Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society

What to Do When You Cannot Keep Your Horse

By Dr. Jennifer Williams

Although none of us can imagine ever parting with our beloved equine, sometimes something like illness or loss of job forces us to begin searching for a new home. You might worry about selling him since you can’t properly screen the homes, and you don’t want to send him to an auction where he may end up on a truck headed to the slaughter house to the slaughter house. Luckily, there ARE other options for your equines.

Donating to a Rescue

Since Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society focuses on helping abused and neglected horses, we rarely take in donated horses. Exceptions are made if the donor is willing to become an approved foster home and foster their horse until he/she is adopted. You can learn more about becoming an approved foster home on our foster page. However there are other rescues throughout the United States that you may place your horse with. If you decide to donate your equine to a rescue, here are a few things to check out:

  • If you would like your donation to be tax deductible, are they a 501(c)(3) organization? Ask for their EIN (also known as Tax ID Number) and/or a copy of the determination letter from the IRS granting them 501(c)(3) status.
  • Ask for a copy of their donation contract and policies to preview before donating.
  • Ask for a copy of their adoption policies so you’ll know how your horse will be adopted out.
  • Ask to speak to other donors. You can ask those donors about their experiences donating to the rescue.

Placing In A Sanctuary

If you are not interested in allowing your horse to be adopted by another person or if you feel he or she has health or behavioral problems that require your horse retires, check out a sanctuary. Sanctuaries provide a place for horses to live out there lives – safe and cared for. Check out a sanctuary using the guidelines for checking out rescues above.

Black Beauty Ranch – Texas
Ryers Farm – Pennsylvania

Contact us to add a sanctuary to this list.

Donating to a Therapuetic Riding Program

Calm, quiet, ridable horses can be put to good use by therapeutic riding programs. However, if you decide to donate your animal to one, you should check out their program. Again, if a tax deductible donation is important to you, ask for their EIN or determination letter. Also, ask them what will be done with your equine if he or she is no longer usable in the program or if the program disbands. Some (not all!) programs will send unusable equines to auction.

NARHA – Find a Therapeutic Riding Program

Donating to a School

This can be a college or university or other school that has horseback riding programs or horse reproduction programs. Check out what they will be using your equine for. Also, check out where your equine will go once it is no longer usable in their program - a lot of schools send unusable horses to auction.

Leasing Your Horse

Some people aren’t ready to completely give up their equine, and a lease is one way to keep your animal closer to you. Leases take on many forms from partial leases (you and the leasee share your animal), to ‘free’ leases (the leasee pays all expenses of the animal and has full use but does not pay you a fee), to paid leases where the leasee pays you for the use of your animal. If you decide to lease your equine, use a contract. Write down what your responsibilities are and what the leasee’s responsibilities are. Write up what will happen if your equine is hurt or dies, and who is responsible for what costs and care. There are lease contracts available on the web, and you may want to check one out.

We hope these suggestions will help you when it is time for you to find your equine a new home.