“I am offering a good home” isn’t worth the HTML code it is written in these days.

Each month, rescues are tagged in hundreds of posts across craigslist and social media when someone is placing a horse for free or low costs. We are all usually and unable to accept owner placements.

This is a heartbreaking aspect of equine rescue because We know far better than most what these ads can lead to, unfortunately.

This is something all rescues experience, and isn’t easy. We know how things can play out. We know most of these horses will meet a very bad end, though the previous owner almost always send the horse off full of hope and assurance the horse will be safe. Despite the feeling the owner usually has that the horse “Found A Good Home,” they usually find anything but a good home.

Whatever the reasoning behind the ad, our hope is that we can empower these individuals with a some information that will help keep these horses safe and get them into truly good homes because rescues cannot accept them all.

#1. Please understands this one truth:

Meat buyers, Traders and hoarders without the ability to care for the horse will be the first to chime in. They will say the right things. They will push and prod hardest. They will do this if the horse is blind, emaciated or feral. It makes no difference. These types know how to present themselves as kind family types. They aren’t. They know what to say, and they say it well.

#2. The biggest deterrent to the above type of person:

Require vet and farrier reference name and numbers. Request fence, shelter and all currently owner horse photos to be sent to you. Do not feel because the horse is free or low cost, you cannot ask for these references and this information. Of course, you can! This will be a huge safeguard for the horse(s) in question. Do not release the horse to anyone who doesn’t offer all of this information or to anyone who has information that isn’t verified. This takes very little time, and it makes all the difference in a safe placement for the horse. Please that this step.

#3. It often takes time:

Most horses take months and some work to place well. Sure, you can post a horse for free and get a person claiming to offer a good home within 24 hours, but take it from HOP’s tremendous experience, the folks who jump in and claim they will take the horse immediately are very likely to be very bad news for the horse in question. Remember, if good homes were easy to find, rescues would not be full and have a waiting list. Good homes are out there, but they do take effort to locate.

#4. Just because they say “We are with a rescue,” hold them to the same standards:

If someone responds to your ad with the statement: “We are a rescue,” we recommend adding, “That is awesome, now can you send your references?” Rescue is a term that many a disreputable trader or hoarder has picked up on, and they will use it as often as possible to deceive owners into believing they are placing their horses into a safe place.

#5. You absolutely CAN require a contract:

Because you’re a private owner does not mean you cannot require whoever is accepting your horse to sign a legally binding contract. You can place contingencies that prevent re-sale, giving away, auction or selling to slaughter. While enforcing these contacts isn’t easy, it CAN be done, and they are a helpful tool in safely placing a horse.

If the horse you have is senior, emaciated, feral or lame, untrained or blind. . .we stress that quality homes are very, very rare for these horses. It takes most rescues well over 1 year to place some of these horses, with many of these types being impossible to place safely. Please be prepared to spend a very long time in the process of placing horses that fall into these categories.

Heart of Phoenix will always offer support when we can. You need only ask. We will assist in owner placements. This is true of most equine rescue organizations. Reach out and ask for help if you’re unsure about placing a horse safely on your own.