With the loss of a beloved horse comes the urge to somehow memorialize that equine. My husband, Chuck, thought of planting flowers or possibly a tree on Monte’s grave. Not so hot an idea. Rabbits, deer, sheep or the other horses would eat anything planted there rather quickly.
Certainly a stone set in the ground would work or a plaque on a nearby fence post. But there are options that can not only memorialize your horse but also do some good in the equine world.
I suggest owners consider looking into making a donation in memory of their horse. This gives you many, many options. If your horse was a retired racehorse, there are many charities that either house or rehome these Thoroughbreds. An example is Second Stride. There are many others, so simply search and find one nearby or that fits your philosophy. Always research to find out exactly how your donation dollars will be spent.
One of our Horse Journal product-trial facilities is Squirrelwood Equine Sanctuary. They, too, rescue horses and rehabilitate them.
Don’t despair if your beloved horse was a backyard special. There are many horse rescue groups that would love some donation cash and would make good use of it. For rescue donations I suggest staying fairly local and checking out the facility yourself. Your local animal shelter may need some assistance for horse supplies.
Health care and research are wonderful areas to remember your horse through. Morris Animal Foundation supports research specifically to help horses (along with plenty of other animals). You can donate to a general fund or chose a project that is close to your heart.
Since Monte was an Arabian, a donation to the Arabian Horse Foundation Programs is an option for us. We could specify youth, education, disaster relief or health research. Many breed clubs have health foundations.
Monte was also a polo pony for Chuck. Got some laughs the first time he cantered out onto the field, but he made fans with his skill. We might make a donation to the Cornell Polo program in his honor.
Don’t forget your closest veterinary college. Most colleges can use donations for specific research or to funds to help pay veterinary costs for horses in need. You could even set up a scholarship for a veterinary student with equine interests.
If your horse, or you, had a special interest in youth, don’t forget your local 4-H and FFA groups. These groups are often short on money for projects. Sponsoring a clinic with a great trainer to help these kids and their horses would be a wonderful way to remember your departed horse.
Besides cash donations, consider a donation of your time or space. Volunteering, even if it is just grooming or doing stalls once a month, could be a huge benefit to a local rescue group with overworked staff. Offer to man a booth at a local fair to drum up interest in the rescue group.
If you now have an empty stall that you don’t want to fill with a horse of your own right now, consider fostering a rescue horse. The horse would benefit from extra TLC and it might help to fill that big hole in your heart.
The loss of your horse has deeply wounded your heart. By doing some good, you will feel better and your horse will live on in the good deeds done in his memory.