This forum is provided as a means for members of our community to find great, suitable new homes for their free horses, ponies and other critters.
It's up to each member to determine whether the situation is a good match and "vet" those interested in their animals, and the Chronicle is not responsible any repercussions of using this service. Though we have a terrific community of responsible horse people here, there is no implicit guarantee that someone is a good fit, or even a good egg, just because you met here.
That being said, we're providing this thread as a place for COTHers to share their tips, strategies, cautions and recommendations for helping to ensure your horse ends up in a good situation. Nothing's failsafe, but:
What questions do you ask?
What sort of agreement do you require?
What research do you do on the person? How?
How do you evaluate the property?
How do you check in afterwards?
This thread is your resource, so use it to help each other!
One thing I do when I'm free leasing or rehoming an animal is to go see the place where the horse (or dog) is going to be living. People can send you pictures of a nice facility that isn't necessarily where your animal may actually be housed...don't ask me how I know this...
We have a good network of COTHer's around the country that have shown a willingness to go check places out if you are too far away to physically do so, so take them up on the offer to drive by so and so's stable and see if it's on the up and up.
If someone is unwilling to let you or your representative see their facility or is dead set against you delivering the animal to the place they said it would be staying...do NOT send your animal away with that person.
A couple of quick and easy things you can do:
1. Click on the poster's user name and view their profile. Are they who they say they are? name, location, age, website, etc.
2. From their profile page, click on "find all posts by ..." and skim over their posting history. If they've only recently joined, you won't have much to go on, but if they've been a member a while, you might get a good idea about their horse owning background, # of horses they have, riding preferences, horse keeping style, problems, etc.
3. Ask if anyone knows the person or lives near the person! Other COTHers are an enormous resource. If the person is bad news, more than likely, someone here has already had a bad experience with them and can give you the heads up. You might also find out the person is a super horse owner
Get their name and or phone number and just Google it. I had an older TB that I gave away and one woman replied that she was a 53 yo grandmother that had a forever home and just wanted to trail ride. Googled her phone number and she had no less than 5 ads for horses for sale. The day after I confronted her about it, I received an email from another woman painting another perfect situation so I Googled her...she was the first woman's daughter! Really?! Some people just aren't right.
Last edited by liberty36; Jun. 2, 2010 at 10:57 PM.
Reason: ad on
Ask for 3 references. At least one of them should be a vet, another one should be a farrier. A first timer might not have such references, but that begs the question - do you want your giveaway going to someone with no ownership experience? If they can't provide you with those references, then they should be able to provide you with their trainer or the lesson barn - someone that can vouch for their readiness to take on your horse. What you're looking for is substantial proof that they a) are fiscally sound (can ask these people for references) b) have a good track record of providing both routine and emergent care and recognizing when it's needed. This goes a long way to assuring you that your animal is in good hands. Assure them on the front end of the absolute confidentiality of your communication with them and that you're not asking for priviledged information.
All of these are wonderful tips to find the right home but lastly when you do find that home for your retiree/freebie/nolongerwanted horse please tell the person or persons caring for that animal that you appreciate what they are doing for you. Because many times people forget that it can be a two way street meaning you need a good safe home for your horse but also the person taking over is getting a nice horse for no upfront cost. Other times it is a one way street meaning the horse is absolutely worthless to anyone but by chance someone has pitty on your unwanted horse and takes them in and provides them with a loving home just because it was fate. Remember on occasion to thank that person for what they are doing for you and your horse. Just remember that as hard as it is to believe there are still good people in this world.
I am new to this forum and about to post a freebie on it. I had a terrible wake up call yesterday when I checked out a "Horse Rescue" in Dunnellon Florida. I was so thrilled to find a place to bring this mare but after seeing the moldy round bale, colt tied to tree with a cable, I RAN!
1. Google name, phone number, and I even google earth their address.
2. No horse changes hands without a contract- event he freebies. Make sure the contract is within state laws and regs.
3. Get vet, farrier, and/or trainer references and make sure they are valid people. I had someone give me a 'vet' name as a reference, turns out the 'vet' was a buddy and not a vet at all.
4. Understand that once a horse leaves your care- pretty much anything can happen and you may have little to no control over it. I 'sold' a horse to a 'great show home' only to find the horse 11 months later dead lame and at a rescue. The buyer had all sorts of references and seemed perfect. Turns out she lost her job and temporarily leased the horse to her a 'trainer'. Trainer pushed the horse too hard. Horse just fell through the cracks. Good news is- horse is in a good home and is now sound and healthy again.
Another approach that can work, depending on what state you are in, is to search your state / county's court records for the prospective owner's name. If they are being sued by 10 different companies for bad debts, that's not where I want my pony to go.
Search show records in the discipline they claim to show in, if they make such claims. Ask them about previous horses -- have they gone through 3 horses in the past year, and are they all inexplicably cast aside? Another red flag.
I helped a friend rehome a horse very successfully through this board a few months ago, and we remain confident that it was a good rehoming because we see new photos and have an ongoing conversation about what horse is up to. Facebook is helpful here, although, of course, people can just make stuff up if they like.
I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09