As a founding partner in The Right Horse Initiative, we’re proud to support a national movement reframing the conversation about equine adoption. The Right Horse Initiative is a collective of industry professionals and equine welfare advocates working together to improve the lives of horses in transition through a dialogue of kindness and respect.

The Right Horse Initiative has the primary goal of increasing the number of horses adopted annually nationwide and a secondary goal of providing more resources in communities to horse owners.

How We Help

WaterShed Animal Fund is empowering The Right Horse Initiative with long-term guidance and the development of infrastructure. We believe this to be a crucial element to the success of the Initiative in reaching its goals. Additionally, the Fund is dedicating significant resources to build and support pilot programs that will have a positive impact on horses in transition.

Pilot Programs

Regional Training Centers for Adoption Agencies

In some cases, horses may just need some minimal finishing training to transition to a new career; and in others horses may need complete training if they have never been ridden. Many of these equine adoption centers operate on small budgets and not all centers have the budget or the operational infrastructure to have trainers on staff. Pilot programs are currently working on addressing these budgetary and infrastructure deficiencies through collaboration and utilization of their combined resources.


Community Resources

Many neglect situations in this country are a result of a good family simply falling on hard times. Or in some cases, neglect can be a lack of information or education. The Right Horse believes providing alternatives – Open Admission Shelters, One-day Open Shelters and Owner Assistance programs – for owners in tough situations will reduce the number of bad outcomes for horses in transition. Supporting pilot programs that increase community resources for owners in need of assistance is crucial to the goals of the Initiative as well as facilitating safe outcomes for horses in transition.


Collaborations Between Welfare and Industry

The partners of The Right Horse share the same goal of improving the number of positive outcomes for horses in transition. The Right Horse identifies and empowers potential collaborations between the equine industry and the equine welfare industry to work together to create more placement opportunities for horses in transition.

Supporting the Initiative

The WaterShed Animal Fund and collaborative funders are currently funding pilot programs that would assist partner organizations in reaching these goals. Currently pilot programs are being funded in the following areas:

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    The Safe Horse Auction and Equine Fair
    August 22, 2017
    Awarded: $5,000
    The Safe Horse Project is a partnership of equine organizations and volunteers who want to make a difference in the welfare of horses in Mississippi. In a collaborative effort to change the way the horse industry buys and sells horses they are providing a new, innovative venue to help facilitate the movement of horses in transition. The Safe Horse Auction and Equine Fair is a one-day event that will provide a safe auction for horse owners to sell or buy as well as include local adoption agencies to offer horses for adoption. This all-day event will also include training demonstrations, a flea market, silent auction, as well as basic services including- microchipping, NIP registry, veterinary consultation, dentistry, and farrier. The event will run in conjunction with a One Day Open Shelter to provide resources or services to many horses in transition throughout the state.
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    National 1-Day Open Door Shelter Project
    February 8, 2017
    Awarded: $184,704.79
    Horse Plus Humane Society will expand on their pilot program-One Day Open Shelters/Last Act of Kindness Clinics and will hold twelve (12) 1-Day Open Door Shelters at various locations across the United States throughout 2017. Surrendered horses will be evaluated for adoptability. There will be no charge to horse owners for surrendering their horses. If found adoptable, the horses will be transferred to adoption partners. Surrendered horses that are deemed unadoptable will be humanely euthanized by a veterinarian.
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    Increasing Horse Placement Capacity and Qualified Adopters
    February 3, 2017
    Awarded: $393,736.40
    This being year two of a pilot program to increase equine placements, the Harmony Equine Center will continue to work with qualified partner organizations and fine tune our program for the transfer, training and adoption of horses in transition. In addition, Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center will explore and evaluate the opportunities presented by working with Departments of Agriculture in Colorado and neighboring states as well as evaluating a partnership with the “One Day Open Shelter” events to expand the scope of the program and impact more horses in transition.
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    Horse Trainer/Adoption Specialist
    January 18, 2017
    Awarded: $30,000
    In an effort to dramatically increase the number of horses adopted every year Horse Plus Humane Society recognized their need for an on staff trainer. The trainer’s duty is to evaluate and train horses available for adoption and work with potential adopters to find the right horse their needs. With an on staff trainer adopters will have access to complimentary sessions with the trainer and their new horse to ensure capability and reduce potential returns to the shelter.
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    Pony Club Challenge
    November 11, 2016
    Awarded: $230,000
    New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program has partnered with the US Pony Club creating an educational, incentive based challenge for Pony Club students that will increase both adoption awareness and the number of retired racehorses being moved into homes. The goal is for New Vocations to provide up to 100 free retired racehorses over a two and half year period to pre-approved Pony Club students or Pony Club Riding Centers and provide a stipend to help cover expenses associated with the care each horse.
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    Last Act of Kindness Clinic
    February 10, 2016
    Awarded: $10,000
    1-Day Open Door Shelter & Last Act of Kindness (euthanasia) clinic for horses in Oklahoma. This will be a pilot program in the state of Oklahoma, but has been successfully done in California since 2008.
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    Harmony Center - Increasing Placement Capacity in Nonprofit Horse Facilities
    January 4, 2016
    Awarded: $442,500
    Horse Plus Humane Society will expand on their pilot program-One Day Open Shelters/Last Act of Kindness Clinics and will hold twelve (12) 1-Day Open Door Shelters at various locations across the United States throughout 2017. Surrendered horses will be evaluated for adoptability. There will be no charge to horse owners for surrendering their horses. If found adoptable, the horses will be transferred to adoption partners. Surrendered horses that are deemed unadoptable will be humanely euthanized by a veterinarian.

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