Giving sick, abused and unwanted horses a second chance.

Adopting or Fostering a Horse

horse adoption

What Are Horse Helpers’ Goals?

Horse Helpers’ goal is to rescue and rehabilitate equine in need, additionally, we strive to find the best possible home for our rescues. We do not sell horses! We attempt to successfully adopt/match a horse with an adopter. This is one reason we require the completion of a lengthy adoption application and a home visit. The better we understand your needs, the greater the chance of a successful adoption. With these goals in mind, we agree, and require, that should a placement not work for any reason, the equine will be returned to us. As an adopter you will be agreeing to provide your adopted equine with appropriate housing, feeding, and health care. You agree to never use your horse for breeding, resale, or give the horse away. You will not relocate your horse without permission from Horse Helpers.

What Is the Process?

Before a Horse Helpers equine may be adopted the following steps must be followed:

  • An adoption application should be completed including the submission of two personal references.
  • Upon receiving the application, Horse Helpers will contact your references and schedule an appointment to do a home visit of the property where the horse will be kept. If the horse will be kept on your private property and be cared for solely by you, we will assess your ability to properly care for the horse.
  • Home visit (steps 3 and 4 may occur simultaneously).
  • Next, a decision will be made regarding your application. If we do not have a horse that fits your needs at such a time, your application will be kept on file and you will receive the first opportunity to adopt a compatible horse when one becomes available. Understand that not all applications are approved. We reserve the right to deny an adoption for any reason and we are not obligated to state that reason.
  • Generally, during a scheduled appointment, you will work with the horse in which you are interested with a Horse Helpers representative. Before commencing this evaluation session you must sign a Release Form. This time allows you, the horse, and representative to evaluate and ensure the compatibility of horse and rider.
  • When all requirements are met and adoption approval confirmed a permanent adoption contract will be completed. This document specifies all the terms and conditions required to adopt a Horse Helpers rescue.
  • Payment in full of the adoption donation must be made at the time of adoption. We accept cash or check. A Coggins test is required for all equine traveling on public highways; this cost is covered by Horse Helpers. We can deliver your horse for a $40.00 equipment use fee plus $1.00 a mile round trip. Your new horse must be picked up or delivered within ten days of the completion of the adoption contract. If the horse is not picked up within those ten days a boarding fee of $10.00 per day will be assessed and must be paid before the equine leaves Horse Helpers’ facilities. If, after one month the horse is still in the Horse Helpers care it will be placed back up for adoption and the adoption fee will be considered a donation to Horse Helpers.
  • If you plan to board your horse, a boarding form must be completed by the boarding facility.
  • After the adoption is completed Horse Helpers reserves the right to conduct unscheduled follow-up visits, at minimum, on an annual basis. Further, we may require you to submit health statements from a qualified vet and or farrier. If we determine the equine is not receiving the necessary care Horse Helper may immediately repossess the equine at your expense. You will not be reimbursed for the adoption fee. We do not take repossession lightly and first will attempt to help you remedy any perceived problem. Should there be no satisfactory remedy we will reclaim the equine. Some examples of situations that might warrant reclamation include danger to the horse or to you, neglect, or lack of feed.

How Are Fees Determined?

Adoption fees vary depending on a horse’s rideability, preexisting health problems, the history, age, etc. A horse’s rehabilitation costs are not considered; we are not trying to make a profit! We want to educate people and support the rescue of equine in need. Often, very often, the expense of a horse far exceeds their “market value.” Thus we believe a price should be based on a horse’s ability, training, and future use, among other things. The cost of a companion horse/pasture pal ranges from $0 to $300. Horses suitable to be ridden range in price from $300-$1200.

Why do I have to Pay an Adoption Fee?

If you evaluate the expenses involved in the care of each horse you will understand that adoption costs of any of our rescues is very reasonable. Horse keeping requires a tremendous financial and personal commitment. Horse Helpers is dependent on donations from people like you and money from grants to rescue, rehabilitate, and maintain the animals in our care. Your adoption fee only begins to cover our expenses. We have no management expenses, no paid employees, all of our donations are returned directly to the rescue. All work is accomplished because of your support and through volunteers. When you pay a fee the money goes save another needy equine.

To your benefit, you can rest assured that you are adopting a horse that was fully evaluated for health or behavioral problems. Long term issues are represented to you up front. The horse will have received its annual vaccinations, any transient illness will have been resolved, and all dental and hoof work up to date. This costs the rescue a tremendous amount of money and time. You will find horses much cheaper, but you may not have the benefit of the owner’s knowledge about the horse and it will probably not have had its hooves, teeth and other health care up to date. You can also find horses for more money or the same amount of money. Usually, all the benefits listed above will be available to you. What you won’t gain is the joy of saving an animal in need. Rescuing and working with a horse to overcome its fears and anxiety builds a bond unmatched with an animal that has never known need!

Why Don’t I Gain Full Ownership of a Horse Upon Adoption?

As we mentioned above, our rescue is about saving animals in need, and then rehoming them. We are not selling horses; we are not horse traders! To protect all of our rescues we must hold co-ownership of any animals we adopt. This protects you from a possible crisis; you know that we are always there to protect your horse if circumstances are such that you are unable to—and it protects the horse so that it may not be bred, sold, or sent to auction or slaughter.

How Can Horse Helpers Help You?

Throughout the adoption process we are evaluating which horse/s best suit your needs and ability. You are gaining the combined years of knowledge available from Horse Helpers and their experts. A horse is delivered wearing a halter and using a lead line. These are yours. In addition you receive detailed instructions regarding diet and health needs. Unlike dog rescues, we spend a tremendous amount of time with each equine that comes to our facility; we readily share the knowledge we gain about your new family member, including available history, training tips, and personality. We remain available to you long after the adoption. Horse Helpers is there for you for “the long haul”!

What Horse Helpers Will Be Looking for at a Home Evaluation?

When we come to your home or facility for the home evaluation or later when we visit after your horse is adopted and settled into its new home, we will be looking at the shelter, outdoor facilities, feeding habits, available water, fencing, and vet and farrier care. Many things involved in the care of equine seem fundamental. For example, all equine must have some form of shelter in all weather conditions; you must have access to some sort of contained area in case of injury; and all horses must have a companion like a goat, horse, or pony. If you are a first time horse owner and plan to house the horse on your property you have to exhibit the ability to properly care for your horse under normal circumstances. Below are more details regarding the things we look for when we visit. If you are interested in adopting a special needs equine this list may include other areas of evaluation.


  • Reliable and sufficient electrical lighting to daily assess your equine’s condition.
  • A designated area for the disposal of bedding material, manure and other debris to reduce the risk of vermin, odors, or disease.
  • Availability of mineral supplements or salt block.
  • First aid materials for equine.
  • Tools for grooming, feeding, clean up, storage of food, etc.
  • The shelter must include, at least three sides and a roof and be structurally sound.
  • Trash and other debris should not be accessible to the animal.
  • No standing water.
  • Shelter must be of adequate size for the number of horses and size of horses intended.
  • Opening to shelter must be large enough to reduce tension among the animals in the pasture.
  • Shelter must be well ventilated.
  • Stalls must be adequate in size and height to the horses if your horse is stabled in a barn. They will have box stalls not standing stalls. They shall be made out of materials designed to house an equine without risk of injury and to protect them from neighboring horses.
  • Bedding in stalls or shelter must allow for comfort and safety.
  • Shelters and stalls will be kept clean, dry, and free from excessive mold, dust, ammonia odors, or manure.
  • If a shelter or stall floor is concrete or wood, mats shall be provided.

Feeding Habits

  • All grains should be kept in clean dry storage secure from horses and free of contaminants,
  • Hay must be nutritionally appropriate and free of contaminants or mildew,
  • Hay must be stored in a well-ventilated dry area,
  • Square bales of hay are less susceptible to mold and mildew and thus are better suited to horses’ digestion.
  • Grain should be fed in sufficient quantity with appropriate nutrition based on health, age, breed, and work.
  • Horses must be fed separately to ensure that each horse receives a sufficient quantity.
  • Natural forage or hay should be available on a daily basis.
  • When feeding grain horses should be fed two times a day.

Water Supply

  • All water and water receptacles should be free of contaminants.
  • Water should be continuously running if it comes from a stream or pond and free from ice in the winter.
  • Water containers should be heated in winter or in some way kept free from ice.
  • Sufficient quantities of water and water receptacles must be available.

Outdoor Facilities

  • Areas where horses are turned out should be free of debris or sharp objects.
  • Fences and gates should be sturdy and in good repair. Gates must have secure latches.
  • All outdoor areas should be free of poisonous plants, trees and shrubs.


  • Fencing should be comprised of three board fencing with wood posts or vinyl fencing, wire mesh squares with wood posts if wire mesh squares are too small for a horse’s hoof, electric fencing.
  • Barbed wire can be used in small areas; it may be acceptable in large pastureland depending on the quantity of animals on the pasture.
  • Most fencing will be evaluated case by case depending on the horse and environment.

Necessary Veterinary and Farrier Care

All horses adopted from Horse Helpers should receive immediate veterinary care in the case of known or suspected injury, signs of shock, colic, founder, tremors, broken bones, inability to eat or drink, blistering as a result of fire, acid, etc., irregular or abnormal breathing, partial or total paralysis, signs of disease, severe parasitic infestation or infection, loss of appetite, weight loss, abnormal skin condition or hair loss, temperature fluctuation, persistent diarrhea, lameness or other such signs.

The following are required for all adopted equine:

  • Hoof Care-Hoof care maintenance and trimming shall be done every six to eight weeks. (Some equine may require more frequent care. If so, that will be listed in the adoption contract.)
  • Parasite Control-Horses must be dewormed every six to eight weeks.
  • Dental check up and necessary treatment.
  • All Horse Helper horses must be vaccinated by a VET with EWT, Rabies, Rhino, Flu & PHF. Your veterinarian, due to your specific area or locale may recommend other vaccinations.
  • Additional care will be listed in your adoption contract.


  • All horses housed on the property shall be in good health with no obvious eye problems, open sores, or unattended injuries. Hair coat should be good quality.
  • A minimum of three acres of land is required to house two horses.
  • Some adopted horses may have special requirements based on their limitations.