Options for Horse Owners

If you are in a situation where you need to re-home your horse, please review our Resources for Owners page. There are many resources available to owners (usually within specific states) to help you keep your horses at home. These “Safety Net” programs are short term options to help owners get through a period of difficulty or transition.


United Horse Coalition Handouts

Can No Longer Care For My Horse. What Options are Available?

Questions to Ask When Re-homing a Horse

Equine Euthanasia Options

Where Does a Deceased Horse Go?

Tax Implications of Charitable Contributions

Although many resources do exist, sometimes euthanasia is an option that is good for the horse, the owner, and the facilities asked to take on the horse’s care. These articles can help you decide if the time is right.  

Euthanasia: The Most Difficult Decision

Difficult though it may be to contemplate, there may come a time when, for humane or other reasons, you need to consider euthanasia for your horse. Choosing whether, or when, to end a beloved animal’s life may be the hardest decision you ever have to make regarding your horse’s welfare. However, it may be one of the most responsible and compassionate things we can do for our horses.

Read the Complete Article

Equine Euthanasia: How Do I Know it’s Time

It’s never an easy decision to make, but perhaps the most compassionate thing you can do for a horse that is extremely ill, severely injured, lame, or dangerous is to have your veterinarian induce its death quickly and humanely through euthanasia.

Read the Complete Article

Questions for current horse owners

What are my options if I can no longer take care of my horse?
Sometimes keeping a horse is no longer an option, but other options do exist:
  • Sell your horse privately
    • Second career
    • Pasture mate
  • Sell your horse at auction
  • Trade your horse for a horse more suitable for your needs
  • Lease your horse
    • Partial or full Lease
  • Donate your horse to a worthy organization
    • Therapeutic riding program
    • Mounted police units
    • College and university riding and veterinary programs
  • Retire your horse
    • Equine retirement facilities
    • On your own property
  • Have your horse humanely euthanized by a veterinarian
What are my options if my horse dies or must be humanely euthanized?
There are several commonly used methods of equine carcass disposal including burial, landfills, composting, incineration, rendering, and biodigesters.

Regulations regarding disposal vary greatly from state to state. In some locales, it is illegal to bury a chemically euthanized horse because the high levels of barbiturate make the carcass an environmental hazard. The average cost to euthanize and dispose of a horse is $385.

Not all landfills will accept horses. Landfills that do accept horses may charge between $80 and $150.

Incineration/cremation can cost between $500 and $2,000.

Rendering companies will normally pick up the remains and charge a fee ranging between $75 and $200.
Composting may be free or very inexpensive but requires space and heavy machinery capable of mixing and maintaining the pile.

Several veterinary colleges and industrial research facilities own biodigesters. The Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory estimates that a biodigester can dispose of a carcass for $0.25 per pound, as opposed to $0.75 per pound using an incinerator.