How Does the Adoption Process Work?

If you’d like to simply look at a horse that interests you, please stop by the rescue for an unofficial meet and greet during our hours of operation: Wed-Sun 10am to 5pm. No appointment is needed for this visit as you will simply be observing horses in their pasture setting.

To move into the official pool of potential adopters, please fill out the online Horse Match Profile. These go directly to the Adoption Manager for review to see if you are a match for a specific horse of your choice or any other horse looking for a new home. Online forms not for you? Download and complete a hard copy of the Horse Match Profile to mail/bring in.

If a match between horse and potential adopter looks promising, we’ll contact you to set up an appointment to meet with one of our trainers and the horse you are interested in. This first appointment focuses on your ability to manage the horse, regardless of its riding status, from the ground – establishing leadership and connection with the horse.

If the first appointment is successful from our trainer’s standpoint as well as yours, we will then schedule a 2nd appointment on a different day to conduct a riding session, or an additional ground lesson depending on the category of horse you are considering.

If a good match is made and all parties agree to proceed with the adoption, we will then perform a site visit at the potential home to ensure minimum standards of equine care can be met.

With a successful site visit complete, CHR requests full payment of adoption fees and signed/initialed Adoption Contract be submitted to CHR. Transportation arrangements are made, the Colorado Brand Inspection can be completed along with Coggins testing and the creation of a *health certificate (*when needed). Further specifics to complete the adoption process are available by requesting a copy of the Adoption Contract.

Note: We ask for at least 24 hours cancellation notice of adoption appointments. 

*We require two adoption appointments at CHR for several reasons*

As transparency is crucial regarding each horse’s information and history, it’s good for the potential adopter to see the horse on multiple days before committing. This also gives our trainer and adoption manager more time to ensure each horse/human pair is a good match.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What kind of horses do you have available for adoption?

We have horses that are rideable in all disciplines, green or un-started horses, and non-rideable horses that can fill the much-needed job of ‘companion’ for other equines. Within these categories, there are generally a variety of ages, breeds, sizes and temperaments.

How does CHR define beginner, intermediate, and advanced riding and handling levels?

Download a copy of our Rider/Handler Experience Criteria.

How old do I have to be to adopt?

Adopters must be at least 21 years of age. A parent may sign legal documentation on behalf of a minor child.

Can I have a horse checked by a vet?

We encourage adopters to treat an adoption just as you would the purchase of any horse. A pre-purchase exam is always a good idea and can be arranged at the potential adopters’ expense.

Can first-time horse owners adopt?

Yes. Depending on your level of experience in horse handling and care, certain conditions may apply to the adoption.

How much does it cost to care for a horse?

The adoption fee is the least expensive cost of owning a horse. It can cost between $3,000.00 and $8,000.00 (or more) annually to care for a horse. Horses have a lifespan of 30+ years, so horse ownership is a long-term financial and emotional commitment.

Is there a minimum household income requirement for adopters?

Household income requirements are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Where do the horses at your rescue come from?

Colorado Horse Rescue receives horses from responsible owners in crisis and we also purchase some of our horses from auction. Many of these horses come to us in great condition and simply need a reminder of skills and some consistent handling. Those that may arrive underweight or ill are rehabilitated under the expert care of CHR’s staff. All horses are brought to full health before being offered for adoption. A small number of horses also come to us through Animal Control Agencies across the state of Colorado.

Can horses be adopted out of state?

We consider adoptions to neighboring states on a case-by-case basis.