Helping Steady Find a Home Through the ASPCA Horse Adoption Express
The ASPCA works to ensure good welfare for all equines with an intertwining set of programs designed to support horses and their owners. Through our equine adoption program, The Right Horse Initiative, we work closely with a network of equine shelters and rehoming groups around the country. Because location can be a barrier that prevents the right horse from efficiently finding their right person, we recently took the learnings from our dog-and-cat animal relocation work and launched an equine transport program to move horses between Partner shelters called the ASPCA Horse Adoption Express.
Through the ASPCA Horse Adoption Express, one retired racehorse in Florida named More Than Steady found himself on a Michigan-bound trailer.
More Than Steady, known around the barn as “Steady,” started his journey on the racetrack. His caretakers retired him responsibly and wanted to ensure that he’d have a healthy and safe transition into a new career, so they turned to an ASPCA Right Horse Partner, Florida TRAC, to find him an adoptive home.
Florida TRAC recognized that Steady was more likely to find an adopter in an area that wasn’t as saturated with retiring racehorses. Another Partner of the ASPCA’s Right Horse Initiative, Horses’ Haven, located in Michigan, frequently has adopters looking for horses like Steady—so in April, the team at Florida TRAC loaded Steady onto the Horse Adoption Express and wished him well on his journey north.
A Fateful Encounter
Bailey G., an Animal Control Officer at Saginaw County Animal Care, was excited to attend a training session at Horses’ Haven. Bailey had grown up riding horses, but had stopped riding in her high school years to pursue other interests.
During the training, Bailey and her team practiced examining lip tattoos to better identify horses. During the training session, the horses they were using to practice identification were loose in the pasture with the team. Bailey found herself drawn to Steady—and likewise, Steady kept seeking out Bailey during the session.
“Out of all the horses, Steady walked up to me and stayed with me for the duration of that portion of the training. I enjoyed his calm demeanor and kind eyes,” remembers Bailey about the inquisitive gelding.
When Bailey returned home that evening, she couldn’t stop thinking about the kind-eyed horse she’d spent the day with. She conferred with her family and decided to apply to adopt him.
Steadily Connecting Good People to Good Horses
Shortly after beginning the process to adopt, Bailey received a call that’d change her life forever. After speaking with the adoption team at Horses’ Haven, she set up an appointment to visit and ride Steady before completing the adoption process, and it quickly became apparent that they’d be a good match for each other.
“I went to go ride Steady and fell in love all over again. It meant a lot to be able to get a horse, let alone adopt a horse,” she recalls.
Soon after, Steady came home, and Bailey delighted in the process of getting to know her new horse. She learned that his name was well-suited to his laidback personality, and despite being a retired racehorse, he preferred a leisurely pace over the speed required in his former career.
“My favorite thing about Steady is his calm demeanor,” enthuses Bailey. “Although he can be stubborn, he is very calm in almost every situation. He is also very patient when he needs to be. In fact, I am currently working on getting Steady to trot and canter for long periods of time, because this ex-racehorse does not like to move very fast for very long.”
Bailey has taken the process of getting to know Steady slowly, allowing time for the two to develop their partnership. Their favorite activity is hitting the trails together, where Steady’s calm and kind personality shines with the unpredictability of riding outside.
“We have been on a couple trail rides, and he does amazingly well on the trails,” Bailey explains. “My future plans with Steady are to continue riding him leisurely and take him on different trail rides.”
Bailey recognizes how special their bond is and has now become an advocate for equine adoption, saying, “He is one of the best horses I have ever owned. Adoption gives horses a new start at life and a new purpose.”
Thanks to the collaboration between multiple partners of the ASPCA’s Right Horse Initiative, Steady found his way to his right person. Steady found a wonderful home within weeks of arriving in Michigan, and Bailey has reconnected with her love for horses through her newly adopted Thoroughbred. The ASPCA’s Horse Adoption Express is making it easier for the #RightHorse to find their right person through adoption.
Feeling inspired and ready to adopt a horse of your own? Visit myrighthorse.org to browse hundreds of adoptable horses nationwide by breed, sex or discipline.