Heart of Phoenix Equine Education BLOG

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

Introduction to Adoption


Before Applying, Please Make Sure you Review This Page Entirely to understand the adoption process at Heart of Phoenix

  1. Apply
  2. Send in photos and documents
  3. Notify References to Complete their Forms
  4. Wait for Approval 
  5. MEET The Horse(s)
  6. If you find a match, sign an adoption agreement 
  7. Take your horse home
  8. Update HOP monthly with photos to show your horse in a happy home
  9. After the first 12 months, have the option to gain ownership
  10. Update us at least yearly afterward
  11. 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 understand the adoption inquiry and adoption agreement could seem like extra steps, but we make up for those few extra steps by keeping 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 but aren’t able to afford multiple horses, 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. Our adoption agreement is patterned to stand behind the horse forever, you and your horse are protected. 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, horses rarely come back to HOP, but when it happens, it is usually due to a move or change income. It is rarely because the horse wasn’t a great fit.
  7. The horses come with upfront and honest assessments. The horses are current on vetting, training and farrier care.

Over hundreds of adoptions, we can tell you our process works great for ADOPTER AND ADOPTED HORSE


Please Read The ADOPTION AGREEMENT here.

Submit and sign the electronic version once you’ve been approved, find the right horse and are finalizing an adoption

Get in touch with us to discuss any questions or concerns you have or text: visit this page for our text number

BEFORE YOU APPLY, Consider these points:

  1. Apply once you’re certain you want to give adoption a try. Please do not submit an application if you’re actively looking to purchase right this moment and are shopping many places because we spend a long time doing these submissions, and letting us know once we complete and approve an application that you’ve found another horse makes it very hard on our volunteers and their limited time.
  2. Please be sure to complete all needed steps and all areas of the application 
  3. Understand some Horses could have other applications in before yours, or some applicants have references that respond so quickly, they may receive approval quickly. Sometimes this means even if approved, the horse you’re interested in may be adopted be an earlier applicant. Ask us at any  time what a horse’s status is.
  4. An approved Application is required to meet the adoptable horses. Once your application is approved, you can meet the horses that may fit your needs at their foster location. You are not expected to adopt just because you completed an application.
  5. We are looking for adopters that provide a happy and healthy environment for horses, have a suitable experience level for the adoptable horse, are looking for a long term partner and can afford the basic needs (feed, shelter, training, vet care, farrier care and dental care) of a horse.
  6. 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.
  7. Be committed to checking in with us often on how your application is going. We want to hear from you.

Your Facility

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.

Your Care History

For Current or Previous Equine Owners:

We need to establish a clear pattern of good 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 when you apply

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 for 12 months to learn about horsemanship, riding and care before taking a horse to your own facility or another out of network facility. In most cases, even if our traditional adoption process does not fit, this process will work for most individuals.

These adoptions mean the horse is in a full care boarding situation for a year with a modified adoption agreement initially. Afterward, if all is going well, the adopter can move the horse to their own location. For these applications, a small animal vet reference goes a long way, and we will need personal and professional references, as well.


We Adopt Nationwide.

You may use Equine dentists, 4H leaders, Pet Vets, Trainers and boarding barn owners you work with are references.

Please make sure they know we will be calling or they know to contact us to make things move quickly, so you can meet your NEW “POTENTIAL” HORSE.


A horse can only be adopted to someone who can easily handle and ride the horse they select. The only exception is when an adopter comes with a trainer and is boarding and working with a trainer in a facility. If you are a beginner rider and owner, we can help you get on the path to becoming a capable rider and owner through our programs, so reach out and ask us how we can help.

  • 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.

YOU’RE APPROVED – When you Get this email, here are your next steps:

Sign Your Adoption Agreement  after you’ve been approved and meet your RIGHT HORSE

  • If you’re approved, Please get in touch 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.
  • The Adoption Agreement: Have the Adoption Agreement read and signed once you Select a Horse. A horse cannot leave our facility without this agreement signed.
  • 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 new owners after 12 months and vet exam on their adopted horse. Adopters with a previous history of equine ownership receive ownership after 90 days.
  • Remember, Heart of Phoenix retains legal first option to all of our horses.  Our horses cannot be sold, as that violates the legally binding adoption agreement.  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 “Introduction to Adoption

  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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