Heart of Phoenix Equine Education BLOG

More than a Rescue: A Powerful Advocate for Horses in Appalachia

Adoption Introduction: All You Want to Know

Let’s get ready to Adopt

Essentially, HOP horses adopt to safe homes with a history of good horsemanship, the ability to provide sufficient care and with solid vet, farrier and peer references. Nothing needs to be fancy.

Our adoption process makes sure you get the right horse for you – it is a no fail process for finding the right match.

Each adopted horse goes to a home under an adoption agreement that provides terms to keep the horse safe for his/her natural life, so if the horse doesn’t work for you, the horse comes back to us, and the adoption fee is refunded. Adopted horses cannot be used for breeding or re-sale or be given away, but they are YOUR horses, as long as you care for them and want to keep them.

Please Make Sure you Review This Page Entirely before you begin the adoption

  1. Read a PFD version of the ADOPTION AGREEMENT here to understand the agreement
  2. Apply here 
  3. Submit your application donation fee of $15 (PAYPAL OR MAIL)
  4. Send in photos & documents to equinerescue@live.com or our Facebook 
  5. Notify References to Complete their Forms or expect calls 
  6. Once Approved, MEET The Horse(s)
  7. If you find a good match, sign an adoption agreement 
  8. Take your horse home
  9. Update HOP monthly on FB or Email with photos to happily adopted horse
  10. After the first 12 months, have the option to gain ownership (adoption agreement remains with 1st right of refusal) with a vet report
  11. Update us at least yearly afterward
  12. If the horse Doesn’t work out, The horse returns to Heart of Phoenix with up to $600 of the fee being refunded, no questions asked

Perks of adoption:

  1. We have a Right Horse, Right Match guarantee. If the equine doesn’t end up working out, the horse simply comes back to Heart of Phoenix. There are never any hard feelings, and we refund (up to) the full adoption fee. Better yet, we will work with you to see if another horse within our organization would be a better fit.

  2. We keep our adoption fees at 50% or less of what the same horse would cost if you were purchasing.

  3. If you or your child outgrow your horse in skill or size, no worries. If you’ve been a great adopter, you can rest assured your horse can come back to HOP, you have not lost your adoption fee, and you are welcome to adopt a horse that works better for you.

  4. If you lose your job or your income changes or your health declines, you never have to worry about what will happen to your adopted horse. Your horse just comes back to Heart of Phoenix, and you know he will find a new, suitable home, and we refund (up to) the full adoption fee.

  5. Adoption doesn’t require fancy facilities, you can board or keep the horse at your own property.

  6. Most people are so happy with their adoptive horse, so horses are rarely returned because HOP works to help you get a GOOD match right off.

  7. The horses come with upfront and honest assessments. The horses are typically UTD on vetting, training and farrier care.

We have placed hundreds of horses into adoptive homes, and we are happy to chat with you about how our process works great for ADOPTER and HORSE


Have questions? Visit this page for our contact number

Before the Application is submitted:

  • Apply once you’re certain you want to give adoption a try. Our volunteers work really hard on these applications, so if you’re in a rush, the application process may not be a good fit for you.


  • Please be sure to not leave areas blank on the application.


  • Understand we are processing many applications constantly. Sometimes this means even if You are approved, the horse you’re interested in may have been adopted to an earlier applicant. Ask us what a horse’s status is at any time.


  • Once your application is approved, you can meet any of the horses that may fit your needs at their foster location. You are not expected to adopt just because you completed an application, though.


  • We adopt to the first approved application that is a good fit for an equine except during special events like the Appalachian Trainer Face Off. Applications are processed by volunteers, so while we try to be quick, it may take a week to several depending how quickly your references get back with us.


What We Look For in Adopters:

We Adopt Nationwide.

We look for a well maintained fence, at least a 3 sided shelter in poor weather, access to clean water and a place free of overcrowding, extreme mud or manure.

Boarding facility are happily accepted if they meet these above terms.

For Current or Previous Equine Owners:

We look to gain insight about your care and horsemanship. We ask for additional references to help get the best picture of your riding level and personality. If you currently have horses, we must have a vet, farrier (dental if you do not use your vet for floats) references, as well as an equine, personal and professional reference.

If you are new to ownership or have limited history with horses we have a program for you:

If you have not owned a horse before or do not have a sufficient reference history for traditional adoption, we have a program that streamlines the adoption process if you wish to board with a previously approved boarding facility within our network or a facility that screens as a good environment for care and learning for 12 months, as during that time, you can learn about horsemanship, riding and care. In most cases, even if our traditional adoption process does not fit, this process will work for most individuals. For the New to Horses Program, after 12 months in boarding, if all is going well, the adopter can move the horse to their own location.

Equine dentists, 4H leaders, Pet Vets, Trainers and boarding barn owners make wonderful references.

Please make sure they know we will be calling or they know to contact us to make things move quickly.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING to us is compatibility between horse and rider:

A horse can only be adopted to someone who can easily handle and ride the horse they select, unless an adopter comes with a trainer and is boarding and working with a trainer in a facility.

  • Applications will be denied if their references refuse to be helpful and courteous. Applicants can also be denied if they are personally rude and unhelpful during their own interviews. The Application must be approved by our Board of Directors unanimously. Fact is, almost everyone who applies is able to be approved, so don’t be too worried.
  • First approved applicant who makes an appointment to visit a horse and is a good fit as the first option to adopt that horse.
  • Applications are rarely denied.


  • Please get in touch AT EQUINERESCUE@LIVE.COM to arrange a meeting at the foster location where the horse you are interested in resides in a timely manner. We cannot hold horses if other applicants are waiting for a chance to meet the same horse.
  • Only Approved Adopters may visit the horses. Once approved, you can meet Any horse that could meet your needs within the rescue. You are not obligated or expected to adopt UNLESS The horse is a GREAT MATCH for you. Should you meet another HOP horse during a visit that may work better, you’re welcome to consider another horse if you’re approved to adopt.
  • Sign Your Adoption Agreement Electronically after you’ve met your RIGHT HORSE

  • You must arrange safe transport or afford to hire reputable transport for your adoptive horse. Horses will not leave in unsafe trailers for any reason. Transport is a cost the adopter must cover. Transporter suggestions are located here.
  • You may pay the adoption fee via mail, in person or via paypal. Payment must be made by adoption transport day.
  • If you need a Health Certificate, let us know ahead of time. Cost of this is the adopters full responsibility.


  • Photos of your newly adopted horse at your facility must be emailed, text or sent via Facebook within 2 days of arriving at your facility. You must send photo updates every month via email or social media to HOP. After the first year, you shall provide yearly updates that are current with photos, please.
  • Ownership is released to ADOPTERS that desire it after 12 months and vet exam on their adopted horse completed, filled out and returned to HOP via mail. The adoption contract still remains in effect for first right of refusal for the length of the adoption or life of the horse.
  • Heart of Phoenix retains legal first option to all of our horses, regardless of ownership release.  Should you cease to be able to provide care for any reason, Heart of Phoenix will always utilize this first right option and accept the HOP horse back with a refund of (up to the full) adoption fee paid. If someone you know would like to adopt the HOP horse you have, they are always welcome to apply and may do so, if approved.
  • We do not adopt more than 2 horses to any applicant within a 6 month period of time. Adoptions of more than 2 are possible with an extremely strong equine history, income verification and only if you own your property.

33 thoughts on “Adoption Introduction: All You Want to Know

  1. Hello, im interested in the foster form, and possibly adopt a horse. I have 3 fields. Two are barb wire, however the wire is not low enough for a horse to step over, and it does not hang loose. The other field has a wood fence and currently hold 3 other horses in it. (35acres).
    ALL have barns/run-ins, grass, fresh hay, and horses will be grained twice a day.

    My farrier-740-222-4393(Austin Stevens)
    My Vet- 740-286-8035 (valerie Anderson)…Last time she was out it was to put my paint mare down because of EPM.
    I have not managers or trainers other than my mother helps me tend to these horses. 740-222-3742(Lorrie Thornsberry) *We share a phone number* She may not answer due to a sickness with my papal.


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