A Dignified Goodbye

Nobody wants to think about the end of their horse’s life. Your horse has been your best friend and trusted partner, and you will never be ready to say goodbye. Yet, ultimately, we all know the day will come when you have to make the difficult choice to let them go. However well-prepared you are for this eventuality, the grief is still overwhelming, and those of us who have lost a horse can tell you that, whilst it gets easier with time, you will never stop missing them.

Unfortunately, unlike with other smaller pets, the death of a horse is not only an emotional trauma, but also a practical challenge. The logistics of managing such an enormous animal after death can lead to many owners feeling that their horse’s death wasn’t handled with the dignity that it deserved. Thankfully things are changing in the equine world, and more and more attention is being focussed on dignified ways to say goodbye. This cannot come soon enough for those of us who have lost horses and have been further traumatised by the treatment of their bodies in the aftermath.

Horse cremation is now a viable option here in South Africa, yet many owners and equine vets are unaware of this. Legacy Pet Crematorium has been offering an equine cremation option for the past few years, and they provide a service that is unrivalled in its professionalism. They are the only fully-certified and fully-dedicated pet crematorium in South Africa and have been in operation for twenty-two years. Unlike other crematoriums, they can perform whole-horse cremations, meaning you can rest assured that your horse’s body is treated respectfully.

On the day of your horse’s death, or leading up to this fateful event, you or your vet can simply contact their offices to arrange for your horse’s body to be collected from your stables, or whichever venue is preferred in Gauteng. You no longer need to consider how you will get a sore or damaged horse to the vet to be put down – your horse can be euthanised by your vet in your horse’s home surroundings and then collected on site. In addition, Legacy provides a specialised fully-enclosed vehicle, which is twice the length of the standard horsebox, for the transport of your horse’s body to the location of their cremation facilities in Kya Sands. They do not contract any third parties because they want to guarantee the gentle and dignified treatment of your companion. In this respect, they provide sufficient staff members to handle the movement of the body themselves, so that owners and stable staff do not have to be involved and witness the removal.

Once collection has taken place, you have two options. You can either opt for a shared cremation (your horse will still remain whole, as the facilities can accommodate this, though no ashes will be returned), or you can choose an individual cremation. The latter guarantees that, within a week of the collection of your horse’s body, you will be presented with your horse’s ashes in a mahogany casket, along with a brass clip and inscription of your horse’s name. With both options, the service is professional, respectful of the owner’s feelings and provides a dignified end for those animals that have given us so much. Nothing can take away the pain of losing your best friend, but at least with this new approach, you can feel that you treated your horse with as much respect in death as you did in life.

Your options? There are many personal choices to be made about the end of your horse’s life. Horse meat can be fed to other animals, but only provided the horse had not been dosed with certain drugs prior to death. Burial is a tricky option, both legally and practically, due to contamination of water source issues and land legalities. The decision ultimately comes down to personal preference, beliefs and circumstances.

We all hope that our horses will be with us forever, but it is important to ensure that you know what you will do when the day eventually arrives and you have to let your companion go. To have to consider your options whilst also saying goodbye, is almost impossible and can leave you with regrets after the event. Ensuring that you are prepared in advance and know what you wish to do with your horse at the end of his/her life, will remove huge stress from you on the day, and allow you to focus on your horse and the grieving process.

To learn more about the option of equine cremation, visit the "Legacy Pet Crematorium" website link below, and give us a call.