• Can you afford a horse?Open or Close
    If the cost of the animal is your first concern, you need to be sure you are able to care for him or her. No horse is ever "free." The initial purchase price of any horse pales in comparison with what you will need to do to support and care for the animal afterward. Consider the cost of a tube of wormer, annual vaccinations, fly spray, grain, hay, farrier work, vet bills, boarding, or if you are keeping the horse at home, the cost of fencing, pasture shelters, etc. 
  • How much of my time is going to be needed?Open or Close
    Initially, there is a "getting acquainted" period. You also have to remember that no two horses are the same. Horses from most rescues have been handled. Horses may take anywhere from a few hours to months before you are able to start building that bond and trust. Yes, you can do like many "trainers" out there and hurry the process, but how much of a foundation have you really given this horse? Are you going to be able to fully trust him/her? Take the time to learn what works and what doesn't. Even though you might have had success with one horse, keep in mind the next one will likely be different. Be open, use your imagination, but most importantly, be gentle and patient. You are building a foundation that you want to rely on. It's the same foundation we start building here at Central New England Equine Rescue. 
  • How do I choose the 'right' horse?Open or Close
    Age
      How strong are your horse-gentling skills? Are you up to handling a defensive or frightened adult horse? Many experienced horse adopters feel that three to five years is the perfect age the horse is still young enough to adapt to a new home easily. Any horse will, with time and patience, learn to bond with you. Some older horses, being very wise and intelligent, come around very quickly and realize that you are there to help them. Remember, in the overall horse world, seven years of age, or even fifteen, is not considered an old horse by any means.
    Rideability
      If your reason for adopting a horse is in hopes of riding right away, reconsider. Very few people will be able to ride their horse right away. That said, there are occasional horses who do gentle down and accept training very quickly. A good trainer can usually get even an abused horse under saddle within a short amount of time. But for most, it can be a longer process.
    Gender
      For some people, gender isn't an issue. Other people have definite ideas about male or female equines. Mares (females) are often more demonstrative in their affections than males, but they can also be harder to handle during their heat cycles, depending upon how they are affected by hormonal fluctuations. Males can be either stallions or geldings. Geldings are a popular choice among many horse owners
    Conformation/Health
      You will want to learn enough about conformation (skeletal structure, etc.) to choose a horse who has sturdy legs and feet, and an overall structure that will allow a pleasant smooth ride. Horses with special needs are wonderful but will require additional financial support on your part. If you plan to show your horse, you would want to choose an animal with exceptional conformation.
    Conformation/Purpose

    Find the right horse for the job. A good dressage horse is built differently than a cutting or reining horse. Think about the riding discipline you would like to pursue and choose accordingly. If you don't know what is needed for your chosen discipline, visit horse shows and seek out the advice of those who are riding as you would like to.

    Temperament
      Temperament is probably the hardest thing to evaluate in a horse. There are a number of widely-quoted benchmarks for judging temperament: Look for a kind eye, large and clear. Watch how the horse interacts with others. If you want a quiet, easy-going horse, choose one who avoids confrontation, one who does not seem overly upset by the more excitable horses in the herd, or one who seems sociable and well-liked. If you want a horse for endurance or a similar riding discipline that requires tremendous "heart," you might want to choose one that is more animated.
    Color

    "A good horse is never a bad color."~ Rashid You don't ride the color, you ride what's inside the horse. That said, color may matter to you. Certain disciplines that you may want to participate in can discriminate against, or in favor of, certain colors and/or patterns. One's dream horse is usually a certain color or color pattern. Since your ability to commit deeply to the horse is the prime ingredient for success, a color priority is legitimate. If you have a color preference, simply admit that you do, and don't beat yourself up over it.

    Your gut-level connection

    The most important thing of all is for you to feel a strong commitment to your animal, because that's what is going to make your new partnership succeed.

 

For all of the above reasons, CNEER encourages you to come for a visit. Spend some time with our horses and see how they interact. We encourage you to sit and watch. This is not a decision to be made lightly, but a choice to be made wisely – and we are here to help. The perfect horse is out there for you. No matter how “practical” or “rational” a choice is, your adoption project will not be successful if you cannot, in your heart, commit deeply to it.

So, after considering all the practical matters:
choose a horse that speaks to your heart