Have you ever stopped and considered what choices you might make should the worst happen to your horse?
Do you have an end-of-life plan put in place with details, options and phone numbers?
We all dread to think of saying goodbye to our loved ones, but as painful as it may be, it is also a costly exercise, both emotionally and financially. However morbid the subject may seem, it's imperative to lay out your choices beforehand, if you are to give your four-legged friend the dignified end he or she deserves.
There are many options available to us. Many more than there has been in the past. We can now choose between the injection and the gun, but we can also send our horses away and leave them in the capable hands of others who are trained in end-of-life methods. As for the body we can choose between burial (with license), communal cremation, individual cremation with token ashes returned, individual cremation with all ashes returned, renderers, fallen stock collectors, and of course, the hunt.
Making a plan means that should the worst happen, you are sure of your choices and not forced to make a fast decision in the heat of the moment. These plans can contain your exact wishes, including telephone numbers of the individuals you wish to be involved, and what part they will play in the process. You should always ensure your livery yard and temporary caregiver has a copy of your wishes if you are away for any length of time.
We love our horses, they are our family, and we want to be able to say goodbye in the way we personally believe is the best for them as individuals. During these traumatic and stressful situations it’s not always easy to think clearly or rationally. Who will stand up for your horse if you are too upset to make a choice? So have a long hard think, and make a plan to ensure your wishes will be heard, just in case.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.