Five Things To Consider When Taking On A Rescue Horse

Despite how hard it might be for horse lovers to understand, poor care and neglect of these fantastic animals is something which unfortunately occurs every day.

Some of the luckier horses are eventually taken from their neglectful owners and then become rescue horses which can be adopted.

This is a common process which helps re-home mistreated animals, and cat and dog shelters are a perfect example.

However, often rescue animals come with a number of emotional or physical problems which must be taken into account by the persons adopting them.

If you are considering taking on a rescue horse, here are five things you should consider before committing to anything.

Don’t Rush Into Anything

First of all, you want to do your homework on respected adoption organisations. In the UK there are thankfully plenty of these, both nationally and locally.

Nationally there are the likes of Blue Cross, the RSPCA and the Horse Trust among others. There will also be some which operate in your local area, but it is worth approaching a number before committing to anything in order to better educate yourself on the process.

Are You Prepared?

Adopting a horse can serve up a few more challenges than buying one which has been well looked after.

Generally, this means that it is going to take a lot more time and effort working with the horse in order to get it settled into its new home.

Neglect of animals usually means they develop a mistrust of one thing or another, which could quite easily be humans. So, there is a good chance you may have to spend lots of time working and training the horse to trust you.

Hidden Costs

It is possible that there may be extra costs applicable to a rescue horse once you have adopted them.

Due to their past, there is a good chance that they may need the help of a vet to clear up conditions which developed as a result of mistreatment.

It is well worth getting all the related information from the rescue centre before you commit to a particular horse, just in case they end up costing you more than you planned.

Feeding Must Be Monitored

An easy mistake to make with a rescue horse (particularly one which is unhealthily thin) is to shove a great load of food in their face to hopefully help them put on weight.

However, this is the wrong approach. At first, there is no guaranteeing that the horse doesn’t have any digestive problems, meaning you may end up harming them further.

For the first couple of weeks, it is important to take things easy and feed the horse in regular small portions. Once you gain confidence in them, begin to add more supplements to their food and bulk up meals to help them put weight on.

What Are You Hoping For?

Another really important factor to consider is what sort of horse you are hoping for and what you want from it.

If you are looking for a horse whose best days are behind them, you’ll likely be in luck. There are plenty of horses which are simply in need of good care in their later years.

This can become really important in helping young children into the equine world as they spend time with a relaxed, trained horse.

However, if you are looking for a working horse or one to compete in racing or eventing, you’ll find a great horse hard to come by.

Stories such as this one, about a horse being rescued from a slaughterhouse which then went on to become a racehorse are very rare.

Often, younger horses who are adopted for work struggle to apply themselves or have long term issues which develop as a result of their past.


There are lots of benefits to taking on a rescue horse and for many, it can be a brilliant decision. However, it is important to consider all of these points before committing to anything.

For more tips when it comes to looking after horses, be sure to keep checking our blog here at Ride-Away.

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