Running With The Great Heard In The Sky.

What do you do when your horse decides he's ready to ride with the great heard in the sky?


Horse Mortality

This is an event that no one wants to deal with but can take you by surprise when you don't expect it. Sad though it may be, it’s all a part of life. But to avoid mixing heartache along with indecisiveness and confusion, it a good idea to prepare, not only emotionally, but financially for your horse’s long ride home.

Most horse owner obtains equine insurance. (which takes care of you, and anyone else involved in an accident and depending on your plan may cover or assist with mortality). But, in an emergency situation where you might have to put your horse down...Having your contacts available and a plan of what to do when your horse dies is imperative. If your stabling your horse at someone else's barn, they will most likely need the horse removed within 24 hours.   Horses know when their pasture mates have passed on, and to keep morale up, the horse should be removed as promptly as possible. Or at least moved to an area away from other horses.

The Network List

Who do you have on your network list? Enquiring minds want to know?!  Your "network list" is your list of easily accessible contacts and or that you have on hand at the barn. At my stall (labeled on the front of my horse gate) I keep a laminated sheet that lists my horse's name/my name/ phone number and phone number of my vet. Yet in my tack box, I keep my network list. Which has some of the same, but also additional information listed below.

  • Horse's name & Age
  • Vet Name & phone number
  • Farrier name & Phone number
  • My name (owner) and contact number & Back up contact (If I can't be reached.
  • The kind of hay my horse eats and or grain
  • Chiropractor name & phone
  • Barn Owner name & Phone number
  • After care & transport services
  • I keep this information laminated as well.


What do you do after a horse is deceased? 

Depending on the situation, my first inclination would be to call my vet. Calling them out for a barn visit is discretionary. Yet, I would think that in a situation such as this, what I would be looking for a level head and clear direction.  A vet, more than likely dealt with these situations and can offer solutions. As well as give any preliminary if not definitive reasons for the death.

Next, you would arrange for after care disposal and transport. There are a few choices that are available to you, and the costs can vary. You can bury, compost, render or cremate. (Check your local area for nearby services) It would be your decision what you feel is best, but you have options. Letting go of your animal will be hard. You will want to choose a human way to do so. Start by conducting research and putting some money away for the day.

The takeaway here is to start you thinking and to be prepared. If you have your plan and contacts in place, you will know what to do should the worst happen.



Additional Reading:

Cornell Waste Management Institute :


Bay Area Removal and transport companies: