What to Do With a Dead Horse: A Strategic Guide

Last Updated on February 23, 2022 by Allison Price

After the cause of death has been determined, your veterinarian can arrange for the horse’s disposal. It is possible to either bury the horse’s body, dispose of it in a landfill or have it cremated.

Horses are a trusted companion and an integral part of many families. What do you do if your horse passes away? This is why we are here. We will show you how to dispose of your horse’s body in the most efficient way.

There are many ways to dispose of a horse that is dead.

Horses can be wonderful, but there are also some unpleasant realities. My friend lost a promising young colt to complications of pneumonia. This left him and his family devastated.

Horse death is inevitable. This was the first time I can remember seeing my grandfather in the pasture looking down at his buckskin, which lay still on the ground.

My grandfather loved the old buckskin, having raised him as a colt. I was sad to hear about his death, but Grandpa didn’t want us to spend too much time grieving because we had to get rid of his body before it got worse.


We didn’t need to worry about regulations when the buckskin passed away. We connected him to a tractor, and then we took it deep into the woods. There, we dug a large hole for our friend.

Because of laws that limit where animals can be buried, it is no longer possible to bury a horse anywhere. These regulations not only add to the complexity of burying horses, but they also prevent contamination and disease from spreading to our environment.

Some areas prohibit you from placing your horse too close or near water sources. Another area doesn’t allow any chemically euthanized animals to go. Because of these restrictions, it is important to be familiar with your local laws before you bury a horse.

How to bury horses – What you need

  • Find out the laws relating to animal burials in your locality by contacting the state agricultural department or local authorities. You can also check their website under “Animal Ordinances.”
  • Select a location: Careful selection of a place to bury your horse is important. It is best to choose high ground. Also, make sure there are no gas lines, water pipes or other underground hazards in the area. You can choose to move your pasture.
  • Digging a hole: In order to bury a horse the hole must be deep enough for at least six feet and seven feet square. This task can be done by hiring someone or renting a backhoe. To move the horse’s remains into a grave, a backhoe can also be used.
  • Last steps: Use your backhoe and other mementos to move your horse into its grave. After this, you can fill the hole. Take a moment to be with your horse and say good-bye one more time. Horse owners know this is not an easy task. Take as much time as necessary to say good-bye.


I have never taken a dead horse to the dump before so I called our local one. They were very happy to accept them. You don’t need special permits or anything similar.

Loading the animal to be disposed of in a landfill is the biggest problem. To load your horse, it would be a good idea to have a backhoe. Operators will help you unload your horse once you have reached the dumpsite.

Before you load your animal’s body or drive there, I recommend that you call your local landfill. They may have different rules for each county/parish.


I have never had to bury a horse. This led me to research. I called LovedPets in Royal Oaks (California) and spoke with James.

He gave a lot of useful information, such as $1,250 for standard horses and $850 for ponies. Drafts or warmbloods are slightly more expensive at $1,500-1.600.

LovedPets will treat your loved ones with respect and dignity from the moment they arrive at their facility. They will never make a horse go to the grave before cremation.

They allow owners and their friends to be there during the difficult time. They provide all the necessary urns and photos for cremation.

LSU may have cremated horses, but I have not been able to verify it. Unfortunately, there is no local company offering cremation services like LovedPets. If you are interested in having your horse cremated but don’t reside in California, check out LovedPets online or call your veterinarian!

Alternative horse disposal methods.

  • rendering – This “cooks down” an animal into products such as bone meal that can be used to make animal feed or supplements.
  • Composting It can take as long as 10 months to compost a horse. However, there are some advantages to doing this: the horse’s carcass can be turned into rich soil that can then be used for fertilizer in gardens.
  • Biodigesters – A biodigester, an innovative machine that converts animal carcasses into harmless and sterile byproducts which can be used to fertilize the soil, is called .

How do you comfort a dying horse?

Horse owners have the responsibility to make decisions regarding their horse’s well-being and health. These decisions can be quite simple, such as what kind of hay we should choose and how long we will spend training.

Owning a horse can also mean making difficult decisions about geriatric care and end-of life care. Each person’s approach to it will be different. The right choice may not work for you. Although there is no one way that will work for every situation, these are some tips I hope you find useful.

What to Do With a Dead Horse
  • Do something extra: Give your horse extra attention. You can groom, pet, or give them treats that they enjoy. Be careful not to give your horse anything that could cause a disturbance in their digestive system.
  • Get your horse out. If your horse can still be moved, take it for a walk or a special ride.
  • Be there: Horses have a strong bond with their owners. Therefore, it is important to spend quality time with your horse in his final days.
  • Keep calm: Horses can become confused when they are in bad health. You should be patient and calm. Animals can sense when you are upset and will be more distressed.

Although your horse may be near the end of its life, it doesn’t necessarily have to go without pain. Your veterinarian can recommend medication to your horse so that they don’t suffer. They might also suggest ways you can comfort them or offer euthanasia as an option.

How do you decide whether to kill an animal?

You might consider putting your sick horse down. Before you decide to put your horse down, there are some things you should know:

  1. How long has your horse been sick? It might be time for your horse to go if he is getting old and has been sick for a while.
  2. Is your horse enjoying life? Does your horse seem happy, even if they don’t get to experience the same things they used because of an injury or illness?
  3. Do I really want my horse to suffer more than necessary? Doing what is best for your horse should be your first priority. If they are in pain or showing signs of death, then it may be time to put them down.


Horses know when one is dead because of their social network. Horses are herd animals, and they form strong bonds with their fellow horses. Horses often display signs of distress or worry when someone is hurt, sick or dies. It’s not possible to know if they mourn the loss of another.

What is the theory of the dead horse?

Based on a Native American proverb, the dead horse theory states that when you realize your horse is not going anywhere, it is time to move on. We have to be flexible in the face of change.

Are horses able to tell when another horse is dead?

Horses form strong bonds with their herdmates and are considered herd animals. Horses often display signs of distress or worry when their group members are hurt, sick or die. It is not clear if they mourn the loss of another horse, but I believe that horses can sense when one has passed.

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!