Congratulations – You're Thinking About Adopting a Horse!
Congratulations! You’ve decided to bring a new horse home and are excited to investigate equine adoption. As you start the search for your new equine bestie, there are a few important questions to ask yourself. These’ll help guide your search and ensure you end up with your right horse.
1. What are your goals with your horse?
This question is a great place to start—and if you don’t know, that’s okay, too! Horses, like people, are unique and have inclinations toward certain lifestyles or riding disciplines. If you want to trail ride, you’ll likely be looking for a horse who’s calm outside of an arena and is brave around new obstacles and situations. If you’d like to learn to jump one day, you might want to consider a breed of horse that has shown an aptitude for over-fence disciplines (such as a Thoroughbred). Some adopters simply love the sound of a happy horse munching hay; feeding and caring for their horses is their main goal!
2. What is your experience level with horses?
When looking for a horse, it’s important to be thoughtful about your experience level and capabilities. Talk to the adoption agency about your background, whether you’ve taken lessons, volunteered, or owned a horse before, and share your comfort level with different aspects of horse care. There’s a horse for every person—whether you have years of experience or are brand new—and making a smart match is necessary to keep both you and your horse safe. If you’re less experienced, you’ll likely want a horse with more training and a calm personality so you can safely learn the ropes of horse ownership.
3. Who will be helping you with your horse?
Many horse owners have some sort of professional help. It’s important to have someone who can help you advance your skills and support you through any unfamiliar situations. If you don’t already have a riding instructor or trainer, it may be a good idea to investigate options in your community and start a relationship.
4. Where will you keep your horse?
If you don’t already have a plan in place for where you’ll keep your new horse, that’s okay! Our ASPCA Right Horse Adoption Partners can help you find a good barn in your community. You can also visit a local tack or feed store to ask for recommendations.
5. What are you most looking forward to with your new horse?
It may seem obvious but spend some time considering what types of activities you’re looking forward to. For many people, it may be the time spent at the barn grooming, feeding and bathing your horse. If that’s the case, make sure you tell the adoption group that you’re looking for a horse who enjoys being groomed (some don’t find being brushed enjoyable!). Or, if you’re looking forward to riding with friends, make sure your new horse enjoys being ridden in a herd. Thinking about these smaller moments can help you narrow in and find your perfect match.
Now that you have a plan, be prepared to be flexible on the things that may not matter so much, like breed and color, and even things like size or age in some cases. Visit myrighthorse.org to start your horse search, and remember: the right horse is never in the wrong place. If you find a horse through myrighthorse.org who is more than 250 miles from you, the ASPCA has special support available that may help get them home. Happy horse searching!