RSPCA Victoria – Tips on buying and adopting horses

If you’ve decided it’s time to add a new horse to your family, there are many things to consider – especially for first-time horse owners.

We’ve previously spoken about the responsibility of caring for horses and what is needed to ensure they lead happy and healthy lives. Buying or adopting from a reputable source is another way to ensure you’re well prepared and know what’s required to look after your new equine companion.

Finding a reputable source

First and foremost, it’s important to be able to recognise sellers who may not have had a good history of caring for the horse or had its best interests at heart. Beware of purchasing a horse from anyone who cannot provide a satisfactory history of the animal. Equine rescue groups should be able to provide comprehensive details of a horse’s current care and ongoing requirements, and any known history.

RSPCA Victoria is one of many organisations that rescues, rehabilitates and cares for horses in need, so they can then be adopted into loving homes. There are also many fantastic equine rescue groups who have supported RSPCA Victoria with rehabilitating and finding happy homes for horses, including:

  • Horse Shepherd Equine Sanctuary
  • Harmony Reins
  • Winged Horse
  • Project Hope

As well as knowing your horse’s health and ownership history, it’s important to make sure you’re choosing the right equine for you! Ensure you’re a good match, and make it clear to the seller the role you are wanting a horse to play in your life.

Choosing a horse

There is a diverse range of horses available for adoption across Victoria, including horses suitable for riding, paddock buddies, project horses who may require training/breaking in and horses just looking to live out the rest of their lives with a loving family.

The first step when choosing a horse is to find out about the horse’s age, background, temperament and any behavioural issues (e.g. bucking, kicking, biting or bolting). If it’s your first horse, make sure it has a quiet temperament. Examine the horse and have an experienced friend ride it for you and then ride it yourself. If it feels right ask for a one-week trial, then ride and handle the horse daily. Have your own veterinarian check the horse for fitness and suitability prior to purchase.

Do some research

It is vital to have a good understanding of the requirements, costs and potential problems associated with owning a horse. It may be helpful to discuss all these issues with friends and acquaintances who have owned horses for some time. We strongly recommend first time horse buyers join the local Pony Club where you can receive expert tuition on riding and advice on horse care.

RSPCA Pearcedale Horse Open Day

RSPCA Victoria is offering a wonderful opportunity for members of the public to meet the beautiful horses available for adoption at the RSPCA Victoria Pearcedale Horse Open Day on 8 December, 2018. Tours of the property and meet and greets with the equine residents will occur on an hourly basis from 10am to 2pm.

All RSPCA Victoria horses available for adoption have a good body score, have been vaccinated and drenched, have had farrier and dental checks, are microchipped and come with comprehensive medical records.

For more information on adopting and caring for horses and our Open Day, visit RSPCA Victoria at EQUITANA Melbourne, Exhibition Stand 110 in the John Deere Pavilion, or consider enrolling in the RSPCA Victoria Caring for Horses short course in December.

You can find out more about RSPCA Victoria’s short courses and horses for adoption at