Adopting a horse who is in need of a home can be a rewarding and exciting experience, but it’s important not to rush into horse ownership. Read our tips for potential owners.
If you are thinking about adopting a horse in need of a home, either privately or through an established rescue or re-homing organization, make sure you are ready for the commitment.
Important questions to ask yourself:
- Am I prepared for the hard work that comes with horse ownership?
- Do I have the financial resources to maintain a horse?
- Do I have a suitable place to house a horse?
- Do I have access to the resources I need to properly care for a horse?
- Do I have enough horse experience to safely handle and care for a horse?
- Am I willing to commit to giving a horse a forever home or finding suitable care for it if I’m no longer able to look after it?
Selecting a rescue
Regardless of whether you will surrender or adopt a horse, first take the time to find out as much as you can about the rescue. Don’t be shy about asking questions and expecting honest answers. Don’t rush into any decisions and if you feel like the answers are not forthcoming or too vague then – and this may be very hard but move on. You are making an important decision that effects not just you but the horse and if a rescue is not run in a transparent ethical and humane manner they don’t deserve your business.
Try to talk to as many people at the organization as you can: employees, volunteers, board of directors, previous adopters and donors. Ask around at the local vets, feed store or where you buy shavings and other supplies. Try to visit the rescue at different times of the day to get a feel for the day to day care and attitudes of those who look after the horses. Reputable rescue groups that are registered charities or registered non–profit societies are required to keep minutes and financial records. These reports may be available on request and will give you a good understanding of how they do business.
Familiarize yourself with the Equine Code of Practice which was written and developed by a large committee of industry experts and scientists. This is an excellent educational tool to help both new and experienced horse owners understand the new minimum standards of care for horses. Hard copies available at no charge at the Alberta Equestrian Federation office.