Donating your horse to a non-profit

Looking to rehome your horse? Consider donating her to a non-profit organization!

Donating your horse to a non-profit program is a very positive option, and one that many horse caretakers and equine professionals aren’t aware of. Non-profits can include equestrian focused high school boarding schools, colleges, universities, therapeutic riding centers, equestrian organizations for underprivileged children or veterans, and more. Students, veterans, children, and persons with disabilities can benefit from horses donated to these non-profit programs. And the people aren’t the only ones who benefit! The horses, too, receive the joy of being loved and cared for by so many.

Is it the right decision for you?

The most important factor when deciding if donating your horse is the right move for you is to determine what non-profit would be best. Some factors to consider when choosing an organization for your horse include determining what level of work is most suitable, how excitable the horse is, what care options are available, and whether the horse is comfortable with multiple riders. Research which non-profit would be the best fit for your horse so he can continue a successful career, and so the organization can use him to the best of its ability.

Reasons to donate a horse

There are a multitude of reasons for donating your horse.

  • Many times, high profile show horses are donated college and university riding programs because they are stepping down in career levels.
  • Horses that are getting older can no longer show at the level or jump height they once competed at; however, they may still be comfortable at a lower level and be just as successful there.
  • While caretakers and riders may not want to step down in their own riding levels, their horses can continue to be happy in a career. The answer may be to donate the horse to a college or university where the horse can continue at a lower training level.
  • Horses that have had a previous injury that limits the level of work they can comfortably do may need to step down training levels as well. Many times, hunters and jumpers with a previous injury can no longer jump but can comfortably flat and still be very useful for many non-profit riding facilities.
  • Sometimes caretakers fall on hard financial times and can no longer afford to keep their horses. They may seek a safe option for their horses to continue a career path.
  • Additionally, horses that can’t seem to get sold can find a happy niche within these riding programs.
  • Horses with certain training issues may also be able to find their happy place in a riding program.

It is very important to consider all aspects of your horse’s care, career path, and health when deciding what non-profit system may be the best fit for him.

Choosing a non-profit

Be sure to ask the non-profit as many detailed questions as possible when determining the best fit for your horse. Some programs may offer more or less turnout than another, some may have an in-house vet and farrier (which could be an important factor to some donors), and some facilities offer more amenities than the next. All these are important to consider, along with what the non-profit specializes in and how that may mesh with your horse.

Making the donation

Most non-profit organizations require a copy of a qualified appraisal. The process of donating horses to these organizations also usually requires a trial period where the horse participates in his intended use and may be vetted for soundness. If the horse is accepted into the program after the trial period, he can officially be donated, and the non-profit organization is then required to keep him for at least three years. In most circumstances, the organizations will offer contracts with first right of refusal to the caretaker to take back the horse after the organization is finished with its intended use of the animal. Most non-profits stay in touch with previous caretakers throughout the careers of their horses, if the caretakers wish.

All in all, the option of donating a horse to a non-profit can be a very rewarding path for horse, caretaker, and non-profit. If you’re looking to find a new home for your horse, consider this worthwhile option.

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Sara attended The University of Findlay graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in equestrian studies and biology. As an amateur rider, Sara operates SEB Sport Horses and owns Dragonfly Lane Farm. Sara established SEB Equine Appraisals, LLC, and is a certified equine appraiser through the American Society of Equine Appraisers. Sara is a member of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers and the International Society of Appraisers. Sara is a consultant for The Equine Expert and is a sales agent for Sport Innovations LLC. She was appointed to be on the USHJA Zone 5 Jumper committee.