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:

    Quarter Horse Adoption Mentorship
    Re-Ride Quarter Horse Adoption Program
    December 11, 2018
    Awarded: $5,000
    RE-RIDE Quarter Horse Adoption Program provides homes for unwanted or displace registered Quarter Horses. The horses in our program have become displaced for a variety of reasons, some are abused, neglected or unwanted while others are former show horses with owners taking the responsibility to place the horses that have been their show partners in a program where they can once again guide another to their first championship. Through rehabilitation and retraining these horses are offered a purpose and therefore a bright future. The program focuses on giving back to the horses that we love as well as the community and features such programs as the Riding Thru It Program for patients undergoing treatment for cancer. RE-RIDE originated in 2010 to fill a need for the American Quarter Horse , preventing these horses from going to slaughter. mentorship program would incorporate the business model for adoption of registered Quarter and Paint horses to other Right Horse adoption partners on a national level. The program includes a review of current operating procedures and tips to incorporate the adoption contracts, and donation procedures for registered Quarter and Paint horses as well as serving as a liaison between AQHA and affiliates to help spread the word of the transition programs.
    Plan 4 Progress Equine Adoption Training Network Expansion
    Fund for Animals
    December 3, 2018
    Awarded: $275,000
    Forever Foundation provides equine rescue organizations across the US with access to the Plan 4 Progress Equine Adoption training program, produced by Carter Ranch Horse. This comprehensive program has assisted over 7,000 equines by delivering hands-on training, interactive support, and online learning and tracking that integrates with the daily practices of participating organizations. This grant will allow an additional 25 organizations to benefit from the training program, impacting thousands more horses annually.
    Increasing Capacity
    Horses Without Humans
    October 3, 2018
    Awarded: $200,000
    Horses Without Humans Rescue Organization (HWH) is currently serving as the transitional home to more than 20 formerly at-risk horses. Increasing capacity includes building facilities and soliciting the equine community, as well as the general public, for financial support to be the transitional home for up to 100 at-risk horses annually. HWH has created a proven and differentiated Equine Adoption Organization that uniquely lends itself to the marketing and promotion of horses in transition.
    The Spencer Project
    Nexus Equine
    September 10, 2018
    Awarded: $50,000
    The Nexus Equine Spencer Project is a program with a major emphasis on education. It is estimated that over 40% of residents in Spencer are horse owners. This project will provide multiple educational opportunities to both youth and adults on proper care, safety and housing of horses. Provision of some resources will be available for fencing, housing, hay, supplies and tack to assist owners in retention of their horses. Nexus will work with the City of Spencer to facilitate these learning opportunities and care clinics with the goal of increased participation, engagement and trust. Specific clinics will consist of veterinary clinics for vaccines, de-wormer, illness and microchip, farrier clinics and hoof care, and horsemanship clinics to educate on proper handling and behavior as well as development of riding skills.
    Equine Welfare Data Collective
    American Horse Council
    May 18, 2018
    Awarded: $20,000
    The Unwanted Horse Coalition has teamed up with several equine organizations including The Right Horse Initiative, the American Association for Equine Practitioners, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to form an alliance to gather information and data as it relates to equine welfare. This project is critical to understanding the current state of the equine welfare segment and how the industry as a whole can continue to help horses in transition. Funding for this new project will support the dissemination of surveys and various data gathering tools, oversee input of the data into the database, manage the data in terms of upkeep and integrity, as well as be able to effectively coordinate and communicate equine welfare information to the team and alliance.
    Harmony Equine Center Managed Admissions Program
    Dumb Friends League
    April 4, 2018
    Awarded: $600,000
    In 2016 the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center implemented a successful pilot program to increase the number of equine adoptions and qualified equine adopters. Committed to continuing the existing annual operations long term, Harmony Equine Center will continue to transition at least 200 equines from law enforcement and trusted shelter partners each year. In 2018 Harmony Equine Center will launch a managed admission pilot program to open their doors to owner-relinquished horses. The pilot will include a mobile unit that will be available for in the field evaluation and transition services to include training, adoption or end of life options. The pilot program projects to assist 300-400 horses over the next two years.
    Transitioning a Sanctuary into an Adoption Agency
    Horses’ Haven
    March 26, 2018
    Awarded: $50,000
    As winners of the Madi Memorial Grant, Horses’ Haven will be piloting the concept of transforming from a sanctuary to a full-scale adoption program. Grant monies will allow their trained volunteer force of 80 the space and facilities they need to put quality time into each horse in transition, moving them out of lifetime care at the agency and into good homes - thereby freeing up space to help many more horses in transition. The Madi Memorial Grant will empower Horses’ Haven to nearly triple adoptions in the first year. Horses’ Haven’s new workspace, to be named the Madi Patrick Memorial Arena, will honor Madi’s legacy by serving local youth groups such as 4-H, Pony Club, and Detroit Horse Power while simultaneously increasing visibility of adoptable horses. Horses’ Haven is poised to inspire other sanctuaries nationwide to find innovative ways to place horses previously considered unadoptable and transform into successful adoption agencies.
    The Oklahoma 4-H Equine Makeover
    Nexus Equine
    March 16, 2018
    Awarded: $50,000
    The Oklahoma 4-H Equine Makeover is a collaboration of Nexus Equine, the horse industry and Oklahoma State University/4-H Extension. Nexus Equine will provide horses in transition to 4-H youth participants for a 90 to 120 day training period, culminating in two different showcase events. The program consists of hands-on development of horsemanship skills and incorporates educational requirements in the form of written and verbal tasks, promoting a more well-rounded and meaningful leadership opportunity for participating 4-H youth. The showcase will allow Nexus to increase adoptions by a projected 91% in their third year of operations, increasing adoptability of horses in transition and providing constructive educational opportunities to developing horsemen and women.
    Equine Expansion Program
    SPCA of Texas
    February 28, 2018
    Awarded: $1,503,000
    The SPCA of Texas serves the Dallas/Fort Worth and greater North Texas area as an intake and holding facility resource for horses seized from neglect and abuse investigations. Recognizing the need in equine welfare to provide better support to horse owners, the SPCA must expand their current operations and facilities to include managed admission for horses in need of transition. Expanding the SPCA of Texas Equine Program will offer options for owners to surrender horses before they fall at risk, and for potential adopters to be matched with trained horses that fit their needs. Working in partnership with The Right Horse Initiative, the SPCA projects to increase adoptions and transfers from 75 to 330 horses annually at the end of the three-year project.
    Equine Welfare Development Pilot Program
    Dumb Friends League
    February 12, 2018
    Awarded: $100,000
    The equine welfare development program is a pilot program designed to create a strategic model for donor acquisition, stewardship and gift acquisition that nonprofit equine welfare agencies can apply to ensure that they receive adequate program funding to sustain an impactful equine welfare organization. During the pilot program, the Dumb Friends League will facilitate brainstorming events and focus groups to identify donors’ and prospective donors’ motivation to give to equine welfare agencies. Additionally, the League will reach out to equine industry professionals to learn best practices and gain insight on how they enlist funding support as well as which types of programs and strategies garner the greatest results. Once sufficient data has been gathered, the League will use this information to create an innovative and comprehensive development plan, including anticipated revenue and expense budgets. The plan will then be implemented to raise funds for the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center.
    T.R.O.T (Transport Relocation Operations Team)
    Kentucky Humane Society
    November 15, 2017
    Awarded: $150,000
    The Kentucky Humane Society (KHS) T.R.O.T Program is the winner of the first Right Idea Innovation Grant Challenge. To connect good people with good horses, KHS will create a transportation network to ensure that there is a diversity of available horses in various markets. For example, Kentucky has a large number of gaited horses, Saddlebreds and Thoroughbreds; other regions of the country have a heavy influence of other breeds. Within each of these states, there are people wanting horses for diverse purposes ranging from competition to recreational pursuits. The T.R.O.T program will mimic the success of companion animal relocation programs that has increased lifesaving in animal shelters nationwide. KHS and The Right Horse Initiative believe that applying market and supply principles will result in similar successes for equines.
    Equine Angel Fund
    Nexus Equine
    November 7, 2017
    Awarded: $50,000
    The Nexus Equine Angel Fund Program exists to financially assist Oklahoma horse owners with the provision of veterinary care and other health services that are not financially feasible. The Angel Fund Program allows horses to receive the necessary care and as a result, are retained in their homes. This program will allow horse owners the option of keeping their horse and horses will not be put in at-risk situations, including but not limited to auction environments, neglect, suffering and even death. Nexus collaborates with equine health professionals to establish a team approach for the well-being of each horse in the program.
    The Safe Horse Auction and Equine Fair
    Mississippi Horses
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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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