable, and that has never sat well with me. None of my four horses are currently in work, but every single one of them has an awful lot of value to me. They don't exist solely so that I can ride them, and they deserve just as much of a chance as any other horse to have a happy life regardless. Call me a fluffy bunny if you like - I very probably am - but a part of me thinks that many of the equines who find themselves in the care of charities have seen the worst of human brutality and callousness, so they deserve a chance to see the best of human kindness too. If a rescue can provide that for them, as my local rescue does, then I applaud them for it.
 

JillA

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Just a word regarding charities - they have a really hard PR job to convince their donating public that "killing" animals isn't the work of the devil. Look at the outcry whenever the RSPCA do euthenase some of their rescues, many of those who blindly criticise have no idea of the reality of the futures of those animals. But everyone wants them to keep them alive at whatever cost
 

ycbm

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None of my four horses are currently in work, but every single one of them has an awful lot of value to me. They don't exist solely so that I can ride them, and they deserve just as much of a chance as any other horse to have a happy life regardless. Call me a fluffy bunny if you like - I very probably am -
We all do what gives us pleasure to do for/with our animals.

I just wish some people (I'm not referring to you) who think there is a duty to keep their animals retired when it stops them having another horse to ride would realise that what is keeping them happy would make another person miserable. And horses are too expensive and life too short to be made miserable by them. Retirement of horses doesn't make anyone a saint (though thankfully this thread has been pretty clear of those posters) and PTS of a happy but unrideable horse is not evil (and those too).
 

DD

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Big 'like' to your post.
Horses with no future should be PTS rather than passed on.
Same with dogs, and (odd to most but I like chickens) it happens with chickens. I didn't want a cockerel - FTGH or send to market. No one can cope with making the decision these days, we are an instant fulfilment and disposable society lacking moral strength - on the whole.
^^^^^^^^
this great post
 

Ranyhyn

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I had an unrideable 8 year old. Navicular badly in her fronts, ringbone and a bone cyst on her stifle. I paid a lot of money for her, but I didn't want a pet and she hadn't earnt her retirement, so I had her put down.
 
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This thread actually cheers me up a lot.
Lots of people with their heads screwed on who will do what is best for the horses.
Was having this conversation with my mum the other day actually and the general consensus was if we were no longer able to keep our 4 they'd be pts. It sounds terrible but would be for the best for them as they aren't the type which are worth a lot (though to me they are priceless obviously :) ) so at risk of being passed from pillar to post till they drop, which imho is no life for any animal.
But right now, the non-ridden 2 we just keep around because they are happy and healthy and we appreciate their company and love them lots. I think we are very lucky in being able to have big pets actually; unriddens can be a lot of fun though I've nothing against people who just want to ride.
But just because *I* can, should a rescue? Well, to be honest, probably not, because whilst that sickly, sad, sore old thing is in a sanctuary's stable there's some poor little mite of a coloured colt, who could be brought back to health and live a good happy useful life, starving and shivering somewhere because all the rescue centres are full. And I don't think keeping any horse alive for a person's benefit is OK at all.
As I said our unriddens are kept around because we can, and they are happy and healthy. But even if we still have the financial means to keep them, if they are no longer pain free and content then they will be euthanised: it's the kindest thing you can give an animal who has provided you so much joy throughout its life, I think. Mine have done so much for me so I feel promising them a good end is the least I can do. (love them so much!) It applies to all my animals too, not just the horses.
 
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DabDab

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Yes and no ;)
I have first hand experience of the frustration of looking after creaky old charity horses with no hope of being rehomed. They were taking up spaces that could have been filled by younger animals with decent hope of rehabilitation to useful careers. A charity local to me was sort of viewed with envy because they were so efficient at getting new horses in and getting others out to homes. for me, THAT is what the rescues should put a huge amount of attention into, not just filling up stables with horses that have no future beyond becoming institutionalised.

Yes, some high profile rescues of desperate cases can be good fund raisers and get the attention of the public but I strongly feel that few if any should be kept going if they can't go and lead a decent life away from the rescue centre.

I have 2 unrideables - both charity horses that have retired in their adopted homes. One who will probably stand up to a bit of gentle pottering and one that definitely won't. I'm lucky to have access to land to keep them on. When one of them reaches the point where they need more intervention then they will both go over the bridge together, no way are they going back to the rescue, that would be ridiculous.

The other 2.. one is such an unknown at the moment that I couldn't say what I'll do, the welshie will never be passed on because she's so strange I feel a deep responsibility to her :eek:
Yes, completely agree, and can imagine the frustration of it. I was sort of playing devil's advocate, but what I'm meaning is that, even if society in general becomes more realistic with how they view PTS, it will still be controversial on a case by case basis.

So the old and riddled with arthritis, OK that should be a fairly straightforward call, the 6yo with diagnosed but untreated kissing spine is a bit harder to justify to the public, and then the horse with severe behavioural problems but no diagnosed ailment (who is arguably the most likely to be suffering) is a hard PTS decision to sell for even the pragmatic.
 

Abi90

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I have a 5 yr old who is having one issue after another. I will give her the best shot at being a sound, useful horse with what the insurance will cover but beyond that I can’t afford 2 and I’m not keeping a 5 yr old field ornament so if she doesn’t come right enough for what I want to do then she will be PTS.
 

Rowreach

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But maybe a better informed public would be more understanding than we are giving them credit for? Our local rescue posted this week that they may have to close because they haven't reached their winter crisis full d raising target. One of their supporters posted along the lines of "aw but you're so lovely you never want to let any of them go to new homes" ..... Which rather seems to defeat the purpose I think.
 
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