How Much Does a Horse Cremation Cost in the US?

Updated

What will you do when your horse dies? When that dreaded day comes, you have options at your disposal for handling the remains of your horse. As you may imagine, you can find pros and cons to each disposal method. 

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Before you set your mind on horse cremation, complete a simple internet search to see if you can find it in your area. Consult with your local vet about any pet cremation centers that accept horses.

Let's begin by breaking down horse cremation cost amounts. 

Average Cost of a Horse Cremation

You can choose between a few different methods of disposing of your horse — burial (either on your own property or a pet cemetery), rendering, landfill disposal, compositing, biodigesters, or horse cremation. If you have unlimited financial resources, you can use all of these methods. If you have to work within a budget, you may have to decide among the available services in your area.

However, horse cremation ranges from $800 to $1,500. For comparison, this costs about the same as a direct cremation (cremation without a service) for humans. Small animal pet cremation costs $150 to $300.

First, consider a few factors as you determine the cost of a horse cremation. Let's break down some of the typical costs involved with the process.

Breaking Down the Cost of Horse Cremation

Depending on where you live, the availability and price of horse cremation may vary. Take a look at some of the other factors that affect horse cremation pricing. 

Weight of the horse

One horse cremation company in the Midwest breaks down the pricing in this manner:

  • Miniature horses or ponies less than 800 pounds: $800
  • Adult horses (800 pounds to 1,200 pounds): $1,100
  • Adult horses (1,200 pounds and up): $1,300

You may find other horse cremation businesses that will cremate a horse for a flat fee, while others charge per pound.

Distance from the facility

You must also pay a removal fee. Some companies include the removal fee in the cremation price if you live relatively close (25 miles or less) to the facility. If you live farther away from the cremation center, expect to pay $1.50 to $2 per mile. 

Some companies have a limit of how far they will travel, either measured by distance or hours. If you live four hours away from the facility, expect the cost of the horse cremation to increase by up to $1,000.

Witnessing the cremation

Some facilities allow families to witness the cremation. This isn’t as strange as it sounds. You won’t see the horse in the act of getting cremated, but you will witness the body right before it goes into a cremation chamber. Horse cremation takes hours. Witnesses usually only stay a few minutes before leaving to mourn in private.

Timing

You may have to pay more to transfer your horse’s remains to the crematorium after typical business hours, on weekends, or holidays. At the same time, you may not be able to avoid this additional fee because companies also charge a hazardous handling fee if the animal has been deceased for more than 24 hours.

Some companies also charge an additional fee if the company must remove a horse from a stall.

Private or communal cremation

Some large animal crematoriums can hold up to 4,000 pounds of remains. To save energy, some of these companies cremate many animals at once. Communal cremation typically costs less than private cremation. Most of the time, the owners do not get cremated remains back after the communal cremation process occurs.

Private cremation may cost more than communal cremation, but you might want to ask a few questions about the process. Some crematories can handle the entire animal at once but others cannot. If this makes you uncomfortable, you might want to choose an alternative method of disposal. 

Communal cremation is illegal for humans, but know that some crematories handle both human and animal remains. 

How Does Horse Cremation Typically Work?

Horse cremation is similar to human cremation. When your horse dies, you contact the facility, which you can contact 24 hours a day. The company will arrange a time to pick up the remains, whether at the vet, your barn, or a stable.

Once the horse has been transferred to the cremation facility, the staff will prepare the horse for cremation. If requested, they may take a clay hoofprint of the horse or remove the tail. The hair from your horse’s tail can be made into a variety of keepsakes.

Next, the crematorium will process your horse's cremated remains until they look like coarse sand. The cremains may go into an urn or a temporary container before you receive them. Some companies will scatter the cremated remains for you.

Make sure you understand the process before you agree to work with a company. Expecting the return of cremated remains but not receiving any could make you upset. 

How Can You Save Money on a Horse Cremation?

You can pay a lot for horse cremation but you can save on the process.

If you live far away from a cremation facility, you can save money on the process by transporting the animal’s body on your own. Of course, this would take special equipment and may feel emotionally difficult. 

Communal cremation sometimes costs less than private cremation. You may save money if you agree that your horse can get cremated with other animals. 

What Can You Do With Horse Ashes?

If you choose to work with a cremation facility that returns the cremated remains to the owner, you will have to decide what to do with them. You may need to take some time before making your final determination.

Learn about more ideas so you know what you want to do with your horse’s ashes.

Memorial diamonds

Yes, you read that right. Instead of scattering your horse's ashes, you can actually pay to create a diamond out of a tiny portion of your horse's cremated ashes. 

The process isn’t cheap or fast. In fact, it starts at $3,000 and may take months. You get a real diamond in the end that the company can set in a ring, necklace, or another piece of jewelry. You can choose the size and color you want. A memorial diamond would make a lovely keepsake that you can pass down in your family for generations.

Didn't receive your horse’s cremated remains and want a memorial diamond made? You can use a small sample of your horse’s hair!

Cremation stones

You can also have your horse's remains made into cremation stones. Cremation stones are tidier than dealing with ashes and represent tactile reminders of your beloved animal.

Because of the size of horses, you’ll receive between 250 and 500 stones from your horse’s cremated remains (compared to the 40 to 60 stones from a person). You can give them to friends and family, use them in a craft project, or display them in a cremation garden. It costs almost $4,000 to make cremation stones from the ashes of a horse. 

Urns

Some may consider storing or displaying their horse’s remains in an urn for ashes. Note that you will need to buy a specialty urn large enough to hold the remains, as those made for humans would not be big enough.

Urns come in various shapes and colors of ceramic, metal, wood, or synthetic materials. You can get them personalized with the name of the horse, birth and death dates, and a favorite quote about horses

You might consider hiring an artisan to create a custom-made urn for your horse. Some potters will make an urn and press hairs from the tail into the creation right before they fire the vessel. 

If you wish to divide the horse’s cremated remains, you might consider purchasing several urns made for humans.

Urns for horses range from $100 to several hundred dollars. 

Scattering

Some find solace in scattering their animal’s remains at a beautiful site. You may want to complete this process in private or you might like to share this moment with friends and family. 

You can scatter for free on private land. Make sure you have permission from the landowner before completing this process. If you choose to scatter your horse’s cremains in a pet scattering garden, you may have to pay hundreds of dollars. 

Make sure you understand the scattering laws in your area. You need to take special consideration to scatter over water. 

Burial

You can also bury horse remains on private land. You may choose to mark the site with a fruit tree or burial marker. Some mark the place of a burial with a permanent headstone. Still, you might want to carefully consider this decision since the land may not remain in possession of your family forever.

You can also choose to bury the cremated remains of your horse in a pet cemetery. Pet cemeteries vary in price, from hundreds to thousands of dollars. 

Honor Your Horse's Life

It's never easy when a pet dies, especially if your pet has been a part of your life for decades. You may struggle to know how to say goodbye. Some people feel comforted by purchasing horse memorial gifts to help them remember their equine friends. While nothing will take the pain away from losing your horse, we hope we have given you some things to think about as you decide how to honor your horse's life.


Sources:
  1. “Equine Burial and Cremation… Let’s Be Brave and Talk About It.” Horse and Man. 23 January 2011. horseandman.com.
  2. “Equine Services.” Pet Cremation Services. petcremationkc.com.
  3.  “Horse Disposal Options.” Extension Horses. 31 July 2019. horses.extension.org
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