In a perfect world, we would all hope that every animal owner is responsible. But, unfortunately, some of us take responsibility for an animal that we can no longer care for due to financial burdens or other unexpected issues.

We cannot foresee the future, so it is essential to understand the proper and responsible way to give away an animal such as a horse if you can no longer care for this animal. Of course, you would want your horse to lead a happy, productive life after you leave it behind and not end up in a glue factory.

We will show you what to consider and avoid when donating a horse, adoption requirements, places where you can donate a horse, and adoption alternatives.

Things To Consider Before Donating a Horse

Selling Your Horse

Before deciding to donate your horse, you should consider selling it instead. Horses require a considerable investment of time and money, and if possible, you should seek to get some of your money back.

horse donation

Selling a horse often requires much of the same documentation needed to donate a horse. This documentation includes an evaluation and health history. Make sure to evaluate any potential buyers to ensure your horse is going to a good home. In some cases selling your horse will not be a viable option.

Associated Costs

Unfortunately, donating a horse is not free and will have some associated upfront costs.

The first step in donating your horse is to employ the services of a certified equine appraiser. The appraiser’s services will cost you anywhere from $100 to $1500. In addition, a further health evaluation and health history are also usually required adding to the associated costs.

On the plus side, donating a horse can give you a substantial tax write-off.  

Finding The Right Organization

When donating a horse, there are many local organizations for you to choose from. However, it is best to select an organization nearby to avoid transporting your horse over long distances.

Choose an organization in which you believe will give your horse a happy and productive future. Whether serving as a park police horse or spending the rest of its days on a sanctuary, there are many options to choose from.

Do some research on any organization you decide to work with to ensure they are reputable and safe.

Avoid These Options When Giving Away a Horse

Send Your Horse to a Livestock Auction

A livestock auction is a terrible idea if you care at all about your animals. These auctions have developed a notorious reputation for being cruel and cramped.

Animals in these auctions are penned in beyond capacity and are moved and herded with electric prods. Animals at livestock auctions are given no food or water and are often sold dehydrated and malnourished.

Horses sold at livestock auctions can easily end up at a glue factory.

Give Your Horse Away on Classified Websites

Giving away your horse on a classified website such as Craigslist is a common occurrence. But most veteran horse owners will always view these ads with suspicion.

Using a classified website allows you to reach many people but also creates a larger chance you will run into shady characters. There is a potential for scams through classified websites, and it becomes more challenging to know exactly who you are dealing with. This can open the door to a terrible future for your horse.

Horse Donation Requirements

Different organizations will have varying requirements to accept a donated horse. But the most common donation requirements include:

  • Certification through a certified equine appraiser
  • Any veterinarian records and documentation
  • Breed requirements (some organizations only accept thoroughbreds)
  • Donors must often provide transportation
  • Written communication from the organization you are donating to
  • Written acknowledgment from the donor, including information on the horse
  • Payment of any adoption fees if necessary

Places You Can Donate a Horse

Therapeutic Riding/Animal Therapy Programs

Riding horses has proven to be a viable form of therapy. If you would like your horse to spend his or her days bettering other people’s lives, this is a good option.

Therapeutic horseback riding boosts confidence, develops bonds, and gives people a sense of freedom and independence.

College Riding Programs

Every college with an equestrian program is often on the look for new horses. If you believe your horse could be an excellent teacher, then donating your horse to a college riding program is a good choice. Your horse will teach many new students a love for horses and how to ride them.

Riding Camps

Riding camps or equestrian camps often take place in the summer. These camps teach their riders how to ride different horses along with how to care for and groom horses.

Riding camps are similar to college riding programs expect the riders are more often children instead of young adults.

Park Police

If you believe your horse would have a great life helping peace officers uphold law and order, the park police are the choice for you.

Horses of the park police receive training and assist officers in accessing rugged terrain or roadways with heavy foot or vehicle traffic.

In most countries, assaulting a police horse carries the same degree of punishment as assaulting a police officer.

Horse Adoption Center or Sanctuary

If you want a future for your horse in which it has no job or purpose but to wander and enjoy life, a sanctuary is a great choice.

Sanctuaries will care for horses and provide any veterinary services required. Often a sanctuary will adopt a horse to a good home when they feel the horse is ready. Horses that do not get adopted spend the rest of their days in the sanctuary.

Alternatives to Horse Donation

Keep Your Horse by Cutting Costs

There are many ways in which you can cut your costs in order to keep your horse.

  1. If you do not own a stable, speak to the stable owner about trading labor or something else to reduce boarding costs.
  1. Buy hay in bulk to reduce the cost of food.
  1. Rigorously maintaining bedding and taking the time to schedule preventive health care can help save you a lot of money.
  1. Becoming a certified horse trainer can be a way to supplement your income and keep your horse.

Lease Out Your Horse

If you are not doing anything with your horse, leasing out your horse is a great way to make extra income. People lease horses for many reasons.

One is they cannot afford to buy a horse. Another common reason is when a rider is transitioning from a pony to a horse, they will lease a horse to get the hang of riding a larger animal.

For the owner, leasing your horse can help pay for ownership and gives your horse plenty of exercise.  

Sell Your Horse to a Private Owner

Selling your horse to a private owner can benefit you financially and give your horse and its new owner many happy years.

It is vital to make certain your horse will be happy with its new owner. Do research on any potential buyers and be discerning.

Selling your horse to a private owner will require much of the documentation needed to donate your horse. If you cannot care for your horse, selling it to someone who can is a good option.

Consider Euthanasia

Euthanasia, which means putting your horse down, should be considered as a last option. There are fees and costs associated with euthanasia.

If no one is willing to buy your horse and no organization is able to accept your horse, you may have no other option.

If your horse is suffering from severe injury or sickness, euthanasia may be the most humane choice. Euthanasia is better than giving your horse to a glue factory or slaughterhouse because you can ensure the horse’s death is as humane and pain-free as possible.