For a variety of reasons, there comes a time in many horse owners’ lives in which they are no longer able, physically, or financially to provide care for their horse. Sometimes the horse is very much wanted, but an owner’s circumstances do not allow them to keep their beloved horse. It is important to note, that not all horses at-risk or in transition have suffered from neglect and abuse. Owners may become ill, or have a change in their financial capability to care for a horse. A rider may outgrown their horse both in size and skill, and in turn a horse may also be better suited for a career change depending on age, temperament, and soundness. It is incredibly common for various reasons for a horse to change hands frequently throughout their life.
*If you find yourself in a situation, in which you want to keep your horse, but need temporary assistance until you can get back on your feet physically or financially, there are various safety net programs available to help. Please visit UHC Safety Net Programs and Resources for more information.
Horse owners should feel a moral obligation to make sure their horse in transition ends up receiving proper care and treatment. Legally, as a seller, you must share anything important you know about the horse’s behavior and physical condition. If the horse is healthy and of a reasonable age, it is always best to find a suitable new vocation, owner, or home, rather than have to euthanize the horse. On the other hand, if the horse is old and not in good health, or suffering, then the most humane decision may indeed be euthanasia – this is a decision between you and your veterinarian.
In most cases, there are 4 options available to owners: sale, donation/gift, surrendering to a rescue/sanctuary, or euthanasia. The options available to you may be based on the health, soundness, age, training level, and temperament of your horse. Some options have strict criteria for qualification; not every horse is suitable for every job. Fore more information visit our Resources for Owners section.