This is something that I have been thinking about writing for a while, however Covid-19 has brought a harsh reality, that we are not indestructible.
Although a subject most people wish to avoid, it is something that we should all consider within the responsibility of animal ownership. I have been pushing for more animal owners, particularly equestrians to write a care plan or write details within their will that confirms, if the worst happened, what their wishes would be with their animals. This isn’t for any reason other to ensure, they know what would happen and no unnecessary stress is placed on family at a time which is already stressful.
With dogs it’s a little simpler, it generally would be in your will or within a letter pre written, who would take on the care of your dog. Who would be financially responsible and how you would like your dog to continue their years, as well as what happens when the dog itself passes. Some choose for the animal to then be buried with them, or ashes scattered in their favourite walking place.
With horses, it is generally more complex, both logistically and financially. Horse riding being a naturally high-risk sport gives even more reason to have provisions in place, however, the current situation surrounding Covid-19 puts many of us and therefore our horses at greater risk.
Talking about this is a daunting enough process, but the more it is talked about, the more can be done to ensure people are covered. I for one, can sleep easier at night now its done and all parties know my wishes. I know I have taken potential strain from family, friends, the yard owner and my partner. I am assured also my horses will never suffer or ever have to be left in a limbo situation.
Although I am in a fortunate position that my horses are all in my name, and I trust implicitly my partner and family to follow my wishes, I have only had to write a letter of intent. However I am aware legally, this would not stand in court. Despite this, there are a large number of businesses offering will writing which is legally binding for around £40 – That’s not even a set of shoes in horse money!
BHS do have a free legal helpline which I am sure would help with any queries.
This is not meant for morbid reading, but I truly believe as an industry, we are responsible, especially in times like these to make informed choices, and take control of our animals futures should we not be here.
ELC Animal Therapy