We have some exciting changes coming soon to Horses with Hope. A new program manager will be joining our team, and shortly thereafter we will be looking to bring in a brand new batch of horses to work with through the winter months. We look forward to branching out from our traditional trip to auction, and are excited to connect with other rescues who have horses in need of further training.
While we embrace these new opportunities, we must also keep our overall mission in mind to make sure we stay on track. As we continue to grow and evolve, certain changes will naturally take place within the program. We constantly find ourselves caught between two extremes: do we want a faster turn-over rate for adoptions, thus moving more horses through the program? Or do we focus on quality over quantity, taking all the time necessary with each individual horse to give them the most complete retraining possible?
Most other rescues do take in many more horses each year then we do, and adopt them out much faster. We are striving to find a balance somewhere in the middle and at times we have to redefine exactly what that means. It’s impossible not to get wrapped up in the urgency of rescuing as many horses as possible, particularly as one learns of the staggering numbers of unwanted horses at risk in the U.S. every year. It’s a huge problem with no easy solution and we all want to do something to help.
For Horses with Hope, that means bringing in at-risk horses who appear to have potential and offering them all we can through our retraining program. Our sincerest hope is that by giving these horses a solid foundation and carefully choosing their adopters, we are doing what we can to insure that they are never again unwanted. At the same time, our goal is to improve the public perception of these horses, thus raising awareness to the fact that these horses have value.
As trainers, we are constantly analyzing our approach and progress with each horse we handle. Solid training that lasts can’t be rushed, as there are no short cuts when it comes to horses. However, we can identify priorities for each horse and focus on preparing them for a future career, in an effort to always make the most of our training time.
When Horses with Hope first began, we kept several horses for one to two years before making them available for adoption. Now, we are aiming to re-home horses within a year. As trainers we always want to take however long may be necessary to bring these horses to what we see as their full potential. What we have learned is that when we make the right match between horse and rider, others can then continue the work we began. It’s not about ‘finishing’ the horse’s training, but rather about giving them the foundation to be successful in their new homes. As we continue to gain experience as an organization, we hope to streamline our process without cutting corners or diminishing the quality of training. We appreciate that every horse is unique, and we learn from each one. As with most everything else in life, it’s all about finding the balance.