Equestrian Last Wishes

Equestrian Last Wishes

I can be a pretty morbid person.  It’s not that I think I’m necessarily going to die tomorrow, but let’s be honest – I could die tomorrow.  We all could.  For me specifically, I’m most likely to get smushed by a Land Rover outside my office… which is located in a luxury shopping center.

Photo by Heather N. Photography
Photo by Heather N. Photography

If this blog goes quiet, it’s because someone smushed me walking to my car.  Lauren died at the hands of people pursuing David Yurman and Louis Vuitton.

Anyway, in this morbid line of thought I sometimes think that I should formally get something written down about what should happen to Simon.  My husband loves me, and he even loves Simon… but I’m not so naive that I expect him to keep up with the four legged burden forever and ever.  Horses are my passion, not his.


So that leaves the question, what do I do with Simon?  If I leave it up to chance, chances are nothing bad would happen to him… but we all know that story.  Horse gets sold to nice person who sells it to okay person who sells it to whatever person who sells it to slaughter house.  Truth is, you never know 100% what will happen with your horse if you sell it and that’s when you’re still around to keep tabs on said animal.  In my morbid scenario, I’m smushed by an SUV and can’t keep an eye out for the right perspective buyer.

Photo by Heather N. Photography
Photo by Heather N. Photography

Do you leave him with the trainer for life as a school horse?  Do you ship him to a friend across the country and surprise her with the burden that is lovely but not 100% sound at all times horse?  Do you build him a trust fund?  Do you turn him out into the wilderness and say good luck pony!?!?

Clearly, there are a lot of options and at this moment I don’t have any answers.


So I’m curious readers – do you have a postmortem plan for your horse?

40 thoughts on “Equestrian Last Wishes

  1. Yes. I have a small life insurance policy, as well as a solid emergency fund, that in the event of my death would be Tristan’s trust fund. The two people who are designated on my policy (my mother and my fiancé) both understand that it’s meant for him.

    As for what we’d do with him – that’s differed at each barn, honestly. In some places he would’ve fit as a school horse. At one time, he would’ve retired to my parents’ back yard. Right now, he’d remain at my barn for a little while and then find a retirement home.

    In a few more years – I’ll be honest, there is a good chance that the instructions will be to euthanize him. It will depend on his overall health and how he’s coping with life, but in some ways it might be the kinder choice if he can’t have a person 24/7 to keep up with his medical needs.

    Either way, he will never, ever leave my family.

    (There’s a corollary question to this as well: who’s your horse emergency contact? as in, if you’re out at a show/trail ride on your own, who’s the person that the EMTs would call to take care of your horse? Who can make veterinary decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so because you’re temporarily incapacitated? I’ve been that horse for friends and listed other friends for Tristan as well. That’s less of a longterm commitment but it’s also crucial.)

    1. Ooo, picking up an extra life insurance policy is a good idea. I have one with work, but if I got a small ‘Simon’ one it would take any immediate money concerns out of the question.

      The emergency contact thing is a good idea too. I had not thought about that at all.

  2. Great question. I always review my plan with my husband and then my closest horse friends to make sure everyone understands the process. Currently, he gets offered to the BO (free of charge), then our sometime trainer (same), and if neither of them is willing/able to take him, they team up and get him sold and their expenses paid.

  3. A few months ago by BO took a horse in that they had sold 8yr ago. The owner had died and had left them Tchuey in her will. They also got first pick of the late owner’s tack, including a custom saddle for him, and everything else was to be sold. If they hadn’t wanted Tchuey she asked that they help her husband find him a new home.

  4. I am pretty lucky in that my mother rides as well. If something happens to me everyone understands that my mother is the one in charge. I have complete faith that she would make the best decisions (she’s also my emergency contact for my horses).

    It also works in reverse. If (god forbid) something happens to Mom I am the one who will take over care of her 3. We’ve discussed what she would ideally like to happen but she ultimately trusts that I will do what’s best for them.

  5. tough questions… both to think about and plan for. i don’t own, so i haven’t had to come up with answers yet, but probably should think about it before very buying…

  6. I have it easy – in the event of anything (most recently, when Nick was unemployed and I thought I would have to give up Connor, but also including death) he goes back to his breeder.

  7. My two will go to the barn owner to be school horses. If for some reason she’s unable to take them or they go lame, they’ll retire at my dad’s in Tennessee (where they’ll eat a steady diet of donuts and round bales).

    It’s better to be prepared just in case you DO get flattened by a Land Rover!

  8. When I got my first “grown up” job, I sat down and calculated out exactly how much I thought it would cost to maintain my dogs until they were both about fifteen and how much to maintain Archie until he was thirty. I made contact with a reputable retirement farm in Kentucky and inquired about getting on their waiting list, foreseeable costs, and if there was anything I was missing. I calculated for dentals, floats, vaccines, vet visits, farrier, board, food, and inflation. And then I took out a generous life insurance policy. I informed the benefactors what my intentions were, where I expected the money to go, and who would get the dogs. I also made sure that they understood that if I died while riding Archie, unless he were injured in the accident, by no means was he to be euthanized. Regardless, anything happens to me, the Kid goes into immediate and permanent retirement. Ship him to KY, pull his shoes, and keep him fat and happy for the rest of his life. Only made a few minor changes since getting married.

      1. What the heck is a captcha? Lol!

        I have discussed things with my husband and coach, and agreed that my coach would help sell Armani. My coach says she would almost 100% surely keep him as her forever horse. I’d love that. None of it is in writing though, so I need to get on that!!!

  9. I don’t think it is morbid at all! It is important to think about things like this in life. My Dad died when I was young, so my Mom was really adamant about us kids learning about wills, insurance, power of attorney, etc. etc. I had my first will when I was 18!

    I guess I’m not as attached to my horse as some of you. I figure if I’m gone, I won’t know where he ends up…maybe that is morbid???
    The hubby has 2-3 people he could call (that we trust) and they would likely find buyers for my horse and my stuff, as they see fit, giving the money back to the hubs. Even though we have our own property, I can’t imagine my hubby keeping a horse around. He would likely eventually sell the place if I wasn’t around.
    On that note – do people have their vet records/registration papers all together, in case someone neeeded them to help with the sale of the horse??? That would be a factor in my case, since my horse is registered…

  10. My aunt was going to pay for Carlos’ if I prematurely died. I didn’t even ask she told me she would and we had a contract written up, I think its because she knows I’d take in her dogs and care for them as if they were my own. Ramone would probably go to my trainer and she’d get to lay in a giant pile of money!

  11. Oh my gosh, I don’t know why this didn’t cross my mind. I’d hope my fiance and my parents would help pay my horses board. He’s retired and is a pasture pet. I better ask them to confirm. I have a small insurance policy, i’ll request they use this for my animals well being. Same for my dogs, my fiance can keep them or my parents or BO would take them. BO is the one who helped me adopt my dogs. I need to ask them all to double check!! Great reminder thanks Lauren!

  12. Husband and I have had this conversation. I have also conversed with my parents and friends. My concern is people trying to take advantage of the situation, sadly. I have told husband each horse’s worth as the avoid someone willing to “take them off his hands.” They are to go to my friend K to be sold as in trust she would so right by them. He says he would keep Hobbs and Cotton. He also knows who to call for help to take care of the horses if I get hurt. It is definitely something to be discussed on a regular basis and plans made. He also knows who is not to have any involvement with my horses.

  13. I have 5 horse fenced acres at home. Not only will this be where Sam will retire, but the DH already said he’d bring Sam home sooner if I was gone. I’m lucky to have a permanent backup plan.

  14. I have a plan – basically for my trainer to sell my horse ASAP (to good home of course!), to get rid of the monthly horse expenses for Rick. But I need to write it down and make sure my family and friends know my wishes.

  15. I think about this nearly every time I ride. I’ve mentioned to my two best blogging friends that I’d like if they would take in one or the other horse to have and love and compete or to pass along to someone better. Those conversations were long ago though and likely were forgotten or passed off as just “fun talk” kind of things…

    Need to get a better plan in writing or hammered into my mother’s head as she keeps track of everything.

  16. Wow… good to think about, but not something I’ve ever really planned for. That being said, my dear friend and I have an agreement that if something ever happened I would take her horse just like she would take my two. She’s actually taking my pony next year when I go to college since I can’t bring both with me. I probably need to write something up for my parents in the event something does happen. :O

  17. We actually have all our critters in our will. BFF gets the dog, my parents get the cats. Cash and Red would be euthanized (due to their ages), Brego would go back to his previous owner. Paddy… I’m sure I could find someone who would take him! But actually, he goes to Adopted Horse Mom.

  18. It depends on the pet. For my horse, who has now passed away, there was life insurance policy and a trust in his name. For the dogs, one, who is now also gone would be PTS if I passed since he was a difficult dog. My current dog would be taken by family and that’s in my will. If I had enough money I would send them to the care center at TAMU vet school. http://vetmed.tamu.edu/stevenson-center where they get great care and vet students live with them 24/7.

  19. Luckily – my mother would gladly take on Red and never allow anything to happen to him, but if something were to happen to the both of us, I’d definitely have him sent to a friend. It’s not something a lot of horse owners think about but it’s definitely important to know!

  20. This has been on my mind a lot lately! I have been clear that I’d like Apollo to be returned to the lady who I bought him from (with financing for his care). I can’t figure out what to do with my young horses. As soon as I figure that out we’ll be writing it into our Will. It’s a sad but smart thing to think about.

  21. This has crossed my mind, but I really have no idea what to do so I’m glad you asked because I’m learning a lot. I sadly don’t have anyone I’d trust to take care of Chrome that wouldn’t sell him and keep the money except my hubby, but I don’t know if he would want to keep him forever. If something happened to both of us… I have no idea! I would feel bad leaving the burden on my parents although I know they would take my dog. I also never thought about the emergency contact thing in case of an accident… thanks for this post!

  22. My plan involves G, so not a very good plan if he should happen to get smushed alongside me. Our good friend passed away unexpectedly a few years ago and left us his dogs (and the money to care for them) in his will. I keep meaning to do something like that.

  23. Interesting thought!
    If I died tomorrow (Probably from falling off someone’s feral bucking horse), I know that Archie and Fab would go back to G- who half owns them. Easy!
    I’m also lucky enough to have a horsey Mom. Poor Rom has a huge chance of going to slaughter if he were to be sold on, and my Mom knows this, so I think he would live out his days in the paddock behind Mom’s house getting brushed and stuffed with treats. The dogs would also go there. To be stuffed with treats. My Mom is a good treat stuffer.

  24. it’s great you’re thinking about it! a lot of people get animals or have kids and don’t make plans for “what happens if?” based on my work and some of my volunteer work, it’s one of the most important components of what we ask clients (directly or indirectly). without getting too far off topic, how many people have their own wills and estate planning sorted out? thanks for getting people to reflect on this aspect of their lives! 🙂

  25. I’ve been thinking lately that I should probably get an actual will now, especially since I’m an “adult” and also since I got married last year…

    I’ve only casually discussed what would happen to our horses with my barn friends. Most likely, I would will Maggie to one of them. Same goes if something were to happen to one of them, their horse would be willed to one of us. We’re a pretty tight knit group because of the little coop barn that we share and they’re some of my best friends, so I would absolutely trust them.

  26. I actually have a friend who also has a horse, and we have a pack that if one of us dies, the other will take the other horse on with whatever restrictions are included. I feel safer knowing that he’ll be with someone who knows me as extremely well as she does and who knows what my goals and concerns for him were when I was living.

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