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What Should Be Done With Permanently Lame Horses?


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#1 Kyra

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 12:41 AM

In my opinion, a horse that has a severely debilitating disease, lameness e.t.c., should be put down. Now if it's someone's beloved pet that they can afford to take care of than i don't think it matters. But rather than trying to give it to someone else i think it would be better to put it down and make room in the world for another horse that isn't in pain and can be ridden.

Like with humane society's. They should,instead of putting a ton of money into a horse that you don't know if they will ever be sound or pain free again, put the money into a horse that can be rehabbed successfully and found a good home. Honestly, i think that if a horse is going to be in pain for the rest of it's life it's nicer to put it out of it's misery.

I've been thinking about this because at the humane society near me,they put over 10,000 dollars and 3 surgeries into a horse that they knew may never be sound again. And they wound up putting him down. All that money could have been put into a horse that they knew was gonna make it and they could have gotten a nice home for. It's kinda like pouring money down the drain.I know it's really sad to put a horse down but it's sometimes better for them.

At the barn that i work at, we are getting rid of a few of the horses because there are just to many.We had one mare that was 26. She was a TB/Connemara cross and trained in 4th level dressage. But she had chronic arthritis in her hips and Cushings. She couldn't be ridden ever because her hips hurt her so badly.Some days she would try to step over a rock and would grimace in pain.So we put her down.Rather than giving her to someone else and have them try to control her pain,we decided it would be best to let her go. She was on 4 meds and was still in pain. A few people thought it was mean, but we had to many horses and she was just never going to be free from her prison of pain.
So what do you all think? I'm not saying never to try to save a horse, but we should pick and choose a little wiser.

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#2 MissMotherNature

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 12:55 AM

I totally agree! I would put a horse in pain down even if I wasn't needing to find it a new home. Pain is miserable, it is something I have to live with everyday of my life. Not something a horse that lives for the present should have to deal with. I have put a horse down because of the pain she was in. I also at work we put a horse down because of the pain he was in. He should have never been accepted into our program by the previous director(broken knee) we origional we going to retire and rehome him. However after taking into consideration his age(10) and the fact that he was already on $200 a month of injections and supplements. We decided that it was the most fair thing to him and the economy to put the sweety to sleep. To many horse out there right now that could be taking up that expense and need a home, he however would be in chronic pain the rest of his life.
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#3 Jazzmatazz

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 08:42 AM

I have to agree. If they are at a point where they are on continual meds for pain control, then it's really time to think about how much fun they're not having.

In a pasture situation, I've seen older or crippled horses become completely dependant on the herd for their protection. When seperated from the herd, they become panicked. They know they are not capable of protecting themselves from predators. That should give some idea of their quality of life.
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#4 Adagio

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 09:27 AM

I have a permanently lame horse.

He does require a bit of daily medicine to keep him pasture sound. And special shoes. The meds only cost about 12-15 a month so neither that nor the shoes are a big burden.

If I fell on hard times and couldn't care for him, I would put him down. He could easily fall into the wrong hands if I tryed to rehome him, which wouldn't be fair to him.

If he weren't able to run and play in the pasture, I will put him down. If he wasn't able to defend himself in the pasture, I will put him down. If he looses the shine, happy in his eye, I will put him down.

This is a horse who was able to work until he was 20.
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Edited by Adagio, 24 December 2008 - 10:02 AM.


#5 daphne

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 10:40 AM

I have a permentaly lame mare. She can not be rode anymore. We rode her up to2 yrs ago. She has a bad knee. She is on a few supps to help with joint pain and fluid(keeping her joint lubed). Mooner is a good little mare that is a GREAT mom and GREAT sitter. I have seen this little mare after the herd leaves get up and run like fire on three legs. She gets around great.

I do agree that if the horse has NO chance of ever being pain free then yes putting down would be an option.
But like my little mare, she will not be put down until she can't get back up or something awful happens.
My sister just put down a mare cause her front foot kept rotating. Yep she foundered and after 2 yrs of trying to fix the rotation, stop the bone from coming thru the sole. She was put down to stop her pain. Fannie was on all kinds of stuff.


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#6 Skippen

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 11:14 AM

I have a shetland mare that has bad arthritis in both front knees. She has her bad days, but still enjoys going out on pasture and even does a gallop once in a while or a buck or two if she feels really good.

Her eyes don't tell me that she is ready to go, as long as I can manage her pain and she doesn't have more bad days then good, she'll be around, even though she is not usable.

Now, if I needed to let her go for some reason, I would consider putting her down, unless I could be sure she found a forever home as a companion or pasture pet!

Edited by Skippen, 24 December 2008 - 11:15 AM.

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#7 8-legged-pony

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 12:29 PM

I have to agree with you, if the owner can't look after them for any reason then I think better to put them to sleep, than pass them from pillar to post and risk them getting into the wrong hands. I think sometimes the same should be done with our older horses who have served us well, rather than selling them on or giving them away to someone because they can no longer be ridden. I think we owe it to them to either keep them until the very end, or let them sleep rather than passing them on to someone else and unsettling them. I know my loan horse has been on the same yard for 15 years, and his owner wouldn't dream of even moving him to another yard let alone selling him on, as he's an old boy now and wouldn't be happier anywhere else than home, she'd choose to put him to sleep rather than have to uproot him and make him unhappy.
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#8 Kyra

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 01:57 PM

8-legged Pony, that's exactly what I'm talking about. If they have served a barn well, but can't be ridden and have to be gotten rid of, it is so much easier and nicer to put them to sleep. At my barn, it's a college barn and they can't afford to keep horses that can't be ridden. So the nice thing is to put them down rather then pass them off. And for old horses, changing homes is simply too hard on them.

Edited by Kyra, 24 December 2008 - 01:58 PM.

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#9 Mudder

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 02:15 PM

If it's lame but can still live without serious pain on a daily basis, I'd keep the horse as a pasture ornament. If not, I'd put it down.
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#10 Bumper

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 03:04 PM

QUOTE (Mudder @ Dec 24 2008, 12:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If it's lame but can still live without serious pain on a daily basis, I'd keep the horse as a pasture ornament. If not, I'd put it down.


Ditto. We may get to that point eventually with Chilito, who has had arthritis in his knee since he was 7.

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#11 ozland

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 03:51 PM

I have a 28 year old mare with arthritis in her knee, doing reasonably well on Cosequin. This old sweetheart has more than earned a cushy retirement, and I'll give it to her as long as we both are comfortable with it. If she reaches the point where life is not comfortable for her, I will do what's right for her, with love. Right now, she's the best baby sitter for my weanlings, keeping them in line without being too rough about it.

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#12 DiluteMe

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 09:51 PM

QUOTE (Bumper @ Dec 24 2008, 02:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Ditto. We may get to that point eventually with Chilito, who has had arthritis in his knee since he was 7.

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Double ditto. First horse I ever had suddenly went chronically lame at 15. Took a year and going to the state veterinary college and some nuclear tests (yes my horse was positive for radiation for a while) to find out that he had an old hip fracture (as in when he was younger way before I got him) that didn't heal right and he could not handle any more. Big vet there said he's happy he's healthy no reason to put him down.
He went around rather happily on 3 legs for about 2 years. He would use the back left leg but barely, and could canter on three legs easily. He was never in any pain and was a VERY happy horse. The 2rd year he started losing quite a bit of weight and that happy twinkle was no long in his eyes and I had to make the decision to put him down. It was better than him being unhappy and maybe casting himself somewhere out in the pasture on ice (was in WI at the time).

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#13 dgRuffian

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 01:49 PM

Wonder what the horse thinks about all this.
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#14 ozland

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 03:05 PM

I ask my old girl that very question every day! So far, she says she's happy to eat good food and get loved and brushed. When the answer changes, we will deal with it.

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#15 JumperCrazy

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 04:32 PM

Permanently lame and pemanently in pain are two very very different senarios, IMO.

We have a mare in the barn who's 8 or 9, was a star in the show ring up until two years ago when an injury put her out of commission as a show horse. She has a permanent gimp/limp from said injury, therefore cannot go in the show ring. The mare can still be ridden comfortably on the flat by her owner [who rides maybe 3-4 times a year] and is happy as a lark to be a pasture pet that people pet and feed and play with. I think it would be a sad situation if this mare had been put down, her quality of life has not diminished, she's just not the same "useful" horse she used to be.

Then we have my gelding, who is not going to be comfortable during riding or other activity in the coming year or so. His situation is tender and it could go a few different ways, but should it turn bad, it would be in a way that he wouldn't be able to be kept pain free, even to stand in a pasture. But we're crossing that bridge when we come to it.

Permanently lame? The situation deserves to be readdressed, regarding the owner's financial status and willingness to keept a pasture pet.

Permanently in pain? The animal deserves to be put out of it's misery. A life in pain is no life at all.
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#16 mkueper

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 06:15 PM

I have a little shetland mare who is about 20 yrs old and she is very foundered,she has been as long as I've had here which is about 4 yrs.She has always had soundness issues but she has been able to be ridden until last year.This year has been really hard on her.She is a pasture buddy for my sons blind poa.She is on daily medicine but she still has a lot to offer and she hollars every morning,she eats well and she is holding her weight well.There are some days when she don't even want to get up so on those days she gets 3cc's of banimine.She has to have her feet done every 3 to 4 weeks and so is closely watched by the vet,When we can not control her pain anymore I will put her done.I'm sure its not to far off but until then I will keep her as comfortable and as happy as possible.On Dec.21st she was in a live nativity play and she was in the lead with mary and joseph and never missed a beat.There was over 250 people there it was great.I also take her to nursing homes were she goes in and visits with paitients.So she still has a job and is happy doing it

#17 Kyra

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 08:36 PM

I guess i should have clarified.What i meant was permanently in pain. If they are just lame then i don't think they should necessarily be put down. There are times when a permanently lame horse should be put down but i won't get into that now.

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#18 spotz58

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 08:34 AM

I'm glad you clarified the pain part.

We put down a great old mare this fall because her arthritis pain could not be controlled anymore.

We have a couple of mares that are permanently lame, but it is a mechanical lameness. The HS made us miserable over the one; they wanted us to put her down because she has a big obvious gimp. We finally had the vet redo the block procedure to prove she was just as off blocked as not (no pain; fused fetlock) and send the results to them.

#19 Prairie Rose

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 10:45 AM

Ditto.
Double ditto.

I would not, however, condone someone keeping a lame horse to use just for breeding, ie:, mare can get prego but cannot be ridden. That's just wrong. Number one, there are plenty of horses out there now, and number two, the stresses of pregnancy on an already lame horse.......duh!

If a horse can be kept under pain management procedures and able to live happily, then you betcha. When the pain can no longer be controlled and the horse shows signs of problems or distress, it is time to put down.

QUOTE (Mudder @ Dec 24 2008, 01:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If it's lame but can still live without serious pain on a daily basis, I'd keep the horse as a pasture ornament. If not, I'd put it down.

Edited by Prairie Rose, 26 December 2008 - 10:47 AM.

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#20 ozland

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 01:40 PM

My sweet old girl is fat and sassy, tells me she doesn't hurt, so we go on as long as she wants to. She gets daily Cosequin and no pain meds at this point. She might be breeding sound, don't know. I don't think I want to do that to her, especially at 28 going 29. She has a job keeping up with the other mares' kids when they are weaned.

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#21 Irish Sovereign (In Omnia Paratus)

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Posted 27 December 2008 - 02:07 PM

QUOTE (Adagio @ Dec 24 2008, 07:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have a permanently lame horse.

He does require a bit of daily medicine to keep him pasture sound. And special shoes. The meds only cost about 12-15 a month so neither that nor the shoes are a big burden.

If I fell on hard times and couldn't care for him, I would put him down. He could easily fall into the wrong hands if I tryed to rehome him, which wouldn't be fair to him.

If he weren't able to run and play in the pasture, I will put him down. If he wasn't able to defend himself in the pasture, I will put him down. If he looses the shine, happy in his eye, I will put him down.

This is a horse who was able to work until he was 20.
http://pic18.picture...3/208318963.jpg


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I have a most likely permanantly lame horse. Jake is my life and I can't imagine life without him. He still runs and plays and is second in comand in the pasture. He's SO full of life and everytime I see him racing "his" mare in the field it gives me hope that maybe someday I'll be able to ride him again. However, because he is my life, the day he can't enjoy life anymore I'll put him to rest. It'll will be the best and final act I can give to my best friend.
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#22 WildHorseSpirit

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 06:55 PM

The horse will tell you!

My mare has less than a grade one lameness at times but comes through with minimal pain care. As long as we are not in the grade 2-3 with no relief from care she remains in her home with us. The day it gets there she goes home!

I won't hesitate to let her go but I will NOT allow some vet assistant to tell me because of an abcess I need to put her down, when the vet isn't saying it. That lady almost got killed for that one I went out of the barn and put my head between my legs. I am not new to horses and I have it down when she will be let go and baby she is far from it! That from her other vet and our master farrier! Yes I have to deal with the dunder headed vet assistants with one vet but weirdly she disappeared after that day LOL

Things change quickly so you have to be alert to your horse's situation and monitor them constantly but your heart and horse will tell you.


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