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Taking in a Rescue Horse

Taking in a rescue horse can be a wonderful experience. Each day, there are unwanted horses waiting at with rescue groups for just the right home. Some groups or shelters specialize in particular breeds of horses, while others may have a variety of breed and ages.

One of the first decisions you must make when considering taking in a rescue horse is whether or not a specific breed is important to you. There are many groups that specialize in rescue and adoption of particular breeds of horses; check the Internet for a group near you. One of the easiest ways to find rescue groups is to type the breed name, followed by the word “rescue” into an Internet search engine. If breed is not important, you can simply search using the phrase “horse rescue.” It may take some time to find a group that is geographically close enough to you to make taking in a rescue horse feasible. A local equine vet or the staff at local stables may also be good resources for locating groups or individuals who have horses for adoption.

Be prepared to take some time in the process of taking in a rescue horse. A decision like this should never be spur-of-the-moment, and matching available horses and interested owners can take some time. If you are working with a rescue organization, be prepared to fill out applications and possibly go through interviews. These groups want to make sure they are placing each horse in a truly permanent home. Make sure you have the opportunity to actually see the horse and, ideally, have the horse checked by an equine vet to ensure he is healthy.

Be sure you have the time to devote to a new horse before taking in a rescue horse. Many horses with rescue groups may have been abused or abandoned, and will need special attention. While some rescue horses are truly sound to ride for riders of any level, taking in a rescue horse usually requires an experienced rider who has the time and patience to work with and train (or re-train) the horse.

Most rescue groups charge a fee for processing the adoption, others ask that you make a donation to their organization. Be sure to review any contracts carefully before signing. Some rescue organizations do not give you complete ownership of the horse until after a specified period of time has passed; some rescues also reserve the right to make unannounced stable visits for a certain period of time. Overall, the financial expense of taking in a rescue horse is usually much lower than the cost of buying one outright, but the emotional payoff is so much greater.

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