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Starting a Rescue

Things to Think About BEFORE You Start a Horse Rescue

Running a horse rescue is a huge commitment. You'll be responsible for the daily care of your horses, and have reliable volunteers or staff available if you aren't. In addition, rescue horses often need more special care, sometimes having to be fed up to four times a day or have medications administered by yourself or a veterinarian.

If you decide to start a rescue, start small. Don't rush into taking too many horses; get your organization financially stable and take only as many horses as you can care for at a time. Even if you're only able to rescue two or three horses at first, those are still two or three lives that you're saving from abuse, neglect, or slaughter.

In recent years, many rescues have made the decision to merge with other organizations to pool their resources, giving both groups a better chance of surviving donation droughts. Instead of starting your own horse rescue, take some time to think things over—you may wish to consider partnering with another rescue in your area.

Websites to Check Out

How to Raise Funds

The only way to keep your horse rescue going, especially through the tough times, is through a strong public relations/advertising effort. Spreading the word about your horse rescue can mean the difference between taking in one horse or ten. Here's a helpful list of ways to do so:

  • Pass out or post flyers and brochures at tack shops, horse shows, and other related events. If you can, attach a list of your current rescues (stories and pictures) to your information. You should get even more responses.
  • Leave donation cans in tack shops, and carry one with you when advertising at horse shows/events. Most people should be happy to give you a dollar or two, and you might make several hundred dollars in one day's work, while possibly even finding a few potential adopters or sponsors!
  • Purchase low-cost bulk fundraising items (stuffed animals, mugs, calendars, notecards, t-shirts, etc.) that you can resell through events or even on your website—great way to bring in donations outside of your standard sponsorships.
  • Create a website! Hundreds of people visit my site and others like it daily, giving you great exposure. Try to keep a current list of rescues with photos on your site to gain viewer interest.

I encourage you to contact rescues in your area for further information on how to get started.

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