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Friends at the end

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

  • Last reviewed: 22nd May 2024
Horse And Rider In Countryside Shutterstock 11585581 Horse And Rider In Countryside Shutterstock 11585581

We offer free, confidential support to horse owners, carers, sharers, and loaners before, during and after the death or loss of a horse, for example, a loan horse returning back to their owner. The BHS Friends at the End team can be contacted by phone or email, and you’ll receive support from trained BHS staff or volunteers. 



Gemma Zaremba MRCVS, explains the benefits of ‘Friends at the End’.

How can we support you?

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 or carer’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’re 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’re also able to report these incidents to our Safety Team so we can continue to lobby to protect horses and riders. 

Considering euthanasia

If you have worries or concerns about the what, where and how surrounding euthanasia, or are unsure whether it’s the right decision for your horse — we can help. Conversations can be held via email, phone, or face-to-face (location dependent), whatever you prefer.  

More than 80 volunteer ‘BHS Friends’, are trained to support horse owners and carers through the difficult process of saying goodbye, and are on hand to talk you through the options available. Depending on the circumstances, it doesn’t always have to end in euthanasia, and if there are other choices that will positively improve the horse’s quality of life, they will help to find them. We always encourage horse owners and carers to work closely with their vet to help with the decision-making process.

If the best decision for your horse is for them to be put to sleep, BHS Friends will discuss the choices with you, 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 

The day of saying goodbye

This is quite often the most traumatic part, so we want to make sure you 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 your horse if you don’t feel able to. All BHS Friends love horses and empathise with what you’re 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 dependent) 
  • Holding your horse while they are euthanised 
  • A cup of tea and a chat afterwards 

After your horse has gone

We want you to feel able to contact us for support, no matter how much time has passed after the loss of your horse.  

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 – 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.