Your Old Horse Deserves Better

I was there for your old horse today.

Her body could barely withstand the muscle tremors she experienced when I came to her. She stumbled trying to turn, trying to walk on the trailer.

The ramshackle barn and foot of mud she stood in hadn’t always been her “home.” And the place before down the road where all they did was throw her out bread to eat hadn’t always been where she lived, either.

3 decades or more means someone was supposed to have loved her, once upon a time.

I did not know her before today, so I was unaware for a few moments she could not see on her left side and was afraid going into the trailer.

You weren’t there. I’m not surprised. She didn’t matter to you. At least, not anymore.

Maybe she came up lame, and you still wanted to ride. Maybe you moved, lost a job or had a baby?

She was used up, after all.

She gave and gave and when she couldn’t give more, maybe you thought she’d be a “good pasture pet” for someone because there are always so many people looking for aged, special needs horses, right? So you traded her, sold her, auctioned her or gave her away to so-so who was sure to take care of her.

You didn’t follow up, of course, as life gets busy. You didn’t have time.

I mean, this is all speculation. Maybe she has 100 “Yous” in her lifetime of 30 or more years.

I will never know, as her ancient tattoo has faded beyond recognition, no matter what tricks we might use to learn who she was. I mean, she deserves to be known. Where she was born, where she raced, where she served, what she gave humans.

Chances are high we’ve arrived far too late for this girl, but she will never spend another day neglected again. Her future will never again be unsure. She will not be passed around again.


Before you dump, give away or sell your “old” and disadvantaged horses, PLEASE REMEMBER this mare’s story. We see it over and over again. If you cannot love and care for your old horse, GIVE that horse decency, kindness and consideration, and let your home be the last known. Do not let the horse go out there where the odds are slim life will ever be very kind.

I’ve named her Andromeda, and it means “Rescued.”

58 thoughts on “Your Old Horse Deserves Better

    1. Not actually replying to above comment. It isn’t always the older horses this happens to. Twice I have bought horses in this condition. Having a feed business at the time gave me access to what l needed to bring them back and they were worth every bit of my effort. But is is so unfair that the old ones are allowed to get in this condition in the first place never mind just discarded. I truly have faith in you reap what you sow..But when these humans end up in a bad way at the end of their life it will likely never occur to them they should have treated others especially helpless animals, better. I’ve always maintained even if mummy doesn’t get up when she should, most 2 year Olds could get cereal and milk, but animals are completely dependent on their caregivers. Even a pasture that looks green can be deceiving in the amount of nutrition
      available. And they wonder why l prefer animals to people. Be interesting to see how long it takes some so called friends to make some more nasty comments about things they assumed from 1500 k away.

  1. We owe our old friends love grace and dignity and I am proud to say that every horse I have loved was loved by myself or my family until they drew their last breath. Yes it is hard but it is the right thing to do. To offer that last greatest kindness to them for all that they have given over their life.

  2. This is so sad, so unacceptable to treat an animal so inhumanely. God have mercy for the person who did such a thing. Prayers this horse is no longer suffering 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

    1. What a sad story for this old Gal. I’m sure she was a regal, fabulous champion at some periods of her life. Bless you for caring for these old steeds.
      I have a serious and heartfelt question-
      Is it cruel to humanly euthanize your horse (19 years) that you have bred the mare, foaled and trained in high level dressage, single owner -single rider for 19 years. The horse is extremely temperamental and will never be a hack.
      Do you rehome knowing his history? Or make the decision it’s the right thing to do? Open for dicussion.

      1. It is not cruel to PTS an animal who you can no longer take care of, better to be with them when they are humanely PTS than get rid of them to an uncertain fate, which generally is bad.

  3. people who do this to an animal should never be allowed to own any kind of animal the rest of their miserable lives. Makes me sick, poor baby.

  4. This precious horse is no longer suffering. My heart hurts for her that people have no compassion that they would not feed her and take care of her basic needs! RIP precious angel!

  5. it is so sad animals should be taken care for the time they are on this earth. They need exercise, food, water and play time.

  6. Four of mine are on the front corner of my property. The last one, he’s 38 plus, will someday be there too.

    1. My favorite was 39 when he went down unable to rise. He in no way looked like this poor mare. He was fed the best feed, wormed regularly, regularly given inoculations, hooves trimmed. Trust he will be waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge.

  7. Thank god for ppl like u to come rescue although it never should have to this. I’ve just rescued a 20 yr old blind gelding they were gonna shoot. He has been putting weight on slowly and found he loves to be brushed. When I found him was out back in an area that couldnt be seen. God bless all that help out these poor souls

  8. I just purchased a 20 yr old with a blind eye. I love him to the moon and back already. I will care for him the best I can for all the years he has left. He will never know another home. ❤❤ Thank you for rescuing this poor girl.

  9. Agree!
    My husband and I have a home for retired trail/lesson horses, Saving Grace Sanctuary. The most fulfilling part of my day is taking care of these gentle souls and making them a comfortable place to spend the rest of their days.

  10. This is so sad but at least my heart is warmed knowing that you rescued her. It makes me think of those people who have a dog for many years and then decide to have a baby. The dog ends up at the shelter because after all, the baby has to come first now. Seriously? Who was there first and now who is being pushed out? So what happens to the baby if they get bored with it? Animals are family! This horse shouldn’t ever have to live a day of neglect. We can only hope and pray that KARMA finds a place with those who left her behind and rewards them accordingly. Thank you for all that you do and for bringing love and hope to the hearts of those who can’t help themselves… <3 <3

  11. My go to horse Dakota is 29. We have shared many trails,campfires and he has put up with my singing for years. Over the last two months he has lost weight and muscle mass. I have had my vet work with him changed my feeding schedules to no avail. I have been on my knees crying over him, It has come to the point that I am going to have him put down and buried in his favorite pasture. I have always believed that owning a horse is not a matter of life and death….it’s much more important than that..He has had a good life and made mine much better.

  12. We have only been six years into horse keeping and we are 65 and 71 years old. It was a life long dream of mine but I had to wait till retirement in order to make it come true. We just found out last spring that my husbands horse had gone blind. We were devastated. Now what to do?
    Well, we gave him our barn and lot, fenced off the steep parts, gave him another older horse as companion, leave a radio on 24/7 next to the barn door so he has something to orient himself with. And we will baby and love on him till we can’t anymore. But then what? It worries me what we should do then. He is only 13 years old and more likely outlive us.

    1. make a provision in your will for who will care for him. I’ve done that for my critters and left money to go to the various organizations that will take them in should the need arise. I know I can’t count on family members to provide for my guys.

  13. She looks like a horse I tried to save. Her name was Amy. She spent 10 years as a police horse. She came to me with a BCS of 0.5. She died of heart failure three weeks after she came to me. The person who starved her was never prosecuted

  14. I have a herd of horses and ponies that have been with me an average of thirty years . I totally get what you say, everyone says get rid of them, they say that because I am becoming crippled with RA. I simply can’t and won’t. Half of them are blind and or toothless. But they took care of me and I will take care of them, the circle of life, we will die together. I still have some under twenty and we take care of the rest. Pony Party Paradise is who we will always be together, I just have to make sure they are happy and healthy, the constant raining and floods have taken it’s toll and I give my all to them. i have no use for the well healed people who use their animals and toss them when they are aged, especially when it would be so easy to care for them in their greatest time of need. God bless you for doing what you do.

    1. Hi, I also have a herd of horses and ponies. Once they “work in” they have a lifetime home. My property is small so they all have to get along. I just put down my 45 year old as he was showing me “the signs”. I still have a 43 yr old, 37 yr old, 29 yr old and so on. We are a team and we do not abandon team members. I do get mad when groups like PETA say they are “exploited” just because we work alongside of them. Ha! Their average work week (before retirement) is 8-10 hours. Mine is 65-70! Who’s exploiting who lol ?

  15. I’ve never had a horse, although I believe I would love one if I had the chance to own one. I have dogs, and cannot imagine abandoning one of them when they get older and sicker. They are beautiful animals.

  16. I had horses for years and knew when the time came I had to make the right decision. I drove 12 hours to say good bye to my guy because we knew the cancer was starting to effect his quality of life. He went out with grace and dignity but did not suffer any form of neglect or cruelty. RIP Snowy! You were lived every moment of every day you blessed my life

  17. The stories breaks my heart.pòor old horses and ponies. They ask for nothing and give everything.god bless x

  18. In ’17 my friend gave me a beautiful fat healthy 18 yr old mare that loved little kids a true babysitter… I gave her to “friends” for their granddaughter.. Granddad decided he didn’t like her so he didn’t feed her.. At all.. She had lost 600 lbs by the time I saw her in person.. I picked her up and. And and another family wanted her for their sons.. So I took her to them giving instructions to over feed her this summer to get her fat.. The Dad called me Wednesday and said she was loosing weight and he thought she needs to be stalled and fed.. I agreed to go get her yesterday.. She was Down.. Could not get up.. She was mearly a skeleton with skin.. I shot her to end the suffering.. The suffering I caused by letting her go with these people who I respected and loved believeing they would feed her right.. And they did not.. These are well off folks plenty of money for feed and hay..and they.. I… Let her starve to death … This horse had given her entire life to taking care of kids.. And the last 2 yrs of her life were absolutely horrible.. Nothing but pain and suffering .. Because of ME.. AND MY CHOICES.. My bad choices… I’m so hurt so ashamed I Let this happen to this sweet horse.. I trusted the wrong people and it cost HER her LIFE… I question myself and my choice to even attempt to home another horse.. I don’t ever want to put another horse in that kinda situation.. Please check on the ones you give away… Some don’t understand that feed for a senior is extremely important.. I have lost faith in most humans after this.. And I’m scared of what will happen to the next one to leave here… I can’t keep them all…

    1. Oh honey, I feel all your pain through your words. God bless you for at least TRYING, I know you feel as if you failed, but some things in this life are completely out of our control:/

  19. I totally agree. I have owned my horse for 29 years. I don’t ride her anymore. She is retired after years of loyal service. I got her when she was 5 months old. She will have a home with me forever!

  20. I’m afraid I have to disagree with prolonging this animals torture ,I’m an 83 yr old horse owner and at my age I know what pain of aching joints and arthritis and all the ailments that come with old age ,we as humans can express our feelings and ask for help when needed ,unfortunately our four legged friends can’t and suffer in silence ,age is no reason to put any animal to sleep but it’s medical condition is ,so in my opinion euthanasia is the most humane way to end their days ,and if it comes to the point where I am in ongoing pain I would like the choice .

    1. After dealing with many horses ( hundreds) over my 72 years, I have to agree with Malcolm. Euthanasia is not a horrible choice. It is a quiet peaceful way to pass on to the next world. As a elderly person with many aches and pains, it doesn’t look like the worst choice when many animals are sent to people who can’t afford a younger fancier horse. They may not know about worming and senior feeds, and the many things it takes to keep an elderly horse comfortable. Don’t pass your old horses on thinking they are going to stand knee deep in grass or lay in sunshine. Allow them to go to the greener pastures of heaven. They will be taken care of there. Cuz everyone knows “good horse people go to heaven”.

  21. All of the good intentions in the world will not fix some people. When life takes a turn and your financial ability to take care of an elderly horse or you are not physically able any more to care for them…what does a person do when they cannot find a suitable place to care for them?? I think euthanasia is better than putting them in an questionable place. Hundreds of horses have had to be rescued from rescues. My heart aches for the animals always. I own 3 geriatric horses…20, 23, 27. They all 3 earned to be taken care of till they die. I pray every day that I can provide this care.

  22. The Vets need this education too. When this horse was originally given away she was probably in fair/good health. I saw first hand a vet refuse to put a pony down unless they ran tests to confirm if anything was ‘wrong’ with her. Vets here will not euth a horse unless something is ‘wrong’ with the horse, they won’t give a peaceful ending otherwise. We need to end the SHAME of giving horses a peaceful end BEFORE they get in this condition. My fat, sassy 25yr arab riddled with melanomas and unrideable since he was 15yr old is ‘fine’ but i’m still not ‘allowed’ to give him peace due to shame. I don’t trust where he’ll end up and too chicken to send him to rainbow bridge. We need to be aligned and approving of this ‘plea’ ( If you cannot love and care for your old horse, GIVE that horse decency, kindness and consideration, and let your home be the last known.) BEFORE the cycle gets to this sad mares visible suffering. No one talks about the middle end!!?? No one will really be cool with euthanasia due to job loss/kids/life changes. Most of these responses are from good people with pastures and property with the ability to let them live out their days. Where we live, horsekeeping is 10x 10 stalls of expensive board. Until Vets and Attitudes align that it is OK to euth an old or unusable but otherwise healthy horse….these giveaways/auctions and suffering will continue.

    1. “Until Vets and Attitudes align that it is OK to euth an old or unusable but otherwise healthy horse” is completely the opposite of what this post is about. I’m hoping this is a mistyping. Killing, and let’s be honest that’s what it is, should not be considered merciful. You took the responsibility and you benefited physically and emotionally from this wonderful animal. Now it is your turn to give back. That is the point of this post. As the founder of an organization that offers assistance to horse owners in need concerning the health and welfare of their horse their is a time to let them go. But never because they are healthy and “unusable”. We have 5 resident horses that all have special needs and we have volunteers that take them for walks because they can’t be ridden. And at the moment they don’t have tons of acres and room. Even though they are not in stalls. We also started a program so that with their challenges they can help humans and humans help them by using agility maneuvers. It is up to the students to help our one boy with wobblers to safely back up through a maneuver. Don’t give up! Don’t throw them away for someone else to pick up the ticket for! Don’t forget about them when you Have To re-home them! And DON’T make excuses why its a good choice to make yourself feel better about your selfish choice that will definitely not benefit that beautiful soul that served you so well. Signed Mickey Saathoff Founder Caring Hearts for Horses, Golden Valley Az

      1. No you are not misreading, that is exactly what this post is about. Doing what needs to be done and not giving a horse away to an unknown fate. The majority of people can’t afford to pay for your amazing heavenly retirement home so then what do they do? I’ll copy/paste the quote here again, it flat out states in the original post “If you cannot love and care for your old horse, GIVE that horse decency, kindness and consideration, and let your home be the last known.” it’s not a riddle. it’s pretty clear what she means here. its just worded less blatantly than I repeated it back and that scares you and me and everyone else faced with this REAL dilemma when horses are in our lives and life or circumstances change and choices need to be made that everyone is afraid to talk about bluntly. This post IMHO was not a plea to all you wonderful and lucky people that have the means and/or property that are able and/or financially capable of giving their horses a lifetime home, it was meant to be a reality check for those that THINK they are doing the right thing finding a ‘good home’ and unknown future for their horse that your home should be the last… i would love for the original poster to clarify if otherwise….

      2. right. We were saying it is perfectly acceptable and even the right thing to do to put your older horse to sleep in the place where he has been so loved

  23. Thank you for rescuing this poor mare. It is a horrible thought to think what this horse has been though. I just purchased my first horse after 30 year and had to think long and hard because I concider a horse a lifetime purchase. Very similar to a house. I think of the novel Black Beauty. Poor black beauty went from a loving owner to a life of misery luckily back to his first loving owner. How lucky was black beauty to have a happy ending? In real life there are very few happy endings for these gentle giants who dedicated their lives to ungreatful humans that threw them away like unwanted trash. Our horse is only 7 and hopefully has many years of happiness to give to us. I plan on caring for our boy until the end of his life. If we fall upon hard times we have friends that have farms that can step in and help out. Shame on the heartless person that staved this poor old mare. Take care of her and thank you.

  24. To many people fail to realize that the final act of kindness and care that you can give your loved companion is a humane death. To many people do not love there animals like they say they do otherwise they would think about them instead of there own feelings.

  25. This made me weep, I am 83 years of age and there is no way my 22′ 28′ and 30 year old ponies will go anywhere else. I bred them all and as long as I can look after them they will stay here with me. They are well and happy and are a reason for living . When I am gone I have left instruction for them to be put to sleep a kind end not to be passed around they are my fur babies.

  26. I hope that she got the loving home she deserved and she gets the love she needs and instead of being stuck in mud with no food that she can ever eat thank you for sharing this story unfortunately their are too many of these stories that are never told and most of the time it is too late

  27. How is she now?

    I got this message at facebook but I saw the topic is from 2017.

    Lots of love from the Netherlands

  28. I bought a 19-year-old retired race horse today – on line. Looked her up. Watched her races. Her owner – who also bred her – died, and the family sent his stock off to the kill pen/auction house. She was going to be shipped any day. Her eyes were so trusting. She still thought highly of herself, and the people around her. I just couldn’t stand that look of kindness, confidence and trust being betrayed by a shipment to a Mexican slaughter house.

  29. My old horse is 28, and has shared the last 24 years with me. He is a field companion nowadays, in good health and very much loved. He won’t be going anywhere else. It is kinder to put your old horse down than to pass it on if your circumstances change.

  30. I am amazed that senior horses are not the most in demand horses. I learned to ride on a 23 year old cow horse that was going blind. He was wonderful, he still loved to herd cows. He stood quietly when he needed to. He was impossible to spook. His favourite thing was to eat. Honestly just the perfect horse for a beginner rider or a kid. There is also the dynamic that a senior horse brings to a herd on pasture. If you ever get the chance to watch a bunch of horses interacting. The old one is the boss, the rest will follow and learn proper horse etiquette. This helps with training and catching any horse that is sharing pasture with a well trained senior horse.

  31. Bless you and all the people who take care of abused and neglected horses. I have a 36 yr old gelding that was my daughters first horse. I will have him and take care of him for the rest of his life. He is family to us.

  32. No animal deserves this. And especially old horses. You purchased this horse, you rode many times on her…. she deserves your love and care to the end.

  33. My old boy is 31 and will be here til he dies my last horse was 37 only pts because of his arthritis couldn’t get up when he lay down . We had to get the local farmer to come lift him with straps he would get up and the toddle off as if nothing had happened what a boy or should say what an angel ❤️

  34. This is why I never let any of mine go, no matter how good someone seams. I rescued one from the farm next door 10 years ago. He has one eye and atharitis/ laminitis but he’s still going strong. I know it not always possible to look after your horse if hard times come, but it’s still our responsibility to make sure they are either PTS or cared for properly

  35. No matter how many times I hear these stories..Horses, Dogs, Cats…the list goes on and on, I never get over the heart wrenching pain I feel for this animals. They give their humans unconditional love..we are their world, their pack, their herd…how can anybody do this to an animal ? I give you 5 gold stars and a million thanks and kudos for what you do. May the Universe shower you with all of its Blessings for what you do. Namaste <3

  36. I understand this. We rescued and saved him from a slaughter. He now has his forever home. Thanks to all the ones that do rescue.

  37. My life long passion was and will forever be horses. I basically have no words for this poor horse. Please give her a chance and the love she desperately needs and deserves. I’m glad she was rescued. Thank you for

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