I heard on the radio that 40% of Americans don’t have a will or other end-of-life legal instrument. As the reporter mentioned, it’s hardly surprising since it’s not easy to think about the end of our life. Yet when we have equines, and especially from my perspective when we have Fell Ponies who are so aware of their human keepers, having an end-of-our-life plan for our equines seems important. In the North American Fell Pony community, we don’t have to look very far to find owners who passed suddenly and unexpectedly and their herds had to be dispersed.
I heard recently of an equine owner who had the resources to set aside more than six figures for the care of their equines after the owner passed. Of course most of us don’t have those sorts of resources, so an article on end-of-life planning for horse owners caught my eye. (1) It pointed out things that certainly apply to me such as not having family members who are into equines so won’t have a clue about rehoming them in the event I pass if one of them is the executor of my estate. The article also pointed out that the value of tack and equipment likewise could be misunderstood. I immediately thought of my Norwegian harness that not even many equestrians would understand the value of.
I know some pony owners have thought about an end-of-their-life plan for their hooved friends because they’ve contacted me asking if they could put me in their wills. I said yes, but I’m no spring chicken myself. I can’t help but wonder if there’s a role here for rescues. I’ve heard of two that want to focus on Fell Ponies. Is it possible they could provide a re-homing service in exchange for a regular donation to fund their work? The demographics of equine ownership – majority older – suggests there are lots of people who might be interested in a reasonably priced plan for some end-of-life peace of mind.
- Larson, Erica. “Estate Planning Tips for Horse Owners,” thehorse.com, article #37825 at http://www.thehorse.com/articles/37825/estate-planning-tips-for-horse-owners?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=welfare-industry&utm_campaign=07-14-2016
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2016
For more thoughtful articles about equine ownership, you’ll be interested in the books The Partnered Pony: What’s Possible, Practical and Powerful with Small Equines and What an Honor: A Dozen Years with Fell Ponies, both available internationally on amazon.com and by clicking on the titles.