“Hello Stacy, I live in Nevada, Mo. I’m in dire need of help. I have a 9 yr old registered quarter mare that is only halter broke. I’ve been ill and have not been able to work with her for years. My quary is, my 19 yr old mare has to be put down soon due to lameness from arthritis. My 9 yr old is very buddy sour and I won’t be able to keep her. I’ve been unable to find a good home for her. Do you have any ideas to save this girl? She’s a sweetheart, just needs to be worked with. Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to give.”-Vicki A.

In a perfect world we could all guarantee our horses a forever home. Unfortunately this isn’t always in our control due to accidents, illnesses or other unforeseen events. Any one of us could be gone tomorrow and the responsibility for our animals would pass into someone else’s hands.

One thing we can do to improve the odds for our horses future success is to educate them. Horses with training tend to fair better than uneducated ones once they leave your hands.


Rescue groups often invest in training as part of rehab.

Ideally you could find someone that sees your mares potential. It sounds like you have already looked for that person and have not been able to find them. If I were in that situation I would begin looking for people or places with a good reputation to donate the horse to. Examples of this would be; equine universities or colleges which accept donation horses, a trainer with a good reputation or a rescue group with a good reputation. In all of theses situations it is likely that your horse will be resold down the road. The hope is that they will invest time and training into her which will make her more valuable and be more likely to lead her to her forever home.

Several weeks ago I attended a horse sale where most of the horses sell for slaughter. I was with a rescue group and one of the questions I asked was, “Why do you get the horses from here? Why not get them from individuals?” This led to and interesting discussion where I found that we both had common ground; people selling horses are not always realistic.

Several times in my own past I have tried helping people who needed to find new homes for their horses. They call saying that all they want is a good home. I have looked, found a home, and then contacted the person back. The majority of the time the response is ‘if you found a home that fast, my horse must be valuable, so I want money.’ No, they don’t use those words exactly but it is what it turns into. I can understand where the feeling comes from but it leads to complications. It turns out that not many people will turn a horse over, even to a rescue group, with no strings attached if they suspect there could be money made by someone. And that is their choice. But often it doesn’t end in the horses best interest.

I have seen people who really did give a horse away…but kept the registration papers. They reasoned that if the new owner really wanted them they should have to pay. In the end who does this hurt the most? THE HORSE. Now it is unregistered to boot.

If it were me I would look for someone who was willing to invest time in the horse even if they will likely sell in the future. I think it gives the horse a better chance than she stands going through an auction untrained.