The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of horses in need of help, and your support will save lives. Adoption organizations are in urgent need of fosters to care for at-risk horses—they are dealing with staff shortages and new social distancing directives, while also managing an unprecedented number of horses needing their care and support.
Fostering means that you are opening your heart and home to an at-risk horse by becoming the primary caregiver until they are adopted, or until the shelter has room to take the horse back into their facility. As a foster home, you are playing a critical role in keeping the barn doors open at the rescue so that other at-risk horses can receive help. Fostering a horse is a special and important way of building a system of support for horses in your community.
BENEFITS OF FOSTERING
Fostering a horse comes with a multitude of benefits – to you, the horse, and the organization you’re fostering from:
By fostering, you are keeping the doors open to another at-risk horse, and possibly the next at-risk horse after that. By fostering one horse, you are saving multiple lives.
- If you’re relatively new to horses, fostering is a great way to learn more about horse care through the guidance and support provided by the adoption organization!
- If you’re an experienced rider or handler, you can use your skills to give back by helping to train and rehabilitate your fostered horse.
- Fostering allows you to make a huge impact on a horse’s life with less commitment than adopting.
And besides all of that, fostering a horse is fun! You will be embarking on a highly rewarding journey that ultimately ends in saving a life and helping a horse find an adoptive home.
HOW TO BECOME A FOSTER
Each organization has its own system for working with prospective foster homes. Once you find a horse you would like to foster, contact the individual organization using the “Contact About Fostering” button on the horse’s My Right Horse listing. Please note – not all organizations are set up to foster. In the event you find a horse that’s not available for fostering, the individual organization will inform you once they receive your contact request online. Please don’t let that discourage you from finding another horse who is available for fostering, or supporting in other ways – these horses and organizations need your support in this uncertain time!
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN APPLYING
The process to become a foster depends on the organization you’re working with, but a typical process can include these three steps:
- An initial application
- A conversation with the adoption organization
- A visit from the adoption organization to your farm/ranch/facility
During the application process, you will likely be expected to provide information about your property or boarding situation and equine care providers. Have that information ready to share.
As you embark on your exciting journey for fostering, it’s important to keep a few key things in mind:
- Costs: some organizations will cover some of the horse’s care costs. Make sure to find out what you will be expected to provide for your fostered horse up front and budget appropriately.
- Matching you to a foster horse: Adoption organizations will work to carefully match you with a foster horse who’s a safe and appropriate fit for your facility and ability level. For example, horses needing extensive rehabilitation or training will be better suited with an experienced handler. Keep an open mind about what types of equines you can open your home to.
- Finding an adopter for your foster equine: some foster programs encourage the foster homes to help find adopters for their horse. Ask how you can be part of the exciting process of connecting your foster horse with a loving home!
- Enjoy the process! Many successful fostering matches have led to happy adoptions, plus bonding, learning and fun.