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Rehoming Horse Advice

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  • Rehoming Horse Advice

    I’ve been on and off of the idea of selling my mare. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her, but I always find myself struggling to financially support her, maybe emotionally as well. I tried selling her one summer, but I just couldn’t trust the people that were really interested in her (one person put her only horse up for free and was desperately looking for anyone to take her because she was unrideable (senior horse) so she could have room for my mare; I just thought wow there’s no guarantee she’ll do that to my horse). And there were so many time wasters and tirekickers.

    I really love this mare. Although we’ve only been together for 2.5 years, we’ve been through a lot. I’ve learned so much from her. Perhaps she is my heart horse even though she’s the first and only horse I’ve ever had.

    But I know I can’t provide the life she deserves. I barely (I mean barely) scraped through winter year. My family’s financial means aren’t in the greatest odds this year either. Therefore, she needs to go to a home that can properly support her needs.

    As an alternative to selling her to a random person, I started volunteering at a small horse rescue to learn more about horse care and horses in general. I had no experience personally handling horses when I got my mare (I learned the hard way that it was a naive mistake).

    The rescue is very family friendly, it feels like a small family since there aren’t many of us.

    I knew that the rescue took in surrendered horses (owners can surrender their horses to this rescue), and I wanted to do that. I contacted the rescue owner (she’s like a horsey friend to me) and she said she would take her in, evaluate her, and adopt her out with a lifetime contract as soon as she fostered out one of the geldings at the farm.

    Gelding was fostered out and naturally I waited for her call to say “Okay we’re ready for another horse,” but I never got anything of that sort.

    Instead, we began taking in other rescues. I didn’t mind, these horses NEEDED to be there and be rehabbed, they were in terrible conditions. It was May, I had plenty of grass to feed my own horse and keep her happy and fat.

    As the summer passed, I was getting a little worried
    about if my horse had a place to go before winter. So I messaged the rescue owner again. She has a habit of forgetting a plethoras of things, and perhaps my horse was one of them.

    I didn’t want to make it seem like she was obligated to take my horse (lord knows she isn’t) so it was more of like, “Are you still interested in taking in my mare? I know you have a lot on your hands with the other horses and such, but I’d like to know how things are flowing for you.” Because if she couldn’t take my horse in time, I would need time to sell her. And it’s absolutely okay if she can’t. I can only imagine how overwhelmed she gets running a full time rescue.

    Her response to my “check in” was in short, “No promises but I’ll do what I can do get her here.”

    And I get that. Money is tight, space is tight, time is especially tight.

    But I’m getting desperate. I would love for my mare to go out with a lifetime contract, not bounce from owner to owner, and always have a place to come back to if someone couldn’t keep her.

    I seriously hate to bug her about taking in my horse, but I’m desperate. I would like to offer to help pay for anything, vet bills my mare my rack up with anything I have, float bills, farrier bills, if she needs work I will work with her, if she needs me to trailer her, I’ll trailer her there. And I can trust the rescue owner to find her a good home at least. If she needs me to do more daily feed shifts to help out, if she needs fences built, I will do what I can.

    I need someone to tell me to just suck it up if it’s wrong.
    But of course, I feel that’s wrong. I hate to sound that desperate but I really am.

    Its already September and I don’t have much longer until winter will hit in Mideast USA. Any advice, the bad or the good will be greatly appreciated.



  • #2
    Originally posted by TwistedBeauty View Post
    I’ve been on and off of the idea of selling my mare. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her, but I always find myself struggling to financially support her, maybe emotionally as well. I tried selling her one summer, but I just couldn’t trust the people that were really interested in her (one person put her only horse up for free and was desperately looking for anyone to take her because she was unrideable (senior horse) so she could have room for my mare; I just thought wow there’s no guarantee she’ll do that to my horse). And there were so many time wasters and tirekickers.

    I really love this mare. Although we’ve only been together for 2.5 years, we’ve been through a lot. I’ve learned so much from her. Perhaps she is my heart horse even though she’s the first and only horse I’ve ever had.

    But I know I can’t provide the life she deserves. I barely (I mean barely) scraped through winter year. My family’s financial means aren’t in the greatest odds this year either. Therefore, she needs to go to a home that can properly support her needs.

    As an alternative to selling her to a random person, I started volunteering at a small horse rescue to learn more about horse care and horses in general. I had no experience personally handling horses when I got my mare (I learned the hard way that it was a naive mistake).

    The rescue is very family friendly, it feels like a small family since there aren’t many of us.

    I knew that the rescue took in surrendered horses (owners can surrender their horses to this rescue), and I wanted to do that. I contacted the rescue owner (she’s like a horsey friend to me) and she said she would take her in, evaluate her, and adopt her out with a lifetime contract as soon as she fostered out one of the geldings at the farm.

    Gelding was fostered out and naturally I waited for her call to say “Okay we’re ready for another horse,” but I never got anything of that sort.

    Instead, we began taking in other rescues. I didn’t mind, these horses NEEDED to be there and be rehabbed, they were in terrible conditions. It was May, I had plenty of grass to feed my own horse and keep her happy and fat.

    As the summer passed, I was getting a little worried about if my horse had a place to go before winter. So I messaged the rescue owner again. She has a habit of forgetting a plethoras of things, and perhaps my horse was one of them.

    I didn’t want to make it seem like she was obligated to take my horse (lord knows she isn’t) so it was more of like, “Are you still interested in taking in my mare? I know you have a lot on your hands with the other horses and such, but I’d like to know how things are flowing for you.” Because if she couldn’t take my horse in time, I would need time to sell her. And it’s absolutely okay if she can’t. I can only imagine how overwhelmed she gets running a full time rescue.

    Her response to my “check in” was in short, “No promises but I’ll do what I can do get her here.”

    And I get that. Money is tight, space is tight, time is especially tight.

    But I’m getting desperate. I would love for my mare to go out with a lifetime contract, not bounce from owner to owner, and always have a place to come back to if someone couldn’t keep her.

    I seriously hate to bug her about taking in my horse, but I’m desperate. I would like to offer to help pay for anything, vet bills my mare my rack up with anything I have, float bills, farrier bills, if she needs work I will work with her, if she needs me to trailer her, I’ll trailer her there. And I can trust the rescue owner to find her a good home at least. If she needs me to do more daily feed shifts to help out, if she needs fences built, I will do what I can.

    I need someone to tell me to just suck it up if it’s wrong. But of course, I feel that’s wrong. I hate to sound that desperate but I really am.

    Its already September and I don’t have much longer until winter will hit in Mideast USA. Any advice, the bad or the good will be greatly appreciated.
    In your mind, what is a "lifetime contract"? If you sell a horse or otherwise turn over ownership, the rights of ownership transfer to the buyer. You can have a clause in the contract that you have "right of first refusal" to buy her back should the new owner decide to sell her, but in reality, these clauses are often ignored. You can attempt to have the clause enforced by going to court, but it is not without expense or inconvenience.

    Perhaps you can tell us what sort of training she has and what sort of job might suit her. If you want to retain control of where she goes, you probably need to lease or free lease her. However, if she becomes hurt or ages out of her job, she will come back on your payroll.

    Comment


    • #3
      Money running out and winter on the way. That's a tough spot to be in. Lots of respect for not just sending the mare off into the equine ether and never looking back.

      Your friend may have better contacts and she might feel less pressured if you set something up whereby she helps you look for a good home while the horse stays with you. Could be the situation can be handled a little more quickly that way. Especially if you continue helping her at the farm.

      Do you think it's worth feeling her out about that? She may be more willing to take the mare on down the road if nothing has been solved by crunch time.

      Also have you tried the Giveaway section on this forum?
      One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
      William Shakespeare

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by OneTwoMany View Post
        In your mind, what is a "lifetime contract"? If you sell a horse or otherwise turn over ownership, the rights of ownership transfer to the buyer. You can have a clause in the contract that you have "right of first refusal" to buy her back should the new owner decide to sell her, but in reality, these clauses are often ignored. You can attempt to have the clause enforced by going to court, but it is not without expense or inconvenience.

        Perhaps you can tell us what sort of training she has and what sort of job might suit her. If you want to retain control of where she goes, you probably need to lease or free lease her. However, if she becomes hurt or ages out of her job, she will come back on your payroll.
        Even I know that contracts aren’t always a 100% guarantee, but by a lifetime contract, I meant she’ll always have somewhere to go until the end of her life. She’s 20 this year and she was a former Amish cart horse who came to me in poor condition at first. An ideal “job” for her would be perhaps a therapy or lesson horse, I think. She has a wonky conformation at her back end so that limits what kind of work she can do. Right now, she’s only ridden to keep her muscle on and keep her joints oiled up.

        Regarding making a contract of my own, I’m only 16. I’m not sure how to say this, but my parents don’t believe my horse is any reason to create a contract and abide by it. They already do ridicule me about trying to find a good home for my horse, the usual “it’s just a horse, just sell her and get some money.” But they already know I won’t do it just like that lol. Thankfully they aren’t exactly animal people. So that’s the issue with creating a contract of my own. And while I would love to always be able to take her back, but I really don’t know if I’m capable of that. I believe my hands will be too full with school or a job in the future, and I may be moving to the city to go to school.

        Comment


        • #5
          Have you considered a partial lease? Or a full free lease? That way you still have ownership of the horse but you've also got money coming in to help take care of her. Or free leasing her out to a riding therapy program? With the leases though if anything doesn't work out she's back on your dime but that is also the security of knowing nothing bad will happen to her and as her owner if something bad does you can remove her from that situation.

          Comment


          • #6
            Rescues should be using their resources to care for horses that truly need help, so rehoming a horse that is currently receiving good care would not and should not be their top priority. One option I have seen and that you may want to discuss with the rescue owner would be if you can list the horse for adoption under the rescue's contract but keep her where she is, keep paying for her, and do the legwork until you find the new owners yourself. (Basically fostering and sponsoring your own horse until she is adopted.)
            Flickr

            Comment


            • #7
              You say she was an "Amish cart horse".
              To me, that says she is trained to drive & most likely traffic-safe (unless something made her unusable for that purpose).

              Have you considered contacting the Driving community in your area?
              Drivers are often looking for a usably sound horse for light use & age is not the problem riding disciplines seem to have.
              That she is also ridden is a plus as many do both with their animals.
              Driving is actually easier for a horse than carrying a rider.

              As you are underage, you will need to get your parents to help you complete any sale.

              Good Luck
              *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
              Steppin' Out 1988-2004
              Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
              Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by ohmyheck View Post
                Money running out and winter on the way. That's a tough spot to be in. Lots of respect for not just sending the mare off into the equine ether and never looking back.

                Your friend may have better contacts and she might feel less pressured if you set something up whereby she helps you look for a good home while the horse stays with you. Could be the situation can be handled a little more quickly that way. Especially if you continue helping her at the farm.

                Do you think it's worth feeling her out about that? She may be more willing to take the mare on down the road if nothing has been solved by crunch time.

                Also have you tried the Giveaway section on this forum?
                This sounds like a good idea and I’ll have to think about it. I think I could at least ask her if she knows anyone trustworthy that needs a horse like mine. I just really don’t want to pressure her. I also haven’t tried or even seen the giveaway section, but I will for sure take a look.Thank you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TwistedBeauty View Post
                  Even I know that contracts aren’t always a 100% guarantee, but by a lifetime contract, I meant she’ll always have somewhere to go until the end of her life. She’s 20 this year and she was a former Amish cart horse who came to me in poor condition at first. An ideal “job” for her would be perhaps a therapy or lesson horse, I think. She has a wonky conformation at her back end so that limits what kind of work she can do. Right now, she’s only ridden to keep her muscle on and keep her joints oiled up.

                  Regarding making a contract of my own, I’m only 16. I’m not sure how to say this, but my parents don’t believe my horse is any reason to create a contract and abide by it. They already do ridicule me about trying to find a good home for my horse, the usual “it’s just a horse, just sell her and get some money.” But they already know I won’t do it just like that lol. Thankfully they aren’t exactly animal people. So that’s the issue with creating a contract of my own. And while I would love to always be able to take her back, but I really don’t know if I’m capable of that. I believe my hands will be too full with school or a job in the future, and I may be moving to the city to go to school.
                  As another poster mentioned, due to your age, your parents need to be involved with any contract IF you want it to be legally binding. A minor cannot legally enter into a contract that would involve the sale or lease of property.

                  Taking a step back, you don't necessarily need a legally binding contract to ask the buyer to please contact you if they need to rehome the horse in the future. People are good for their word or they aren't. An enforceable contract allows you to seek a legal remedy and force the other party to uphold their end of the bargain. Hiring a lawyer and/or going to court to enforce a contract costs time and money. It doesn't sound like that is something you are willing to do and frankly, it doesn't seem all that practical in this case.

                  If I were you, I would look online for "equine sale contract" or "equine lease contract". Copy the document and amend it to your liking. It won't be enforceable if your parents don't sign it, and even if they do, it may not comply with your state laws, but it might give you some piece of mind. The best way to have a legally enforceable contract is to consult with a lawyer, but that will probably run you a few hundred dollars.

                  Another thing to consider, when you sell or give away a horse, you are turning over your rights of ownership. You will have no control over any future sale or transfer of ownership. This is a bitter pill to accept, but it is the law.

                  Take comfort in the fact that you provided her with a loving home during your ownership. Do you best to find her a new owner that is also caring. But don't beat yourself up if you lose track of her, because you might. The only way to prevent that from happening is to keep her, but you've already laid out the arguments for why that is not possible.

                  2DogsFarm has a really interesting suggestion as does ohmyheck

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I agree with asking the rescue if they will put her up on their adoption page, while you keep her. But know that it does take a while for horses to be adopted - the application and approval process are sometimes long, and the rescue still needs to evaluate your mare.

                    She's 20, and as you say 'wonky' in the back end (what's wrong with her conformation? Old hip injury or fracture?) and quite probably going to be getting arthritis soon, if not already. She will probably be a bit hard to place in a good home, unless you can prove she is absolutely a beginner's horse. She will need maintenance and special care from here on as her teeth get worse, she finds it harder to keep weight on, and her joints worsen with age. I don't want to scare you or make you upset, but those are, sadly, the realities of owning an older horse. I didn't see how old you are, but if you're at least 14, do you have a part-time job that could help offset her costs?

                    If necessary, I do not think anyone would blame you for also considering euthanizing her. It may well end up being the best situation for everyone, especially since you won't be able to control where she goes if you sell or give her away. It's a hard truth, but one all horse owners have to face at some point.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the extra details OP. So she's a 20 year old, ex Amish cart horse with wonky conformation that limits what she can do. And you're a sixteen year old with little to no support from your parents with regards to solving this dilemma.

                      I'm not going to counsel putting this mare down now but if you find that after a couple of months of intense investigating to find her a decent home you come up short, then that's the option I would choose.

                      Every horse lover has their own personally established guidelines for sending beloved animals on their way. Mine is that I will take no chance on an elderly horse who's spent their productive years serving humans, potentially ending up sliding down some pipeline of hell.

                      You're clear that you don't want that either. Do your due diligence to try and place her well but if it doesn't work out, know that there are other options.

                      Best of luck to you with your situation.
                      One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
                      William Shakespeare

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by OneTwoMany View Post
                        As another poster mentioned, due to your age, your parents need to be involved with any contract IF you want it to be legally binding. A minor cannot legally enter into a contract that would involve the sale or lease of property.
                        just a certification that is a non emancipated minor

                        Emancipated minors can enter into contracts as they are considered by the legal system as an adult before age 18,

                        back to the thread

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by clanter View Post
                          Emancipated minors can enter into contracts as they are considered by the legal system as an adult before age 18
                          Valid point.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Vyce View Post
                            Have you considered a partial lease? Or a full free lease? That way you still have ownership of the horse but you've also got money coming in to help take care of her. Or free leasing her out to a riding therapy program? With the leases though if anything doesn't work out she's back on your dime but that is also the security of knowing nothing bad will happen to her and as her owner if something bad does you can remove her from that situation.
                            I think the lease is a great idea! You can cover in your contract what charges the lease person will pay. I half lease now and pay for a lot! I am sure the owner loves me for paying for many, many things.......... They use my supplies and still get to ride! A win for them!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ohmyheck View Post
                              I'm not going to counsel putting this mare down now but if you find that after a couple of months of intense investigating to find her a decent home you come up short, then that's the option I would choose.
                              This I would be on board with. Definitely not the first option for your mare but IMO there are fates worse than death for a horse. At some point, this may be a consideration.

                              Good luck in your search to find her a suitable, loving home.
                              Maybe the reason I love animals so much is because the only time they have broken my heart is when they've crossed that rainbow bridge

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                OP, I want to give you credit for your mature approach to a difficult situation.

                                Some therapeutic riding programs also have driving programs. You could look on the PATH website and contact the programs near you, and see if they will help you network to find a suitable situation. A 20-y-o former Amish horse might be a nice fit.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  I appreciate everyone’s support and advice. It really means a lot.

                                  About a year ago when I was trying to sell her, I really did think about putting her down because I was so worried about where she’d end up as the horse she is (getting old, likely some maintenance, limited abilities). Lots of horses like that end up in not so good places. I was looking into putting her down and getting quotes from different vets and how the process would be, but it happened to just be too expensive as the drug itself is expensive + disposal of the body. Again, unfortunately, not something I can do without my parent’s support.

                                  As for getting a job and helping out, that was my plan over the summer to be able to keep her, but life didn’t pan out as expected. I ended up having to baby sit for my ill uncle who has stage 4 liver cancer, as well as baby sit for my sister who just had a baby + a three year old. Sister gave me some money to compensate for my lost money earning time, but it was a small amount and I know they have their own bills and kids to care for. I wanted to get a part time job during school if I could handle it, but unfortunately I’m struggling with balancing three college courses, two AP classes, AND keeping my 4.0 GPA (school is very important to me) and working on going to career seminars and such. I’ve been trying to do side chores to earn money or even selling my belongings online to earn some extra. Now that both of my parents are jobless, we are not financially stable enough to support a horse through winter.

                                  As as for the person that asked about her wonky
                                  hind end, a conformation fault of mild sickle hocks and an old hunter’s bump injury suppresses her from any competing or hard trail riding. She still canters and throws lovely rears and bucks in the pasture, but I wouldn’t be comfortable putting that kind of stress on her joints.

                                  I really want to do all I can for this horse of mine, but it’s a little harder with my restrictions. She’s been through a lot as an Amish carthorse and she deserves the world for putting up with my mistakes, helping me learn, and being a source of happiness when things get hard. I’ve never been able to explain it to non horsey people, but the happiness you feel when you’ve succeeded something with your horse is like nothing else.

                                  Emotional rant lol:
                                  I also can’t help but feel built having to give away my mare. She’s seriously a person horse rather than a people horse. Sure she’s friendly to other people, but she doesn’t trust them like she’ll trust me as her handler. She will get very anxious if a new person is handling or riding her UNLESS that person is a child. She is great with kids, so very baby sitter like (super bombproof and tolerant of kids) and I love it, especially with how many younger relatives I have. That’s why I’d feel great if she went to a therapy program with young children or was a kids lesson horse. But I really don’t want her bouncing owner to owner because it takes her a while to warm up and really bond with someone. So I’m hoping that if I find a new owner, I can work with them, communicate with them, and make sure that everything goes well for both horse and human.

                                  Yes, it’s super stressful, but it can’t be avoided.

                                  The idea of fostering my own horse while she finds an adoption home is the next move most likely. I’ve saved a little on the side for emergency hay, small vet bills, medications, but I really don’t want to risk going into winter. That’s also when people are not looking for horses and it’ll be harder to rehome her. I haven’t stocked up any hay either, and I know hay gets scarce in the winter. Went through it once already, and I will not do it again and risk my horse’s health.

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                                  • #18
                                    The problem with a lease is you are going to have to take her back if the leasers want to end it. It doesn't sound like you are or will be anytime soon in the position to have a horse. I think euthanasia, especially with everything you've added, is your best option.
                                    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by TwistedBeauty View Post

                                      She’s 20 this year and she was a former Amish cart horse who came to me in poor condition at first. An ideal “job” for her would be perhaps a therapy or lesson horse, I think. She has a wonky conformation at her back end so that limits what kind of work she can do. Right now, she’s only ridden to keep her muscle on and keep her joints oiled up.

                                      I believe my hands will be too full with school or a job in the future, and I may be moving to the city to go to school.
                                      This contradicts the statement you made in your first post " that there is literally nothing wrong with her". She is 20 , with conformation that limits her usefulness to a potential adopter. Many high school kids can work and keep up their school work if the reason is important enough for them to do it ( i did).

                                      The unpleasant fact is once she leaves your hands no contract is going to mean her future is safe.

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by TwistedBeauty View Post
                                        I’ve been trying to do side chores to earn money or even selling my belongings online to earn some extra. Now that both of my parents are jobless, we are not financially stable enough to support a horse through winter.
                                        If you have not been this direct with the rescue, do so now. "There is no wage earner in my household and we have no hay for winter" will get attention. It sounds like you can self-foster until the grass quits for the season, and hopefully they can help you place her before winter. But you are going to be in an emergent situation in a couple months and it's okay to say that. It's IMPORTANT to say that, and to say it clearly and succinctly so the rescue hears you through all the distractions of life.

                                        The rescue may also have resources for emergency hay help or euthanasia assistance, if they're just maxed out and can't take her in your time frame.

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