We are so pleased that you have chosen a rescue horse as your next partner. Adopting a horse provides that horse with a new home, and their rescue with another slot to take in another equine in need. Adding a rescue horse to your family can be challenging but also extremely rewarding. We hope to provide some helpful suggestions for you and your new horse to have the smoothest transition possible.
It’s important to remember that many rescue horses have come from neglectful or abusive pasts and can be very sensitive to new people, new surroundings, and any changes. These past negative experiences can make adjusting to a new home and a new family challenging. It is important to give them extra time to adjust to their new surroundings. Some horses may take a few days to settle into a new home, others may take weeks or months to feel truly at home.
We strongly suggest taking extra time to acquaint yourself with your new rescue horse and build their trust before jumping back into their training. It is best to build the relationship from the ground up, and progress towards under saddle work slowly. For some horses picking up right where they left off in their training, might be too much for them, and could cause a setback. They need to be given enough time to adjust to their new situation. It is important that your horse get to know you as much as you get to know them.
Another thing to keep in mind is the horse’s workload. A great thing to ask when taking your new rescue horse home is what their training regimen looks like, and how often they are getting worked. For example if a horse is used to being worked 5-6 times a week, you might see some behavioral differences if they are worked less frequently. The opposite can be true as well, if a horse is only being worked a couple times a week, they should be properly conditioned and slowly worked up to a harder workload.
It is important to keep in mind that many things may be new to your rescue horse. No matter how much desensitization a horse has had there will always be certain things that your new partner will have never encountered before. With this in mind patience is vital. If your new horse seems nervous around children, its possible that he/she has never been exposed to children before. The same can goes for dogs, trailers, cats, jumps, etc… It is best to give your new horse time to take in anything that might make them uncomfortable or nervous.
Most rescues are very invested in the future of their adoptees. Often times you can reach out to the horses home rescue with any questions, concerns or updates. Most often they know the horse best and can lend a helping hand on navigating through any issues that may arise. It is also a good idea to have a trainer on hand, should you need advice on how to continue working with your new partner. Even if you are an advanced rider new horses in transition can often provide challenges that a trusted trainer can help you work through.
Adopting a rescue horse is an amazing opportunity for both horse and adopter. Rescue horses may not always have the best past, but we can be a part of helping them have a much brighter future.