August 29, 2019

The Keys to Helping Horses Find Homes

By ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker

There are more than 7.2 million owned equines in the U.S., and many of these horses will have more than one owner in their lifetimes. When horses move from one career to the next, they can become lost in that transition and end up among the tens of thousands of equines in shelters and rescues around the country. Finding each of them a safe home is a job no one organization, community or individual can do alone—the problem is just too vast. But while the challenge to these animals is obvious, the opportunity to help is just as clear. 

ASPCA research suggests there could be at least 1.25 million households in the U.S. with the resources and desire to adopt a horse in need, which is more than enough. Our challenge—as a large community of horse lovers—is connecting homeless and at-risk horses with responsible people who want and need them. Not only does this provide safe environments for at-risk horses, it also creates room at equine shelters for other horses in need and raises critical awareness of these issues within the community.

One of the most exciting and impactful ways we foster those horse-to-home connections is through our annual Help a Horse HomeSM: ASPCA Equine Adoption Challenge, which invites equine welfare organizations across America to increase their adoption numbers over a two-month period from the previous year. Focusing on impact as much as effort, the 2019 Challenge showcased an impressive level of commitment: Over 170 equine groups, representing 41 states and Puerto Rico, participated from April 26-June 30.

This year, these groups proved there are many great homes for horses. We were inspired to see more than 1,500 equines adopted in just over two months. 

Twelve winners received $150,000 in funding, with grants ranging from $1,250 to $35,000 to help them further their adoption efforts. See a full list of all HAHH participants.

The positive spirit of these participants was evident in their dedication and ingenuity. Some of these groups organized public trail rides with adoptable horses and entered their adoptable horses into competitions, while others partnered with local trainers to increase their impact. Many groups used video and social media in creative and engaging ways.

I congratulate the grant winners listed below and thank our generous HAHH sponsors Zoetis, Conair, The Right Horse and United Horse Council. 

In addition to rewarding individual accomplishments, the Challenge demonstrates that when equine rescues, shelters, sanctuaries and industry leaders combine efforts and resources, we achieve our shared lifesaving goal: Helping more horses home. 

You too can help horses by supporting one of the HAHH Challenge participants or an equine welfare organization in your community. Once connected, you may be surprised by the difference you can make together.

 2019 Help a Horse Home Adoption Challenge winners

GRAND PRIZE WINNER: 

Yavapai Humane Society (Chino Valley, Arizona)

DIVISION WINNERS: 

  • New Vocations (Lexington, Kentucky)
  • Denver Dumb Friends League (Denver, Colorado)
  • This Old Horse (Hastings, Minnesota)
  • Hope's Legacy Equine Rescue (Afton, Virginia)
  • Morgan Safenet Foundation (Midlothian, Texas)
  • M&M Acres NFP (Lockport, Illinois)
  • Carolina Equine Rescue & Assistance (Wingate, North Carolina)
  • Asheville Humane Society (Asheville, North Carolina)
  • Owl Hollow Farm (Lone Jack, Missouri)

HOOFY AWARD (For best use of social media): 

  • Humane Society of North Texas (Fort Worth, Texas)
  • The Foxie G Foundation (Union Bridge, Maryland)
  • New Vocations (Lexington, Kentucky)