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A Horse is For Life, Not Just For Christmas…

December 17, 2018

Horse Ownership: A long term commitment

Sam Churchill Equine Therapist

Buying a horse is a long term commitment.  Just like buying any animal, it’s a decision that should never be taken lightly.  Too often we hear the classic story of someone who buys a horse, or pony, and then it gets sold on with little care about where it will end up. Or that the horse has got old and it is time to move them on.

 Horses are treated like disposable assets. We are in a culture whereby if one breaks or isn’t suitable, we simply replace it with a shiny new one. I believe this culture has to change.

Horses are not like cars, they are intelligent creatures, they experience a wide range of emotion such as; fear, anger, curiosity, confusion, sadness and even happiness.  As such it is our role to treat them with respect and take responsibility for where they end up – whether that is in our ownership, or not.

Older horses at higher risk of neglect

Older horses are particularly vulnerable and the chances of neglect are much higher.  Sadly, a number of horse owners would rather sell on, or dispose of their old friend once they enter their twilight years, rather than seeing them through to the end of their life.  What’s most concerning about this is that often old horses and ponies will end up in awful places, such as the slaughterhouse or even worse – part of the illegal trafficking trade that still happens today, whereby live horses are transported across Europe and the continent to be delivered ‘fresh’ for human consumption, to markets which have a high demand for horsemeat.

TRM review a country lady equestrian blog

Finding a suitable home for your old friend

Of course, not everyone is fortunate enough to have the money/space etc to be able to keep their old friend, but if you buy a horse you should always take responsibility for their welfare and place them somewhere where they are going to be well cared for.  If need to re-home a horse and you have exhausted all avenues, try the following charities:

The cruel truth

1,000 of horses are slaughtered in the UK for their meat or neglected – don’t let your old best friend be one of them!



Do you have any stories you’d like to share about this topic? Or any recommendations on rehoming charities etc? If so, please get in touch and share them.









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  • Reply Pat Cunningham December 17, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    I totally agree about the ‘old friends’. I had my mare Jenna for 22 years until we had to say goodbye when she was 27. My husband’s mare was 34. We stayed with them until the end.
    Yes I have had to sell horses on but only in their best interest and then to homes which I knew.
    I now have my beloved boy, 24 and retired with ringbone. He will stay with me until I have to make the decision which no one wants to make. And that will be very hard indeed.

    • mm
      Reply Abi Rule December 19, 2018 at 5:05 pm

      I’m glad you agree Pat. It’s never easy and we all have to sell them on at some point but it’s making sure we that do it responsibly :-). Good on you for keeping your old friends. Abi x

  • Reply Kate January 28, 2019 at 4:34 am

    Excellent post! I’m from Australia and we have every horse myself/my kids have ever had. Happy to lend them to people who can use them and look after them (where I can check on them) then they come back to me when they’re done. No animal I’ve ever owned will send up spending their last interaction with humans waiting in the blazing sun outside the dog meat factory and filled with fear as they are hunted onto the kill floor. If the day came when we didn’t have the space or means to look after them we would probably get them put down. While this sounds terrible, at least I’d know they would never be mistreated, neglected or scared. Better that than the horrors some people subject horses to – Great Article Abi

    • mm
      Reply Abi Rule February 12, 2019 at 7:45 am

      Thank you Kate and good on you! I know it’s really difficult for some people to hold on to there horses into old age but I think everyone should have a moral responsibility to ensure their horses welfare even if they do have to sell them etc.

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