While it’s said that, "beggars can’t be choosers," the nature of what we do therapeutically require us to very cautious in adopting new horses into the program. With that in mind, if you have, or know of, a horse you think might be suited for our program, listed below are a few points we will consider before accepting that donation. Whether or not the horse you are thinking of makes it into our program, we do want to thank you for thinking of us:
How To Pick The Best Therapy Horse
- Geldings are preferred, but some mares do well.
- Horses 15 – 20 years old are in the best age range because, at this age, they are usually are not broken down but they do have plenty of riding experience.
- The best therapy horses have a solid riding background and know riders’ cues.
- Simple, easy-going horses are the best. They don’t require a lot of individual attention and do well on a therapy "string." Conversely, horses that are smart with a lot of personality and/or spirit don’t seem to do as well. They get bored easily and start picking up bad habits.
- Medium sized horses are best because really small or really tall horses cater to special kinds of riders and thus are more limited in how they can be used therepeutically.
- Good conformation is always a plus. Horses that are well put together will have less physical problems and will make everyone’s life easier. Remember that good hooves and legs are most important. Things like a short neck or an ugly head are not as important.
- Horses that have been children/beginner lesson horses have often picked up bad habits. They may root (pull the reins out of a trainer’s hands), and ignore their small riders and stopping at the gate.
- Some horses that fall outside of these guidelines are worth working with but we can accept only those horses that have correctable habits and those for which we have the time and staff resources to deal with.
For more information, or if you have questions about a specific horse donation, please contact our barn manager, Wendy Silva, at (916) 434-0693.
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