How and Where to Shoot a Horse to Put it Down?

Where to Shoot a Horse to Put it Down

Where to Shoot a Horse to Put it Down?

The recommended way to kill a horse is by using a firearm or lethal injection.

If you choose to use a gun, the preferred method is to shoot a rifle using the frontal method.

The ideal site to aim is slightly above (1 cm) from the intersection of two imaginary lines drawn from the eye to the opposite ear(euthanasia ).

For adult horses, a rifle must deliver at least the muzzle power of a standard 0.22 magnum cartridge.


If you are faced with an inherent danger, or your horse is suffering and proves to be a severe and immediate threat to himself or the handlers; these are valid reasons for wanting to shoot down your horse.

Or perhaps if your horse is in severe pain and distress with no hope of recovery.

It is always best for your vet to evaluate your horse, confirm that euthanasia is the most humane (or the most reasonable) option before you attempt it.

But this is not always possible. When done correctly, a shot induces instant unconsciousness and does not require close contact with the horse.

To shoot down the horse.

To humanely kill a horse of any age:
• Use a firearm
• Stun with a captive bolt and then bleed immediately; or
• Give a lethal injection

For foals, the blunt trauma approach is used, that’s if the other options in this list are not available.

If you choose to use a firearm or captive bolt, the survey method is the preferred method.

The firearm must deliver at least the barrel power of a standard 0.22-long rifle cartridge.

To place the captive bolt or gun, select a site in the middle, just behind the bony ridge between the horns.

After shooting the brain with a captive bolt, the animal must be bled immediately to ensure death.

Where to Shoot a Horse to Put it Down

Bleeding Alone

Horses must be stunned by a captive bolt before bleeding to death; however, bleeding can only be used in an emergency.
If you are bleeding the horse to death:

1. Be sure to use a sharp knife that is at least 6 inches long.
2. Be sure to cut both carotid arteries
3. Under no circumstances should you break or cut the spinal cord.

This only causes more pain and also paralysis, which increases the potential for stress.

Safety Tips And Success

Don’t euthanize your horse unless you are entirely sure of your decision and skill.

The proper location of bullet piercing is critical for the destruction of the brain and ultimately minimizing suffering.

Don’t just shoot a horse between the eyes! This is too low.

A .22 caliber long rifle is usually enough to eliminate a horse, but a 9mm or .38 caliber pistol will be more reliable, just like large caliber rifles.

The use of hollow-point bullets or a soft nose will increase the brain’s destruction and reduce the possibility of a rebound.

If a shotgun is the only available firearm, the use of a rifled slug is best preferred.

Euthanasia with a pistol should only be attempted by persons trained in the use of firearms.


Care must be taken to minimize the danger to the operator, observers, and other animals.

You must comply with all laws and regulations governing the possession and discharge of firearms.

Local ordinances may prohibit the discharge of firearms in certain areas.

You should carefully map out where you will do this as you will also have to dispose of the body afterward, properly.