Finding a good home for your horse is a difficult process and can potentially be harmful for your horse if not done properly and responsibly. To better insure a good home for your horse, the potential new home should pass 3 important steps:
1. Phone Interview
3. Farm Visit
Below is a guideline for each step.
Step 1: Phone interview
Items to discuss:
1. Don’t be afraid to question them about their abilities and background (in a nice non-threatening way). Ex. Tell me about your background with horses.
2. Are they informed about what it takes to care for a horse and what horses require? (This may already be obvious). Ask specifically about what they feed, kind of hay, vaccination & farrier schedule. This would be a good time to ask who their veterinarian and farrier are to use as a reference.
3. If the horse is ridable, ask who will be riding the horse? Ask any questions relevant to your horses abilities for riding. Ex. What discipline/style riding do you do?
4. Ask about their facilities (barn, shed, pasture, fencing, water sources, etc).
5. Make sure that what they consider adequate space for the horse meets your standards of what your horse needs. Double check the acreage amount the horse will have.
6. It is recommended that they have some type of grazing companion for the horse (other than human). This is recommended due to the fact that horses are herd animals and do best (feel secure) with another grazing companion.
Things to think about:
1. Are you comfortable with their answers?
2. Are you comfortable with their plan of action?
3. Would you be comfortable with them caring for your horse?
4. If you are uncomfortable with their answers, then obviously they are a “no”. If you are unsure about how you feel about them, or feel good about their responses continue to Step 2.
Step 2: References
Call their vet and farrier for references. If you are not familiar with the veterinarian they use, call the state veterinary medical board and ask if they are licensed. It is recommended that you do this before visiting the farm as it could prevent you wasting your time. Even if they have never used a horse vet, a small animal veterinarian can tell you if they care for their animals properly. If their references check out okay, continue to Step 3.
Step 3: Farm Visit
Things to look for while at their farm are:
1. Overall Safety
2. Overall Cleanliness
Are stalls kept clean?
Do water troughs/buckets look like they are cleaned regularly?
3. Condition of Horses
Do their horses appear to be in good health?
Easy to approach and friendly?
Are their hooves in good condition?
Does it appear that they are groomed periodically?
Are there any injuries that are not being cared for?
Ask them what their plans are if your horse doesn’t work out for them. Are they willing to call you? Are they willing to sign a contract that you will receive notification if they wish to sell or give away the horse? A lawyer can check over your contract to insure it is a legal binding document.
Although nothing can be guaranteed, if they pass all three steps you can rest easier knowing that you have responsibly given your horse to a good home