Promoting Horse Adoptions through The Right Horse Initiative


The right horse is out there for every rider. The trick is matching that horse to that special person. That’s part of the philosophy behind The Right Horse initiative, a joint effort of several horse and animal welfare organizations.

According to The Right Horse, the average horse will have seven different owners in his lifetime. This in itself isn’t necessarily a negative thing, but each time a horse transitions between one home to the next, the risk of ending up in a bad situation exists. That’s where The Right Horse focuses its attention in order to pair horses and riders who will be a good match for each other.

Trail Riders

The Right Horse is currently working on pilot programs in three different areas.

Training Adoptable Horses

The horses that are most likely to find good adoptive homes are the ones that have solid training. Some horses that enter the adoption system need some retraining, finishing, or a tune-up. Others may be completely unbroke and need to be trained from the ground up. Many equine rescues and adoption organizations don’t have the time, facilities, and other resources to serve as a training organization in addition to facilitating care and adoption.

The Right Horse is currently running a program at Harmony Equine Center in Colorado in which local equine organizations can bring horses in for training. Once they’ve received necessary training, they can be adopted or returned to the original organization to facilitate adoption. This pilot program serves as a model for regional training centers which could ultimately be replicated in other parts of the country.

Horse Owner Resources

Many cases of neglect happen because responsible horse owners fall on hard times or lack the education or resources to properly care for their animals. The Right Horse aims to prevent these situations from happening in the first place by providing community resources for horse owners. Some of these resources include open admission shelters, where horse owners can surrender their horse at no cost, and end-of-life support where euthanasia is the more humane—but financially challenging—choice for a horse.

Equine Welfare and Industry Cooperation

The Right Horse aims to benefit both adoptable horses and the equine industry by promoting collaboration between the different sides of the horse world. These programs will help fill the needs of various segments of the horse industry with horses that need homes and jobs. An early pilot program in this intiative is a collaboration between New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program and the U.S. Pony Clubs. In this program, New Vocations provides adoptable Thoroughbreds to Pony Club members along with a stipend to help cover the costs of caring for the horse. This allows young riders to have a horse to use for Pony Club activities and provides off-track Thoroughbreds the care and love they need.

Learn more about the programs, finding an adoptable horse, and more at

Leslie Potter is a writer and photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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Leslie Potter is a graduate of William Woods University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Equestrian Science with a concentration in saddle seat riding and a minor in Journalism/Mass Communications. She is currently a writer and photographer in Lexington, KY.Potter worked as a barn manager and riding instructor and was a freelance reporter and photographer for the Horsemen's Yankee Pedlar and Saddle Horse Report before moving to Lexington to join Horse Illustrated as Web Editor from 2008 to 2019. Her current equestrian pursuits include being a grown-up lesson kid at an eventing barn and trail riding with her senior Morgan gelding, Snoopy.


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