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Horse Adoption

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  • Horse Adoption

    Just wondering about it. Who has adopted a horse- was it a good or bad process? I looked into it when getting my last horse but decided not to because of all the stipulations involved. Had a friend adopt one from a less than professional "sanctuary" and would only do it if the person released ownership to her after a year. What are the strangest stipulations you have come across? Are they needed, warranted or just cause more problems adopting the horses out?
    Pro Slaughter
    Anti Parelli

  • #2
    I adopted a horse and it has worked out fine. After two years I own her free and clear. (more than halfway there). It is a non racing, non breeding contract but since I don't plan to do those things anyway it's not a problem! 8-D And I know that if something happens to me she has a safe place to land and they will find her a good home with the same protection. that's a huge load off my mind.

    Now if you wanted a breeding horse or a competition horse (one that will end up with a lot of training on it) I would advise NOT going to a rescue just in case you end up with one of the sneaks who might try to claim the horse back (to sell higher). You will have no restrictions on use with a bought horse and you own it right away and can sell it or whatever you want. MOST rescues have far too many horses to WANT any back. They hope to keep them placed in permanent homes!

    But if your plans are just for riding or a pet then a rescue is a fine choice IMO. But check them out first. Ask around, google, etc. etc. etc. I paid $250 for my papered filly and depending on training/quality I would not pay much more than that for a horse with restrictions.
    Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

    Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


    • #3
      Like dog and cat rescues, some are good and some are not so good. Remember that they aren't operated under an umbrella org and they are not all the same. Find one that works for you and go with it - don't lump them all together.


      • #4
        You adopt children; you buy or lease horses.

        Children are people; horses are chattels (property).

        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


        • #5
          I have two from Mid Atlantic Horse Rescue. You own them free and clear from the start. You must agree however not to send them back to an auction. It has been a wonderful experience both times. I have two lovely horses and Bev is a really nice, honest and professional person. Their website is www.midatlantichorserescue.org They also have a facebook page as well. Many pictures and videos of the available horses are on the website. Good Luck


          • #6
            Originally posted by BLBGP View Post
            Like dog and cat rescues, some are good and some are not so good. Remember that they aren't operated under an umbrella org and they are not all the same. Find one that works for you and go with it - don't lump them all together.
            Stay away from ReRun.

            They have $1,500 of my money and I have no horse.

            I won't bore you with the story, but that is the bottom line and the only one that counts.



            • #7
              Well, there are a handful of rescues I would consider doing business with, but most I wouldn't.

              I find that many times you can buy a relatively nice horse for little money .

              Usually the ones I'd deal with have made an impression as horse people first, before being 'rescue'


              • Original Poster

                I thought ReRun was a good one? I just don't see paying more than 800 or a 1000 dollars for a basic broke horse which you can't own.
                Pro Slaughter
                Anti Parelli


                • #9
                  I adopted one once. Honestly, I wouldn't do it again just for the sake of 'saving' one. I scoured rescues to find something that might work for me, thinking that there must be a rescue out there that fit my requirements. There wasn't, but since I felt so strongly about it I adopted one that was close to what I wanted. The adoption fee was a over what his real market value should have been. I was OK with that, considering the extra a donation. I spent a lot of money on getting him healthy again and on training so he ended up much more costly than if I had just purchased something I wanted. He didn't turn out to be my dream horse, hard as I tried to make him, so I sold him on to a good home at a big loss.

                  I would have been much smarter to purchase exactly what I wanted right at the start, and let my little rescue go directly to a home that saw him as their dream pony.

                  If the horse you're searching for is at a rescue, then definitely follow the above posters' advice and check out the rescue and adoption agreements carefully.


                  • #10
                    I always feel like a hypocrite on this subject. (Let me see if I can make this coherent...) I totally support good rescues. I think people should adopt from good rescues as often as they can. But not me. I HATE 99% of the adoption contracts I have read, but I totally think OTHER people should adopt. LOL.

                    Personally, I will not pay money for a horse unless I own it 100%. I prefer to have total control over what I decide to use it for, and I want to be able to re-sell it for whatever it's market value is. But then, I enjoy taking on projects to flip. I understand why rescues put things in their contracts, and I think they are good ideas- in general. The sad truth is that horse rescues have to be really leery of potential adopters and cover their butts. A lot of downright scary people try to adopt. THOSE people are not in the horses' best interest, but the rescues have no way of knowing these things before hand, so that's why their contracts usually contain things like "the rescue has the right to seize the horse at any time" and "the rescue has the right to perform random, unannounced site checks" and "if this horse doesn't work out, you must return it to the rescue and not sell it" and so on.

                    Personally, I know I am a great home and take excellent care of my horses, and I am not offended by rescues who want to make sure of that. BUT, I also don't waste my time with jumping through hoops and tolerating random site checks, and the threat of re-seizure looming over my head when I can just run down to my local livestock auction (or browse CL) and "save" one myself. Then that animal becomes all mine, and I can train and re-sell or even breed it if I decide to.

                    So yeah, I think people should adopt rescues as often as they can. But I generally wont. Yes that makes me a hypocrite. I know this. I am just not a "forever and ever 'till death do us part" type of owner (except for a few very special horses) so adoption contracts, in general, don't work out for me.


                    • #11
                      I run a rescue with an adoption program, and I know adoption isn't for everyone. (I wish it was, but I'm practical).

                      If you decide to adopt, check out the rescue. Ask for references and talk to horse people in the area to see what their impression of the rescue is. And read your adoption contract before you even apply (to save you heartbreak if you find a horse you love but hate the contract).

                      Find out if the rescue has a return policy (for example, we refund the adoption fee if the horse is returned in 30 days. Then from 30 days to 1 year, we refund half the adoption fee). See if you are allowed to rehome/sell your horse (we have restrictions on that, but we do allow it).

                      Don't adopt one just because you feel you need to save one. You should adopt (or buy) the horse you want.

                      We have had just about every kind of horse through here. We've had horses go on to do Pony Club stuff, hunters, dressage, pleasure classes, trail horse, driving (we adopted out a matched pair of mules who pull a wagon on trail rides), ranch/cow horses, etc.

                      I am sure I can give tons more advice, but I'll stop now.
                      Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                      Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com


                      • Original Poster

                        I am not so much looking for advice just other people's opinions and experiences on the matter. I looked around a year ago when I was in the market for another horse but found any where either not sound enough to jump, they wanted too much for a green broke or unbroke horse and I did not see eye to eye with the contract. I wanted to be able to resale it if I ever have to any not loose money on the training I put into it. Also many rescue seem to have strict rules on how to feed, when to deworm, what to vaccinated with. I don't deworm on a 6-8 week basis- I do it per horse as needed based on the needs of that horse, and so on with other rules. I bought my own horse through an individual after deciding adoption was not for me. While I like the idea of it and would not mind doing it in the future, I was curious other people's thoughts.
                        Pro Slaughter
                        Anti Parelli


                        • #13
                          Ditto on Cowgirl Jenn. We refund monies if the horse is not what we represented it as or if it just does not fit. Our adoption policy differs from horse to horse honestly. You dont need to take a two year old unbroke horse from us, train it etc etc and then have to return it. We allow some sales no problem. Our adoption contract is to spare as much as humanly possible, horses falling through the cracks. Not to sell them to adopters in order to line our pockets. Our adoption fee is so cheap, it just covers there vetting. We dont sell them.

                          Do not adopt a horse from a rescue if it is not what you are looking for. Its already been saved. The only adoption we want is a successful one, the horses are safe.
                          Our horses are not seen as the old and disabled they may have become, but rather as the mighty steeds they once believed themselves to be.

                          Sunkissed Acres Rescue and Retirement


                          • #14
                            My family has adopted many of our horses. We adopted from a rescue that gave us full ownership after two years - all of ours are now owned by us. A couple of them were "free to a good home" because of disabilities, otherwise they were all reasonable adoption rates. One of them was originally $300 but they cut that in half when I got a wobbles diagnosis on him.

                            That said - we've now got to the point that we don't go through rescues anymore. We've figured out that the horses in rescues are already safe. Now I watch our local classifieds, craigslist, etc., and will purchase if I have room and finances for a new horse. My mother has gotten to the point that she is regularly offered nice horses for free or cheap. So it doesn't make a lot of sense for us to adopt from recognized rescues anymore.
                            If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
                            ~ Maya Angelou


                            • #15
                              I adopted a OTTB gelding from Leighton Farm that came with a warning on him for "high energy" - went to see him at track and he came down the barn aisle bucking every step - I loved him and brought him home two days after. My trainer loves him! I would do the adoption process again, my boy has turned out to be amazing. He trusts me implicitly and is will do anything I ask. I wouldn't trade/sell him for anything.


                              • #16
                                Let me preface this by saying that I donate to large and small animal rescues regularly, and I think the really good rescues do God's work.

                                Your task will be separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Look for rescues that take good care of their animals, have good reputations for rescue, rehab AND re-adoption, and contracts that you can actually live with. Whether or not you want to own the horse after a period of time, or are content allowing the rescue to retain that ownership throughout the life of the horse will have to be a decision made be you. I have heard positions on both side of this issue, and they are all valid.

                                However, that said, I personally find adopting a horse from a rescue to be too restrictive, and wouldn't really want to do it. To me the devils are in the details spelled out in the contracts, and sometimes the adoption fees are well beyond the worth of the horse. So, I purchase or take in free horses whose owners find themselves in difficult personal or financial straits. If you are experienced in horse care, have some money to work with in case medical intervention is needed, and have a good vet and trainer in the wings, then going the craigslist or local classifieds direction may be the way to go for you. There are plenty of horses in difficult home situations that will not be able to get into rescues this year. You may very well be able to find a great horse on your own. JMO.

                                If you don't have the time or experience to sort through the horses offered privately, and there is a rescue that has a good reputation for rescue, rehab and re-adoption, and the contract is reasonable enough for you to live with, then by all means go that route. Make a list of what it is you are looking for in a horse, include column for deal breaker traits you don't want to deal with, and try to stick to it.

                                Good luck with your search.

                                ETA: Have you checked the Giveaway Forum on this site? There are some nice horses looking for homes there, as well.
                                Last edited by Chief2; Oct. 25, 2010, 09:57 AM.
                                "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Tif_Ann View Post
                                  We've figured out that the horses in rescues are already safe.
                                  They are safe - but if they're not adopted out to make room for more, there are many others out there who aren't safe. If like Tif_Ann's mom, you can find and save your own and have the experience to put into the rehab. and evaluation, then that's a good route to go.

                                  However, while the horses in BEHS are safe, we turn away neglect case horses often because we just don't have any more room. We have to adopt these guys out to make room for the next set...
                                  Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                                  Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com


                                  • #18
                                    I adopted a pony from Bluebonnet Equine Rescue - www.behs.org

                                    It was a great experience and this pony is just the most wonderful pony ever born! Just yesterday my daughter had a playdate which results in 4 kids under the age of 4 riding it (all wearing helmets, being led and held on!) and then them taking turns to drag said pony around the arena.

                                    I'm aware of the breeding, resale etc restrictions but as I intend to keep the pony forever it doesn't bother me in the slightest. On the contrary I feel like I have a safety blanket because, if for any reason, I can't keep the pony anymore, they will take it back and find an approved home for it - no need to worry about it being sold on to some crappy home with yahoo kids! - especially in this economy.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by cowgirljenn View Post
                                      They are safe - but if they're not adopted out to make room for more, there are many others out there who aren't safe. If like Tif_Ann's mom, you can find and save your own and have the experience to put into the rehab. and evaluation, then that's a good route to go.
                                      You beat me to it.

                                      Sure, every horse in a (good) rescue is safe. But the longer they stay in that rescue, it just means they're taking up a space that could be used to rescue another horse. A single person might save a couple horses in a year. A dedicated horse rescue, if they can continue to find homes, can save many times that number.

                                      And I think people get confused on the adoption fee thing. You're not paying the adoption fee for the "value" of the horse. Most rescue horses, to be honest, are not all that valuable, as far as the horse market goes (if they were, they likely would not have needed rescue). Most rescue horses I've met are good backyard horses, trail horses, low level show horses, that sort of thing. Pretty much means their "value" is unlikely to top say...$2000 and likely be far under that, if someone were trying to sell them on the open market.

                                      What you have to keep in mind, though, is that most rescues don't make money. They don't necessarily get lots of donations or sponsorships or grants (and horse grant money has gotten increasingly slim over time). The people running them have jobs as well was doing the rescue and are staffed by volunteers (at least, in my experience as a rescue volunteer). And rescuing horses is not cheap, even if it's a cheap horse. After all, if you pick one up at, say, New Holland, you then have to quarantine it for a minimum of three weeks, you'll want to get it checked out by a vet, you'll have to ensure it has all its shots, it will probably need remedial farrier care, and it's probably skinny so you'll have to take care with its diet. So the rescue's already spent quite a bit just to rehab the horse. Does it need training? Can the rescue do it in-house or will it have to be sent to a trainer? After quarantine, rehab, and training, the horse has already been there a couple months and only now is it really available for adoption.

                                      And this is all assuming that the horse was relatively healthy and didn't require surgery or treatment for disease.

                                      If a rescue isn't getting much outside funding in the way of donations/sponsorships, the only way they have to recoup what they've put into the horses they rescue (so they can go rescue more) is to ask an adoption fee that somewhat approaches what they put into it.
                                      The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                                      Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


                                      • #20
                                        I've adopted from Saddlebred Rescue, and it was a good experience. Basically, a purchase with accountability. They checked me out to make sure the horse has a good home, then they follow up periodically to be sure the horse still has a safe and appropriate home. If it didn't work out, I could swap for a different horse. If at sometime I am not able to care for the horse, they would step in and rehome the horse or have her euthanised if appropriate.

                                        The horse had registration papers, and they required that SBR be put in as a co owner, but I had the papers. I was able to breed her, and do with her as I see fit. I was also able to find her a suitable new home on my own as long as the new owner is an approved adopter.

                                        It is a very good "adoption" situation. Especially since SBR screens their match making very well. They have a trainer on staff to evaluate the horses and work with them if they need some further education to make them useful.
                                        Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans