Signs Your Horse May Be Dying and What You Can Do To Help

Last Updated on February 22, 2022 by Allison Price

Knowing when it’s time for a horse to go is one of the most difficult parts of caring for or owning a horse. There are indicators that a horse may be dying. Horses live a shorter life than most other animals. A horse can live with one person for their entire life, but people will most likely own multiple horses over their lives.

Horses can live up to 30 year old, however most horses die in their 20s. Horses can die from a variety of reasons, including severe illness and accidents.

In this article, however, I will be focusing only on the reasons that accompany old ages. I will discuss behavioral and physical signs your horse might be ready to cross the rainbow bridge. What you can do to support your horse through this difficult time and the emotions that accompany it.

Table of Contents

Causes of Horse Death: Signs Your Horse May Be Dying

Senior horses could be at the end of their lives for many reasons. As with all senior horses, seniors are more susceptible to injuries and illnesses than younger horses. Horses of senior age are more susceptible to injuries and illnesses than younger horses.

Senior horses can get any number of illnesses that can quickly affect their health. Cushings, colic and laminitis are just a few of the many illnesses that can affect older horses. If they continue to be a problem, any of these conditions can cause a senior horse to become ill.

Signs Your Horse May Be Dying and What You Can Do To Help

Senior horses are more likely to sustain injuries than younger horses. Senior horses are more likely to be injured than younger horses. These seemingly minor injuries can be more dangerous for a senior horse than those of a younger horse.

These things can lead to the death of a senior horse in his last months or weeks. It is important to be aware of signs that your horse may be ready to go.

Learn How Long Can Horses Live with Cushing’s Disease?

Signs that a Horse may be dying

The reason for your horse’s unwellness will determine the signs that they will be showing.

A horse suffering from colic might stop eating. A horse who has had to deal with laminitis for a while may have trouble standing up.

These little signs can be easily identified by getting to know your horse. Spend some time with your senior horse to get to know him and his habits. What is his favorite spot in the pasture? How does he behave when he’s brought into his stall.

How does his behavior change when he is fed? And how fast does he eat? Is he responsive to other horses? Or is he more open to you seeing him? How does he react to being ridden?

Changes in your horse’s behavior are the most obvious sign that your horse is declining. Your vet may need to be consulted if you notice changes in your horse’s behavior.

What to Do If a Horse Is Dying

It is one of the most difficult aspects of owning a horse. There are many resources and services that can help you and your horse get through this difficult time.

Vet Consultation

Be in constant communication with your vet. Your horse’s individual situation is important to your vet. Also, let your vet know about any changes in your horse’s behavior. Before making any major decisions regarding your horse’s health or wellbeing, consult your vet.

Horse Hospice Signs that a Horse Is Dying

As hospice care is available for people who are close to death, there is hospice care available for horses. Horse owners may not be comfortable with the idea of their horse’s death. Hospice services are available for horses if that is the case.

These services can either be provided by the owners or hired hospice companies. Equestine hospice programs typically involve the removal of the senior horse from its group, providing it with a place to rest, as well as natural comforts like essential oils and probiotics.


Many horse owners decide to end the lives of their horses after determining that they are ready. A vet can help you make this difficult decision.

Most horse owners recognize when their horses stop eating, moving around and performing basic functions.


There are many options available to you once you’ve made the hard decision to allow your horse to go, or if your horse died naturally. You can bury your horse partner. This option is possible if you have access to a pet cemetery or live on a private farm.

Although equine burials are available, they are not in large numbers. You will need to research to find one close to you. A horse burial can be very expensive as it takes a lot of work and machinery to transport a horse after his death.

Learn about The Challenging question: When to Euthanize a Horse with Cushing’s?

Cremation Services and Other Services

Cremation is a more popular option. Many horse owners prefer to have their horses cremated rather than buried. It is easy to equine cremate, and there are many pet cremation businesses that offer equine services.

The owner can choose the type of urn that their horse will be buried in when they have equine cremation. Owners often have the option of having a portion or all of their horse’s tail made into a bracelet, or any other memento.

Sometimes, equine cremation services offer shadowboxes and photo frames as well as cremation. They will often pick up your horse once he is euthanized.

Learn about Signs of Neurological Problems in Horses


It is not easy to see your horse’s health declining. Understanding your options and the signs your horse is showing can help to navigate these difficult times.

This article should have helped you to understand the signs of a declining senior horse and what you can do. Please share this article with us and tell us about your experiences!

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!