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What is adoption? And what are barriers?

The Right Horse Initiative believes... "in order to massively increase horse adoption in the United States, we first need to reframe the way people think and talk about it." They have provided this glossary of definitions and explanations for common words and phrases you’ll find utilized in The Right Horse vernacular. As partners we want to encourage you to incorporate these terms into your own language and join our collaborative movement to positively reframe the conversation around equine welfare.


Adoption is the process of transferring a horse into a new home or vocation. Adoption organizations and transition centers work to facilitate adoptions in a variety of ways, ranging from supporting individuals who need to rehome a horse to seeking and securing appropriate placements for the horses in their care. Many transition centers utilize training and robust care plans for horses in transition in order to make them more attractive candidates to prospective adopters. ~ The Right Horse

When we created The American Saddlebred Legacy Foundation ("ASLF"), the Founder really wanted to stay away from terms such as "adoption" and "contracts". At the end of the day, people will give you the "good" references of people who will tell you what you want to hear. A good professional reference is helpful, but ultimately people will do the good or bad thing they always intend and no contract or special name will change that. We know....we have lived through it.


While many prospective horse owners are interested in adoption, overly restrictive and/ or lengthy adoption policies and procedures can become barriers to adoption. Adoption organizations should implement a process to screen potential owners to seek a strong match between horse and human, while also being mindful that the pre- and post-adoption policies do not become so complicated that they discourage potential owners from choosing adoption when acquiring a new horse. ~ The Right Horse

The goal of ASLF was to be low barrier. The goal was to work really hard on the front in to create the best match possible, and then through relationship maintain a support network for the new owner.

We continue these ideals. While we do have some horses that are 100% fundraised for or sponsored AND from a broker program, we still prefer to use the word "placement" over "adoption". And we have tried to make the overall process more similar to a business transaction. We release full ownership of the horse, though do go on the papers as a chain for the future. We still believe their are ethical, and safety net ways to move horses.

There are many ways to facilitate new homes and horse owners. But at the end of the day the goal is the same to get the horse in transition into a good fit for both the horse and new owner.

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