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Your new best friend is waiting for you!

There is nothing like the bond between horse and human.  USERL has several horses just waiting to find their special person to call their own, whether you are wanting your next show horse, or have the space in your heart to give a horse his or her final retirement home, we can help you find that special horse.   USERL adoption coordinators will work with you to find the best match for your needs and desires.


What are USERL's adoption policies in a nutshell?

Adopted horses remain the property of USERL. Adopters may not breed, race, sell or give away the adopted horse. Adopters must allow USERL to inspect their facility for safety prior to adoption, and access to check the horse thereafter at USERL's discretion.


How does the adoption process work?

Potential adopters first need to fill out an adoption application. If a particular horse interests them, they should put that horse's name on the application. An USERL volunteer will contact them to discuss the horse and schedule a barn check.  Once we know the facility meets USERL reqirements, the potential adopter will be put in contact with the foster home to schedule a time to meet the horse.  After the potential adopter visits the horse, and decides they would like to adopt the horse, the appropriate USERL Regional Director and/or Executive Director discuss the adoption with the foster home to ensure the horse and potential adopter are a good fit.

What does a facility check involve?

An USERL volunteer will schedule a time to meet you at your barn. S/he will be looking for safety (i.e. no barbed wire, no junk in the pastures), a clean, healthy environment and the condition and temperament of your other horses, if any.


Why do some horses have a required donation and others do not?

Horses over 25 and those that are companion only do not have a required donation. Horses that are rideable or otherwise in demand will have a required donation that is still well below a reasonable selling price.


Why does USERL not give the adopter ownership of the equine?

USERL's commitment is to the equine, and retaining ownership protects the future of that animal. Adopters may die, get laid off or become ill but USERL will always be there to make certain that the horse has food, shelter and love. Most of our adopters feel security in knowing that if anything happens to them, USERL will be there to provide for their beloved friend. Our intention is for the adopter to have the equine for the rest of its life. On a darker note, retaining ownership prevents a small number of unscrupulous people from adopting a horse then selling it for whatever profit can be had - maybe to a killer buyer, or to someone completely unsuitable for that horse, or to someone with a record of animal abuse.


How long does the adoption process take?

It depends on how quickly you can get out to meet the equine and how quickly we can get a volunteer to do your barn check. Typically it takes one week to one month.

Why does USERL prefer not to adopt to homes that have no other grazing animals?

Horses are herd animals and are not at ease unless they are with others of their kind - or at the very least, another grazing animal like a goat or cow. Being alone causes stress and makes the horse more susceptible to illness. If you do not have another horse you can get a small goat or...adopt two horses! 

Why does USERL require a minimum of a three sided, roofed shelter?

Wild horses are free to find natural shelter and also run in large groups that can huddle together for warmth and protection from the elements. Domestic horses, on the other hand, are typically confined to relatively small areas that lack adequate natural shelter, and are pastured in small herds that cannot provide enough protection from the elements.

Why does USERL not allow barbed wire?

In a word: safety. Barbed wire is extremely dangerous for horses. Horses panic easily, even in a familiar environment. A panicked horse can overlook wire strands, and severe injury can result when he runs into or through barbed wire. Wire has a memory of being coiled, and once released from the fence posts it can quickly wrap around a horse's legs, body and neck. The picture below shows the type of injury that can be sustained in a barbed wire accident. The flesh has been ripped away and the bone is exposed. The USERL takes great pride in the protection is affords its rescued horses. It will not allow them to be exposed to fencing which has time and again proven itself to cause injury, disability and death.

I am interested in adopting.  What should I do now?

Check out our our Available Horses to see if a particular horse interests you. Click on the adoption application link below and fill out the adoption application.  This will be sent to your area adoption coordinator, who will be in touch with you to help you find the best match for your family.  If you do not get a response within 1 week of submitting your email inquiry, you should follow up with a phone call or email to make sure your application has been received.

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