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Dutch owners can now treat their beloved horses to a very special goodbye — at a new equine-only crematorium.

Paardencrematorium Westerhout in Beverwijk, 25km from Amsterdam has a “bringing to sleep” room, a mourning room, two stables and a “coffee and talks” room.

Dutch law was relaxed in 2001, allowing horse crematoria to open up across the country — but none are as well equipped for the final journey as this one.

“We are the biggest in Europe, and the only crematorium in Holland just for horses,” said Manon Niesten from the family business.

Owners bring their horses to the facility, where they are put down, cremated and then returned to them in an urn.

The cost is between €1,400-€1,800 (about £1,100-£1,450).

British sand sculptor Andrew Baynes built life-size horse statues for the opening.

“One woman saw me working and promptly burst into tears,” he told H&H.

“She had only just lost her horse — I suppose it was flattering because my sculpture was so lifelike.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (30 October, ’08)