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More safety nets are available now than ever for horse owners encountering debilitating illness or financial distress.


No matter how well they are cared for, many of the horses in backyard pastures or boarding barns will eventually need to be rehomed. This can happen when the animal’s owner becomes challenged by changing finances, illness, age or even death. Still, many owners fail to plan for a time when they cannot keep their horses for any reason.

It’s a reality that horse welfare advocates have increasingly been pondering, says animal behaviorist Emily Weiss, Ph.D., CAAB, vice president of the ASPCA Equine Welfare Department.

“We want to create a safety net for horses,” she says. “We want to find ways to provide owners with alternatives so they can prevent their horse from becoming at-risk.”

Reasons for Rehoming

According to Weiss, a recent ASPCA survey of 211 owners who rehomed their horses revealed that in addition to direct financial challenges, moving and human health issues ranked high among reasons why owners become compelled to sell, surrender or otherwise rehome their horses. In fact, any significant lifestyle shift can determine whether or not an owner can continue to keep a horse, says Tawnee Preisner, founder and president of the Horse Plus Humane Society.

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Horse Illustrated November 2018, How to Stay FOREVER YOUNG in the SADDLE, Riding through LOVE&LOSS, And More......