Adopting a rescue horse can be a wonderful way to get into horse ownership or to add to your existing herd. While it’s easy to browse through rescue listings and fall in love with the horses available, here are three things you should consider before starting your rescue horse search.
What is your lifestyle like?
Before you start searching for your rescue horse, take a moment to evaluate your overall lifestyle. Consider things like:
- Do you own your own property or will you be boarding?
- If you plan on boarding your rescue horse, have you already found the facility and established a relationship with the owner, barn manager and/or other necessary staff? Oftentimes boarding facilities have requirements that must be fulfilled before they accept clients. Oftentimes these requirements include specific vaccinations and proper notice before moving in. You’ll want to make sure you are aware of those beforehand.
- If you will be keeping your rescue horse at home, make sure your property is set up to accommodate another horse. This may mean adding an additional stall or fencing, extra water buckets and buckets for feeding as well as other stable supplies.
- How frequently do you plan on visiting, riding or exercising your horse? Making sure you have enough time to balance horse care with work, school, home life and other activities is important.
- Do you have plans to move in the forseeable future? (For example: College or planned job change)
What is your budget?
If you already own horses, you know that buying a horse isn’t the expensive part—proper care and management are where the true cost lies. If you’re new to horse ownership, read that last part again! It’s important to have a realistic budget in mind before you start your horse search. When it comes to budgeting for a new horse, costs to consider include:
- Board, or if you are keeping you horse at home, supplies like:
- Bedding (wood shavings, pelleted bedding, straw, etc.)
- Tack including:
- Halter and lead
- Saddle and saddle pad
- Girth or cinch
- Blankets (fly sheets, winter blankets, etc.)
- Grooming supplies including:
- Other routine costs including:
- Horse insurance
- Veterinary costs (emergency and routine)
- Farrier (for hoof trimming or shoes)
- Training (this could include regular lessons with your trainer, clinics, training for your horse with a professional, etc.)
What are your goals?
Being clear about your goals for you and your newly adopted horse can make your search go more smoothly. Your goals and the type of riding you want to do influence which horses will be the best match for you. Also, being able to explain what your goals are to the rescue staff can help them pair you with the horse they feel best suits your needs.
When thinking about your goals for your new horse, it can be helpful to consider:
- Riding. Do you plan on riding your rescue horse?
- Discipline. What discipline would you like to ride your adopted horse? Not all horses excel in every discipline, but the rescue staff can help you choose a horse that would suit your riding style.
- Athletic ability. Will you be asking your horse to do high intensity activities like jumping, endurance or reining maneuvers? If so, you will need a horse without any physical limitations. This is an important thing to let the rescue staff know so they can match you with a horse that is a good physical match.
Making sure you’re prepared to bring home a rescue horse is the first step in your adoption journey. Considering your lifestyle, budget and goals ensure that you adopt not only a great rescue horse, but a wonderful equine partner.