One of the things we are asked most frequently is how the adoption process works…The follow-up to that question is often, “Are there really that many steps?”
Let’s start out by clarifying that adopting a horse from a reputable rescue is not the same as purchasing a horse. Horses that have wound up at rescues have often been neglected, abused, mishandled, unhandled, etc. Some of them have been returned or given up on more than once. Each time this happens, it makes the horse that much harder to adopt out again. Therefore, when the search for the right home begins it cannot be on a “first come, first serve” basis. It needs to be about the best fit for the horse. Our goal is to set a horse up for success by giving him a good foundation and then finding him a home that will provide the continued support and training he will need in the future.
The absolute first step in the adoption process is to fill out a preliminary application. This will provide us with the rider’s size, experience, farm set up, references, etc. This information helps us gauge whether or not we have any suitable horses that meet the applicant’s needs. The preliminary application can be filled out at any time after a horse arrives, but we may not begin processing applicants until the horse has been with us long enough to be evaluated and receive the training it needs. We are firm believers in going at each individual horse’s pace and will not rush the training and evaluation process, due to excessive interest in a particular equine. The horse always comes first.
Once we begin processing applications for a particular horse we will check references and call the applicant to speak over the phone in more detail. If everything sounds good and the references check out, the next step will be an initial visit with the horse. With the initial visit complete, if everything still appears like a good match we will do a site visit. The site visit can take place either in person or virtually depending on distance. When and if the site visit passes inspection, we will schedule a second visit and would expect a final decision to be made after that.
If an applicant lives very far away, we may change the order of the site visit and initial meeting of the horse. Also, if we have multiple applicants that seem like good matches for a particular horse we do try to allow them all to meet the horse to see who is the best fit. Again, everything we do during the adoption process is to create the highest chance of success for the horse AND the potential adopter.
When horses join our training program they are being trained professionally 5 days a week and handled daily. We spend a large amount of time with each horse and really get to know what type of home will best suit their needs. We receive so many wonderful applications and many sound like wonderful homes, but may not be the right home for a particular horse. At Horses with Hope every horse has its perfect match, the adoption application process helps us find just the right home. We believe every horse deserves to find their happy ending!