5 Ways to Take the Reins and Get Involved with Horses!
If you’re curious about horses and want to get more involved with these amazing animals, we’ve compiled a few easy ways to help you get started. There are countless benefits to riding and spending time with horses, and there’s likely already a thriving community of equine enthusiasts and businesses in your area waiting to introduce you and your family to the joy of horses.
And remember: If you like horses but would prefer to keep both feet on the ground, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy horses without ever saddling up!
1. Take a horsemanship lesson. All around the country, there are thousands of public stables that specialize in introducing people to horses. They often care for a special group of lesson horses who are well trained and perfect for a beginner to learn the ropes. While most of these instructors specialize in teaching riding, they can also teach proper horsemanship on the ground if you’re looking to gain confidence and experience working with horses without stepping into the saddle. The ASPCA’s Right Horse Partner, the Certified Horsemanship Association, certifies horsemanship instruction professionals and has a great online resource for finding certified instructors in your community.
2. Volunteer with a local adoption group. Volunteering can be a great way to get your feet wet and learn more about caring for horses. Many quality adoption organizations have programs to train their volunteers in basic horse handling and grooming skills, regardless of prior horse experience. This can be a great way to improve your comfort level while also giving back and helping at-risk horses. You might be asked to do barn chores like cleaning stalls, filling water and feeding in addition to hands-on activities like grooming adoptable horses. Find a partner of the ASPCA’s Right Horse Initiative and learn more about volunteering.
3. If you’re ready for the commitment and joy that comes with equine ownership, consider jumping right in and adopting your first horse. That’s right—adopt! Adoption is for everyone, whether you’ve had years of horse experience or are brand new to horses. The ASPCA’s Right Horse Adoption Partners are experts at welcoming first-time horse owners and provide adopters with lifelong support. They may provide educational resources and opportunities in your community to help you prepare for your new journey, and will likely match you with a more experienced horse to show you the ropes of equine ownership and riding. Learn more about what to expect from our friends at Horse Illustrated, and browse adoptable horses on myrighthorse.org.
4. For the kids: If you’ve got youngsters in your life who want to start riding horses, check out the ASPCA’s Right Horse Partner, Time to Ride, which works with a nationwide network of barns and instructors to introduce kids and horses. They have a library of resources to help your family decide the type of riding, and riding facility, that’s right for you. Explore Time to Ride and find riding resources for your family.
5. If you’ve got spare land and a desire to learn more about horses without the commitment of ownership, consider becoming a foster home. Of course, land alone isn’t the only thing you need, but if you’ve got horse-safe fencing and a shed, you might be a great candidate to become a critically needed foster home. Fostering a horse gives you the opportunity to explore equine ownership and improve your horsemanship skills while receiving support from the adoption organization or shelter. Plus, you’ll be a hero for horses by playing a critical role in helping the rescue maintain capacity and leverage their resources to help more vulnerable horses. Find a fosterable horse in your community and learn more about the process of becoming an equine foster.