By Jennifer Woolwine

Preparing for Your Rescue Horse: 10 Things to Know Before You Adopt


baghdad to barnyard

January 8, 2023

Adopting a rescue horse is a unique and rewarding experience. Before you embark on this journey, there are some important things to consider. From researching the right horse for your situation to providing care and training, these ten tips will help prepare you for welcoming a rescue horse into your home before you adopt.

Research different rescue organizations

Before you start searching for your rescue horse, it’s essential to research different rescue organizations. You’ll want to find a horse rescue that fits your budget, lifestyle, and location. It’s also helpful to read reviews from people who have adopted from the organization to get an idea of what the experience has been like for others. When researching, ask questions and express any concerns regarding potential adoptions.

Understand the basics of horse care before you adopt

From feeding to grooming, knowing how to take care of a horse is vital before you adopt a rescue horse. Make sure you understand the basics of horse care before bringing your new companion home. Research the type of food and hay your rescue horse needs, create an exercise plan, and find out what vitamins, minerals, and supplements they should receive. Knowing your rescue horse’s history, such as medical or behavioral issues, will also help you prepare for their arrival.

Invest in the right veterinarian and farrier care for your rescue horse

If you are considering adopting a rescue horse, it is important that you find the right veterinarian and farrier to ensure your horse’s well-being. Start your search by researching the area for recommended professionals and asking for referrals from friends, family, and other locals. Additionally, you should research any potential vets or farriers on their qualifications, experience, and reviews online. Reach out to local clinics and rescue organizations in the vicinity as they may be able to provide more information.

Understand that rescue horses may have special needs or medical issues that require extra attention

For anyone considering adopting a horse from a rescue organization, it’s important to remember that these horses will likely need some extra TLC. They may have been subjected to emotional and physical abuse, and sometimes the effects of this trauma can linger on even after the horse has been rescued. As such, adopters must be willing to exercise a lot of patience and understanding while these horses adjust to their new lives. With care and attention, your rescue horse can blossom into wonderful companions!

Make sure the horse fits your riding level, ability, and lifestyle well

When looking for the right rescue horse for you, it is important to consider your riding level, ability, and lifestyle. Make sure you research the horse’s temperament, experience, and training. Ask the horse’s owner or trainer questions about what the horse is used to and how it performs in different situations. It is also essential to understand the horse’s medical history and any issues it may have. Spend time with multiple horses to compare their abilities to make sure you have the best match for you. This is an important process that shouldn’t be rushed and will help ensure you both have a successful and rewarding relationship!

Get to know the rescue horse

Before you commit to adopting a rescue horse, meeting them first is essential. Take the time to get to know your potential rescue horse, ask questions about its history and medical records, and understand its temperament. Spend time observing their behavior when interacting with people and other animals. This will help give you a better sense of how they may react in different situations, allowing you to assess if they’re the right match for you and your lifestyle.

Invest in a vet assessment

Before taking on the responsibility of adopting a horse, make sure you get a vet assessment to determine its overall health. This is an important step in ensuring that your new companion receives proper medical care if necessary, such as vaccinations, parasite control, dental examinations and treatments, or any other medical attention it needs. Furthermore, the vet can detect any issues that may be present and provide guidance on future care, helping to ensure long-term health and well-being for your beloved equine friend.

Take your time to get to know the horse and bond with them

Taking the time to get to know and bond with a horse is a wonderful experience! Start by getting to see the horse’s personality and preferences. Spend quality time with your horse, talking to them and spending time together. Show them your affection through positive reinforcement in the form of treats or by brushing them, ask yourself what they need and provide it accordingly. With patience and effort, you can truly create a strong, meaningful connection with your rescue horse!

Provide a safe and comfortable environment for your rescue horse

Creating a safe and comfortable environment for your horse is essential for their health and well-being. Begin by allowing sufficient space for movement and diversion. Make sure there is adequate protection from the environment or other animals. Install strong and reliable fencing that can be routinely checked. Ensure regular intake of clean water, feeding every day, and watching your horse’s weight closely. Maintain the state of its hooves, vaccinate and administer dewormers when needed. Most importantly, provide them with love and care, giving them time to relax freely. Following these pointers will help create a safe haven for your horse where it can live happily in peace.

Be patient and consistent with your rescue horse

Working with horses isn’t like flipping a light switch. It takes patience, consistency, and understanding to gain their trust and obedience. Be sure to give your rescue horse repeated commands, as well as consistent rewards when they do what you ask of them. Remember that every horse learns at different speeds so it is best to be patient and give them time to adjust before introducing new activities. Your patience, kindness, and understanding will go a long way in building a strong bond with your rescue horse.

Final thoughts

Adopting a rescue horse is a great decision that will undoubtedly bring you and your horse many years of joy and companionship. Taking the time to get familiarize yourself with your new furry friend and their personality is an important step that will ultimately result in a special relationship between the two of you. Not only will you form an emotional connection with your horse, but you will also learn about their individual preferences as time goes on. It may take patience, but your kindness will surely be rewarded with an incomparable bond. Enjoy every moment as you embark on this journey – it may be full of surprises, but will all be worth it!

xo, Jen

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Jen Woolwine       Author

Jen is a combat veteran and wife who is passionate about animal rescue, homesteading, and mental health advocacy. Jen's amazing journey of transitioning from military service to homesteading can be followed on her blog and social media platforms @baghdadtobarnyard.

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