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What adoption fee is fair on a rescue?

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    What adoption fee is fair on a rescue?


    I was wondering if anyone has some suggestions on this. I'm offering up one of my rescue horses for adoption. He does have a health issue that will require on going care. I would like to ask a higher adoption fee and put some of that money towards his future veterinary bills. For example, $300 that would go as a credit with whatever vet that is going to be treating him in the future...

    Just wondering if anyone has done anything similar. I can't offer him for free (as horse traders will want him) and the issue could be covered up by a horse flipper if I put his price too low. Obviously I'm concerned about finding him the right placement in a good home.

    What would be a fair adoption price? $500-$750?

    He does ride under saddle, but is for an experienced rider only (very sensitive and forward).

    What are others around you charging? That range seems reasonable, for example I admire Bluebonnet's program and they charge $600.

    But if you don't think the buyer can afford to pay for vet bills, or won't provide proper care, then don't sell the horse to them. Making them pay ahead at the vet is an odd requirement. $300 isn't going to last long anyway, it's one emergency visit where I live.
    ... with Patrick and Henry


      How much did it cost you to rehab him? Do you intend to rehab another? If so, charge what you need to allow you to help another horse. If this will be your only rescue, charge what you need to recoup your losses in vet and feed. If it's too high, maybe find out how high kill buyers are willing to go to buy a horse for slaughter, then, go several hundred above that to keep him safe.

      I think your price range is a little low. $1,000 seems fair to me, depending on the region.


        Are you transferring ownership? How marketable do you think he would be? There's a local, very reputable rescue that works with OTTBs that generally sells the young, healthy ones at the low end of market price (i.e. in the $2-$3k range) but that is for horses with few/ no limitations. It sounds like your guy might be hard to place if he only be ridden by an experienced rider, unless he is young and suited to a competitive career. I don't think that's necessarily a limit on what you should ask but you might have to be flexible to get him into the right spot.


          Are you running an actual rescue organization? Will you have some ongoing responsibility for this horse?

          If not - just sell the horse. Don't use "adoption fee" wording, because it's not an adoption.

          If you are running an organization - your adoption fee should be part of your overall operating strategy. Adoption fees + donations have to be more than your expenses.


            Horses are "chattel", they are bought, sold, and leased. A person may agree to the "adoption" if they wish to, as an agreement regarding the possession of the horse, but someone has to own it, and be responsible for it. If you wish to sell the horse, put a price on it and sell it, searching for the best fit for an owner that you can, and telling the potential buyer everything you know, or think you know, about the horse. If you don't like the potential owner and/or don't think the pairing will work, you can withdraw your offer to sell the horse, and turn them away if you wish, before money is exchanged. When money is exchanged, the ownership of the horse is transferred, and you no longer own it, nor have any power or influence on it's care or future. When you sell a horse, you may offer to buy it back if the new owner decides that they no longer want the horse, but this offer is not able to be enforced, it's just an offer. If you wish to retain ownership of the horse, and ultimate responsibility for the horse, then you lease the horse, with a written agreement. It may be a "free lease", where the person leasing the horse takes over all expenses of the horse, but does not own it. You still own it. A lease may have a stated "term", or it may be able to be ended by either party, at any time. This is all agreed upon in advance, in writing, with the lease agreement. A lease may be a "paid lease" where the person leasing the horse pays an annual or monthly fee for the lease- this is more common with valuable horses in competition.

            Understanding that horses are chattel will keep things "black and white" for both you and the person who takes on the horse, either as a purchase or a lease. There are cases where the "adoption" option has worked out fine for both horses and people involved, but often they do not, and someone is feeling 'burned" as a result. Most experienced horsemen will shy away from an "adoption", especially with a horse who already has issues. The "sale" of a horse is not always considered a bad thing, a good horse will likely be appreciated by many owners and riders as it advances through the stages of it's life and as it's value and job descriptions change with age and training. No one can predict the future of horses or humans accurately. You do the best you can for them when you own them, and hope to place them with their next owner accurately, to the best of your ability.


              I dont understand your business model. Why would you retain money towards future vet costs if you do not retain ownership of the horse.

              What rights does the "adopter" have?
              -- * > hoopoe
              Procrastinate NOW
              Introverted Since 1957


                I think there will be a limited number of people who are willing to "adopt" a horse with ongoing medical issues, and who can also only be ridden by an experienced rider. Raising the horse's price--for whatever reason--will only make him less attractive to potential buyers/adopters. If you want to retain control of his future medical care, the best course of action would be to keep him yourself.


                  Maybe lease him instead? That way, you can retain control over his health care.

                  Otherwise, set his price at or above the going meat-price in your area to discourage kill-buyers.
                  Proofreading is your friend.


                    Originally posted by S1969 View Post
                    Are you running an actual rescue organization? Will you have some ongoing responsibility for this horse?

                    If not - just sell the horse. Don't use "adoption fee" wording, because it's not an adoption.

                    If you are running an organization - your adoption fee should be part of your overall operating strategy. Adoption fees + donations have to be more than your expenses.
                    Yeah, just sell it. Unless you’re a legitimate rescue, saying you’re adopting out this horse will kind of make you seem like you’re going to be an overinvolved former owner and you scare away a lot of potential buyers. The price should be whatever the horse is worth. I don’t really understand how you’ll be using the proceeds from the horses sale to put toward his vet bills if you no longer own it. That will become the new owner’s problem, unless you’re trying to do some kind of lease situation, but again, don’t use “adoption” terms because it’ll make you sound like you’re going to be a nightmare to deal with.