End of Life


It is a sad truth that anyone who intends to keep their horse forever will have to face the end of its life at some stage.  Even those with a youngster, a horse on loan or one which they plan to rehome in the future should be aware of end-of-life options because illness or accidents can happen at any time and at any age.  This is a situation which most owners would prefer not to think about, but one which can be made less painful if the appropriate plans have already been put in place and you know where to go for support.

Responsible horse ownership and welfare often focus on the aspects of care in giving your horse a good life but equally important is the responsibility to make sure they have a good death when the time comes.

The latest research from Advancing Equine Scientific Excellence (AESE) showed that only 9 per cent of horses die of natural causes, which means in the other 91 per cent of cases the decision to euthanase will have to be made either electively or in an emergency.  In the case of any death, regardless of whether it is due to euthanasia or natural causes, there are matters that need to be considered and this is far easier to do in advance of any problem.

Considering your horse’s quality of life is imperative when thinking about euthanasia and whilst it is not an easy decision to make, the implications in delaying it can have a much greater impact on their welfare and on your peace of mind.

Even though your horse might be young and healthy, and even though you are sure you’ll have him for many years to come, it is still sensible to make a plan now. World Horse Welfare, the British Horse Society and the Blue Cross have a range of information and advice available to support and guide you through every step of the way in fulfilling the ultimate act of responsible ownership.

Making a Plan - Just in Case
Just in Case is the name of our suite of materials designed to help guide owners through the process, providing a valuable resource and helping hand for anyone whether you are making the difficult decision now or simply preparing for all eventualities in the distant future.

Two leaflets are available, one to give you the facts, and the other to help you make a plan long before you will need it. ‘Just in Case: The Facts’ clearly and sensitively explains all aspects of the situation, such as the options available and what to expect, how to assess quality of life, insurance and legislation issues, and whether you should be there. ‘Just in Case: Owner’s Plan’ provides a clear form which can be completed in advance. You can also use this to be certain everyone knows what choices you would make even if you can’t be contacted in an emergency.

You can download these leaflets below:

'Just in Case: The Facts'

'Just in Case: Owner's Plan'

To request copies by post please complete this form.