Skip to content
back to home

Friends at the end

‘Friends at the End’ is a BHS initiative created to make sure that no horse owner has to face the loss of their equine companion alone. 

  • Last reviewed: 11th July 2022
Horse And Rider In Countryside Shutterstock 11585581 Horse And Rider In Countryside Shutterstock 11585581

We offer free, confidential support to horse owners/carers/sharers/loaners before, during and after the death or loss of a horse. We can be contacted by phone or email, and you will receive support from trained BHS staff or volunteers. 

Before

If you have worries or concerns about the whats, wheres and hows surrounding euthanasia, or are unsure whether it is the right decision for your horse — we can help. Conversations can be held via email, phone or face to face (location dependant), whatever to prefer.  

More than 70 volunteer ‘BHS Friends’ have attended training that will help them to support horse owners through the difficult process of saying goodbye. The BHS Friends at the End team can talk to owners about the options available. It doesn’t have to end in euthanasia and if there are other choices, they will help find them. 

If a horse does need to be put to sleep (for whatever reason), BHS Friends will discuss the choices with owners, from the method of euthanasia to what to do afterwards.  

We can chat about: 

  • Your horse’s current health/behaviour concerns 
  • Worries you may have 
  • Euthanasia and disposal options 
  • How to organise euthanasia and/or disposal 
  • How we can offer you emotional support 

During

This is quite often the most traumatic part, so we want to make sure owners feel supported throughout this process.  

Many of our BHS Friends are willing to be there on the day to offer support, and some will even hold the horse if the owner doesn’t feel able. All BHS Friends are Welfare Advisers who love horses and empathise with what the owner is going through. It might help to know that if you don’t feel able to be there for your horse’s final moments, there is a horse lover willing to be with them. 

We offer: 

  • Email and phone support on the day 
  • BHS staff or volunteer to be with you physically on the day (location dependant) 
  • Holding your horse whilst they are euthanised 
  • A cup of tea and a chat afterwards 

Afterwards

We want owners to be able to contact us for support, no matter how much time has passed after the loss of their horse.  

All our Friends at the End team have received training from bereavement counsellors, so they have a genuine understanding of the loss and grief that come when a horse passes. They aren’t there to take the place of a counsellor or vet, but they can offer an extra source of support. At the hardest time in a horse owner’s journey, our Friends are available to make it as smooth and straightforward as possible 

Get in touch if you want: 

  • Confidential emotional support 
  • To talk to trained people 

Not everyone may want to talk about their emotions, so we tailor this service to each individual. As well as emotional support, we can also offer contacts and practical advice about: 

  • Euthanasia options 
  • Disposal methods (i.e. cremation, burial) 
  • Other bereavement services (i.e. for children) 

We are also here to support you through bereavement, if you have suddenly lost your horse in an incident. This might have been a dog, firework, or road-related incident. You are also able to report these incidents to our Safety Team so we can continue to lobby to protect horses and riders. 

Get in touch – we’re here to help

If you feel that you might benefit from talking to someone through the Friends at the End scheme, the BHS Horse Care and Welfare Team are available to offer you advice and support with any questions or concerns you may have.  

Don’t hesitate to call us on 02476 840517* or email welfare@bhs.org.uk – You can also get in touch with us via our social media channels.  

Opening times are 8:35am-5pm from Monday – Thursday and 8:35am-3pm on Friday.  

*Calls may be recorded for monitoring purposes.

Further information

Equine End of Life Service

Equine End of Life Service (EEoLS) is a service specifically for horse owners, who want to find a collector offering reliable and respectful euthanasia and collection options. 

The site provides a postcode search, so you can see what service is provided in your area and how much it will cost. The costs are transparent, and all the collectors work alongside values of the EEoLS, including treating the body with dignity and providing a service that is respectful and compassionate until the end.