Celebrating One Year of Helping Horses in Oklahoma and Beyond

December 29, 2022

The ASPCA’s Equine Transition and Adoption Center (ETAC) pilot recently celebrated its one-year anniversary of supporting horses across the state of Oklahoma. ETAC is an expansion of a previous program allowing owners in the Oklahoma City area to access free veterinary services, humane euthanasia or a safe place to rehome their horse. In late 2021, the program expanded its scope to begin supporting the entire state of Oklahoma and began implementing strategies that aim to solve the challenges that prevents some horses from efficiently finding homes in shelters around the country. 

More specifically, the program focuses on developing groundbreaking training and behavior modification methods to help untrained or minimally trained horses make progress toward being able to be safely handled by most adopters. ETAC is also working to develop marketing methods to find wonderful homes for horses who are older, unrideable or have medical challenges. The combined focus on training and marketing reflects the areas of work that most equine adoption groups find challenging. 

The program’s impact extends beyond Oklahoma, with the goal of sharing ETAC’s learnings with other rescues nationwide. 

Close up on a brown horse looking out a stable window

Since launching the original program, the ASPCA has helped more than 400 horses, including almost 100 horses in the past year. Many of these horses stayed safe at home with their owners, and several were relinquished to ETAC and our Partners for rehoming. ETAC’s Training and Behavior specialist has logged nearly 1,000 training sessions to help ETAC’s horses transition into adoptive homes. To date, 16 horses have graduated from the program and been adopted.

“At ETAC, we’re working to break down the training and marketing barriers that delay horses in finding adoptive homes. In the pilot program’s first year we’ve continued to serve our community, developed groundbreaking training protocols, and learned how to better connect horses to homes,” shared Senior Director of Equine Welfare, Tom Persechino. “The pilot program is still young, and we have worked with numerous breeds, horses of all ages, and horses once trained but later turned out for decades. As we’re learning, we’re sharing those insights with Partners and other communities and seeing the impact ripple beyond Oklahoma. Best of all, we are proving that it—progress to help horses transition—can be accomplished.”

a woman riding a brown and white horse

In the coming year—its second serving the full state—ETAC will continue offering veterinary services, including humane euthanasia if that is what is needed, to vulnerable horses and offer a place for safe rehoming for Oklahoma owners in need. The pilot program will continue developing and documenting training, behavior and marketing methods to help horses, and the ASPCA will offer grants and educational programs with Partner shelters that want to implement these learnings with the goal of helping more horses nationwide.

If you’re interested in adopting a horse from ETAC, visit myrighthorse.org to meet the currently available horses. If you’re in the state of Oklahoma and need help, or if you’d like to become a volunteer or foster home, contact [email protected] for more information. Oklahoma residents also can help by contacting their local equine (large animal) veterinarian and encouraging their practice to partner with us (reimbursable funds are available for participating clinics), or by reaching out to industry and breed groups and urging them to learn more about the important work being piloted in Oklahoma.