She's our douchebitch of the day for giving away her twenty-eight year old gelding free on Craigslist. That's eighty in human years. She's owned him for years and years. This old guy packed her ass around the country, doing tricks and parades and hunting trips, etc. And what's his reward for years of service? Getting dumped on the internet for any idiot or kill buyer to take. This lady's excuse is that she doesn't have the money to take care of him any more.
You can see the original ad here, but in case it's gone by the time you read this post, here's a screenshot. Click it to enlarge:
Hey, I get it. The job market is rough, the economy is down, horses are expensive and she probably lost a lot in the divorce, etc etc. But you know what? Euthanasia only costs a few hundred dollars.
If you "can't" come up with a few Bennies to give a peaceful end to your senior citizen horse, who has given you years of service, you'd better be fucking homeless. Nothing, and I do mean nothing pisses me off like someone who has a nice cell phone, blond highlights and a credit card claiming that their "only" option is to abandon their old horse to the highest bidder or first comer. I hope that when people like this become old, they are shoved into the wilderness by their families and left to starve to death. "Sorry grandma, we just can't afford to keep your ass around anymore. Thanks for the memories!"
Some people whine, "Oh, but putting an animal down is soooooooo hard!" Yes, yes it is. I've done it, and cried for days. It hurts. It sucks. But you don't get to adopt a horse or a dog or even a fucking hamster and say to yourself, "I'm only going to be around for the good parts!" No. When you accept responsibility for another life, you accept responsibility for all of it. Not just the happy fun parts, but the sick days, the getting-old stuff and even the dying parts. If you're not prepared for that, don't get an animal. Period.
Other people whine, "But euthanasia and disposal are soooooooooo expensive!" Yup. And yet you bought the horse, and presumably spend lots of money on feed and tack and care. So what's changed? Oh, that's right, you don't get anything out of this deal. When you were spending money before, you got to ride your horsey and show off and take pretty pictures, yay! But euthanasia only benefits the horse by giving it a peaceful end. That's no fun for you. Cry me a fucking river, then drown yourself in it you selfish bitch. If you can budget for board or hay or sparkly pink tack, you can damn well set aside some money for death, the only thing on this planet that's totally inevitable, unsurprising and easily planned-for.
Oh but wait, he's twenty-eight, he might still have a few good years left in him! Uh huh. Do you know of any 80 year old people that would like to be suddenly uprooted from their familiar surroundings, taken away from everyone they know, and delivered into the hands of a total stranger? I don't care if the new caretaker is Mother Theresa herself, that's not okay. And chances are, the new owner/caretaker won't be saintly. Newsflash: putting an old horse on the internet for free is like shoving a pretty sixteen-year-old girl into a country bar in West Virginia. There's about a 0.01% chance they're going to go home with someone of quality.
I got so pissed off by this that I took a deep, deep breath and did two things I normally never do:
1) I contacted this lady personally.
2) I begged.
Here's the email I sent her:
Hello, I saw your ad on Craigslist about your older gelding. I am hoping to persuade you to do the best thing for your wonderful old horse.
He's clearly a talented, handsome guy who has given you many years of work and companionship. At twenty eight, he's 80 years old in human years. He deserves a peaceful end, in a familiar place, with the people and animals he knows.
Please don't give him away to a stranger on the internet. He could easily wind up in the hands of an abuser, a slaughter-buyer or simply someone who doesn't know how to properly care for any horse, much less an aging horse. This DOES happen OFTEN. Only last year, a man in West Virginia was found guilty of torturing to death 29 dogs he'd gotten for free from Craigslist. You can read the article here. Over several years, Kelsey Lefever of Pennsylvania took in 120 horses that she'd promised to find good homes for, and instead sent them to slaughter, pocketing the money. You can read that article here. In both cases, these people totally fooled owners into thinking they were good people who would provide good homes.
Euthanasia is a quick, painless, peaceful end. It may be hard for you to deal with, but it's the right thing to do for your horse.
I know that when I am 80, I want to die peaceful with my family around me, not in a strange place with strange people.
Euthanasia costs about $200. If your horse has given you at least $200 worth of work, entertainment and love, it's worth it, isn't it? A vet may even give you a discount if you explain your financial circumstances. Even a cheap bullet to the head would be a better end. If you absolutely don't have the courage or the money to euthanize your old friend, there are other options. A humane society like or a horse rescue like Midwest Horse Welfare or Saint Francis Horse Rescue and Retirement may take him in. A therapeutic riding program might accept him. If you have no other option than dumping your gelding on Craigslist, at the very very least, you could charge a small adoption fee and ask for vet references from a potential adopter. You can also look them up on Google and CCAP to try to find out if they are a decent person or not.
Please don't give your old horse away free on the internet.