Fostering a rescue horse is a great way to help out a horse in need. If you are new to horses, this is a great way to try out home horse care. If you think you’d like to give fostering a try, here are the basics that you will need to know.
Know What You Can Reasonably Do
Many rescue horses come from truly horrific situations. They may be dangerously underweight or have serious health issues that have not been addressed. Many rescues do what they can to stabilize a horse before putting it in a foster situation, but realize that this is not a free horse that you can do anything with. Most likely it will be unrideable for the forseeable future and you will need to follow a consistent diet to put weight back on. The horse may require stall rest with some hand walking. Make sure you are ready for the challenges of a foster horse in need.
Read the Fine Print
Every horse rescue has different expectations and needs of their foster homes. They also have their own individual home screening and approval processes. Before you get too far into your plans of fostering, ask the rescue for a detailed explanation of what duties, financial or otherwise, a foster home assumes. For instance, if the horse is injured while you are riding it, are you solely responsible for resulting vet bills?
Some expectations of a foster home are pretty standard – generally a home is expected to provide feed and day-to-day care for the fostered horse. Most rescues will want a situation where the horse has a stall available to him. Depending on the horse’s level of training, you may be able to ride him and enjoy him much in the same way that you would enjoy your own horse. Many rescues cover the cost of farrier work and vet visits for their fostered horses. Still, differences occur between each foster situation, so be sure that you have a thorough understanding of what your responsibilities will be.
Foster Through a Reputable Rescue
If you want to foster a horse, then you should take your time in finding the right rescue to work with. Horse rescues have a variety of outlooks in terms of horse care, riding, and training techniques, so find a rescue with an approach that you agree with. You will also want to make sure that the rescue is well-established and reputable, and that the rescue will continue to act as a resource for you during your time as a foster home.
Be Realistic About Your Situation
In fostering a horse, you may have that horse for a few weeks or a few years, depending on how quickly an adoptee is found or if your own situation changes. During that time you can bond strongly with the horse, which will make letting it go to its new home difficult. Many rescues give a foster home the first choice of adopting a horse, but before you set out to foster, you should decide if you can handle owning another horse. Knowing what your decision would be ahead of time can help to make the situation a bit easier if or when it does arise.
Fostering a horse is a great way to start off a new beginning, both for you and for the horse. If you’re interested in fostering, then chances are there is a nearby horse rescue that will be grateful for your generosity.
Photo credit: Tails Of A Shelter Vet