Practical matters versus sentiment. Or should I say, sentimentality.
The “problem” of what to do with the very large remains of our equine partners once they have crossed the Rainbow Bridge into ever-green pastures of clover is a very compelling one.
Rent a backhoe and bury the horse on site or in your back yard?
Try not to think about it and let the vet take care of the problem?
What are the options?
In the hunt country even in the recent past, it was tradition to feed the carcasses of hunt horses to the hounds they followed in life. Now before you get up in arms over this seemingly gruesome practice, think about it from a more holistic, less sentimental point of view. Horse people are by necessity very practical, even if we go home and cry about it later.
Those trusty hunt horses lived like warriors, carrying their riders safely day in and day out across all kinds of terrain, following hounds who work hard, and need a high-protein diet. What better tribute to both horse and hound than to complete the so-called “circle of life” and reward good hounds with the meat of a deceased horse?
I suppose the primary turn-offs would be that:
a) it’s hard to view your beloved horse as a commodity like meat.
b) it’s equally difficult to let go of the physical form of the horse, leaving nothing to hold on to in memory.
Even worse, perhaps, is imagining the act of your beloved horse being (euuuughhh!) eaten by a pack of hungry hounds.
An alternative has been proposed in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service is hosting a Field Day on large animal carcass composting Oct.14 at the Haskell County Fair Barn in Stigler. Research into this safe, economical alternative for livestock carcass disposal was funded by an Extension Team Initiative Program grant.
Somehow I can’t see plopping My Friend Flicka in with the turnip peels to use as fertilizer for next year’s vegetable garden, either.
At first I thought this initiative was intended for livestock—cattle, pigs, and the like. Animals we aren’t supposed to get attached to, much less spend much of each day with. But its inclusion in The News at The Horse.com indicates that there is at least a passing interest in applying this technology to horses.
I don’t know what I will do when the time comes for Maira. What will you do, and why?
Enjoy what you’re reading?
Vote for Enlightened Horsemanship at The Blog Village Top 100. Thanks so much!