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Horse Adoption, Welfare, and Charities

Making Horse Adoption Easier

Photo by Flystock/Shutterstock

What if adopting a horse became as commonplace as adopting a cat or a dog? The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has taken up the challenge to do exactly that with The Right Horse Initiative and its online adoption platform.



The site is special, because it’s much more than a place to view horses online. The horses on the site are coming from groups that are partners with The Right Horse Initiative, a program of the ASPCA that is focused on increasing the number of successful horse adoptions in the United States and improving the number of positive outcomes for horses in transition. All adoption partners value transparency and customer service, providing great information about each horse that’s available for adoption and making the adoption process fun for everyone.

Easy Horse Adoption

Visitors to myrighthorse.org (My Right Horse) will find a clean and simple user interface. You’ll find quality photos with descriptions and videos.

“It was built with a focus on transparency,” says Christie Schulte Kappert, program director for The Right Horse. “We know that one of the major benefits of adoption and the key to successful placements is matching the right horse with the right person.”

“One of the tools on My Right Horse is a basic behaviors profile (BBP), an assessment that describes the horse’s training level,” says Schulte Kappert. “The BBP includes 14 basic ground handling skills, such as catching in a pasture, tying, or loading in a trailer. When you’re looking at horses’ profiles, many of them have these BBP results right there. It’s a great way for adopters to look for the right match and be able to tell if that horse suits their level of experience.”

Adoption agencies are prompted to update information at least every 120 days to eliminate the possibility of falling in love with a horse only to find that he is no longer available.

The site also has more traditional choices.

“Search options for breed, gender, discipline, age, height, and more are also available,” says Schulte Kappert. “You can search by location and, of course, the actual adoption organization where they’re coming from.”

The available horses represent a wide variety of breeds, ages, and training levels. Many are suitable for show or pleasure careers, or even as lesson horses.

Lauren Barela found her perfect match, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred mare named Chessrate. Photo Courtesy Lauren Barela

An Adoption Success Story

From the beginning, Lauren Barela felt led to adopt. “I’ve been a volunteer for an animal welfare organization in Colorado for about seven years,” she says.

The organization she volunteers for has a horse adoption arm, Harmony Equine, so it made sense that Barela considered adoption as she searched for an unfinished horse suitable for dressage on My Right Horse.

“I think the concept of adoption was just something that’s in the forefront for me,” she says. “You can put in whatever criteria you’re looking for, which I think is really important. I wanted a horse that I could do dressage with. I wasn’t necessarily looking for a horse that was suitable for trail riding or light work. I knew I wanted to potentially compete.”

At the time, Harmony Equine did not have any dressage-specific horses but, because of their affiliation with The Right Horse, they were able to point Barela toward My Right Horse. Barela had the spare time to explore the site while vacationing in Missouri. Because of her location, she considered horses available at local rescues. This led to her discovery of Chessrate, an 11-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred mare who met her requirements and was available at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch in Missouri.

Photo by Andreas Krone/Shutterstock

For her, the most difficult part of the adoption process was arranging long-distance transportation. But even then, Longmeadow was able to help, as are many adoption partners listed on My Right Horse. The pair has now been together for six months and recently had an enjoyable experience at their first dressage schooling show.

Where to Find Them

Adoptable horses live at facilities owned or managed by the ASPCA’s adoption
partners or those working toward becoming an adoption partner. There are about 23 of these partner groups currently, with a similar number working toward coming on board.

As of press time, there are about 550 horses available on www.myrighthorse.org, with more added daily. Adoption fees depend on a variety of factors, and range from $500 to $1,000, which includes vaccinations, microchipping and more. If you’re looking for your new equine partner, consider adoption through My Right Horse. You could find the perfect match.

This article on the My Right Horse website appeared in the June 2020 issue of Horse Illustrated magazine. Click here to subscribe!

Hope Ellis-Ashburn

Hope Ellis-Ashburn lives with her family on a century farm in the Sequatchie Valley of southeast Tennessee. Her latest book is Kimbrook Arabians: How an Unlikely Midwestern Couple Influenced an Ancient Breed.

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