As a horse owner, you know how wise and wonderful these large creatures are. Of course, you also know that one day you are going to have to say goodbye to them. That’s why, when the time comes, or even before, it’s important to know your options for your horse’s end-of-life arrangements.
When your beloved horse dies, it can all feel overwhelming. Add to that the fact that a horse is a large animal, and you will need to dispose of his or her remains in the correct way. Should you bury or cremate your horse? What other details should you be taking into consideration, like the cost of cremation? To make the best choice for you and your four-legged companion, here are a few things you should know.
What is cremation?
Cremation is basically the disposing of the body by incineration. The body is placed in an, enclosed chamber that is heated to temperatures of 2,000 degrees or more. The process takes a few hours, but eventually all that remains is ashes, tiny pieces of bone, and any inorganic materials – like a microchip for example. After, all of the remains are removed from the chamber and ground into a fine grey ash.
To find a reputable aftercare provider in your area, take a look at the member directory for the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories https://www.iaopc.com/page/why-choose-iaopcc . In addition, ask questions to make sure they are fully licensed to cremate animals and they follow the burial/cremation laws of your county.
Many horse owners choose cremation because it’s more convenient, less complicated and usually more affordable than burying your horse. Understanding your options can help you make the right decision when the time comes.
Is it legal to bury a horse?
It’s not illegal to bury your horse on your own property, but there are many laws and regulations, both state and local, that may prevent it. You’ll need to learn those that pertain to your area before you even consider this option.
You should be aware that even if you are allowed to bury your horse on your own property, there will most likely be rules around how quickly you must bury him or her after their death. There may also be regulations around how far the burial site must be from your water supply and even your house.
The truth is that there are so many laws and regulations, that navigating them after you have just lost your beloved horse can be overwhelming. This is why burying your horse requires a good deal of preparation and knowing the laws and regulations ahead of time.
How much does it cost to cremate a horse?
The final cost to cremate your horse will depend on a few factors. Because this is the case, we can only truly give you a rough idea of the average cost. The main factor is the size and weight of your horse. As you’d imagine, a smaller horse will cost less to cremate than a large horse. In the end, it will be based on the weight of the animal. Another factor is whether you need your horse to be picked up from your property and transported to the cremation facility or if you will be taking them yourself. Of course, you will save money if you transport your horse, but not everyone would choose to do this. You should only do what you are comfortable with.
In general, the cost of cremating a horse is anywhere from $250 to $1,500 or more. It’s quite a broad range. And if you are having your horse picked up, and it’s during working hours and not a weekend, you most likely won’t be asked to pay an extra charge. However, if it’s after hours, like the evening, a weekend or even a holiday, you could be charged an additional amount up to $1,000.
Does the cost to cremate a horse vary by location?
The answer is yes. Like most pet services, like veterinary care and boarding, costs vary widely by your location. For example, in Connecticut, the cost can run from $600 to $1,500, while in Mississippi it may very well cost only a third of the price.
What additional fees might I expect?
As we mentioned, the crematory may charge an additional “transfer” fee to pick up the remains from your farm, or to deliver the ashes to you. This fee can range from a few hundred dollars to over $1,000. So, to assure that there are no surprises, discuss these fees up front with your crematory.
Another additional cost that many horse owners are willing to take on, is the purchase of a unique urn or memorabilia. It’s a way to memorialize your horse in a special way, while keeping them near to you. Decorative boxes and urns allow you to display their ashes. Specialized plaques and keepsakes, as well as jewelry, keep a small portion of their remains close to your heart.
Saying goodbye to your four-legged companion is hard. If you find it weighing too heavily on you, don’t hesitate to reach out to any of the many support groups for those mourning the loss of a beloved pet. A few excellent resources are Rainbowsbridge and The Grief Recovery Method. Getting the support you need is important, and being prepared when the time comes lightens the burden.