• ‚Äč
    • Share to Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Email
    • Print

Horse Adoption Process

The adoption process is designed to assure the best possible match possible between horses and adopters

The Humane Society of the United States / The Fund for Animals

About adoption

The adoption process, called the ‘4A’ process, is comprehensive and designed to assure the best possible match possible between horses and adopters. Horsemanship skills, level of training, inherent personality and horsenality, and the ability to care and continue the development of the adopted horse are all considered.


To adopt a horse, the first step is to apply by filling out an adoption application. A $50, non-refundable application fee is required upon submission of application, and can be paid by credit card, check (made payable to DDHRAC) or cash.


It typically takes two to three meetings to complete the ‘Assess’ stage of the adoption process. A barn visit is also required before any horse is placed in an adoptive home.

Once we have reviewed your application, we will schedule an appointment for you to meet with one of our staff. At this meeting, we will learn more about your horsemanship plans and dreams and experience, and assess your comfort level with horses. Based upon this, we will introduce you to an equine who is appropriate for you.

At the second meeting, you will meet our trainers, handle those equines of interest, and watch our trainer ride potential adoptees.

If you are interested in adopting a horse for riding, you will be permitted to ride at the next meeting.


If you are successfully matched with a horse, we will prepare an adoption contract for your signature. You may then meet with our veterinarian to discuss any health issues; pay an adoption fee (fees vary according to the horse’s experience and level of training); and arrange transportation to take your new equine home.

Or, we may defer your application and recommend a three- to four-month trial and training period. In this case, a potential adopter can care for the chosen horse, and receive training from our staff or a trainer within our network. Doris Day Equine Center trainers will be available to work with both horse and rider for a maximum of four hours a week. Adopters may be permitted to seek training off-site, using an approved trainer from our network.

Once the trial period is completed, the adopter can opt to move forward with the adoption contract or to forego the adoption.

Advise and Audit:

Once you have taken your adopted horse home, we encourage you to call us with any questions you may have, and participate in clinics, play days and any other educational and wellness courses we offer at Doris Day Equine Center.

In addition, our staff will follow up via phone and through site visits to ensure that adopted horses are well cared for and to support you in your journey with your new equine.

Adoption requirements

To adopt a horse through the Doris Day Equine Center, you will need to meet minimum equine housing and management requirements.



  • Adopted horses must be maintained with a companion animal, namely, another horse, mule, pony, miniature horse, or a goat, or other as approved.



  • Property must be zoned for equine and provide a minimum of one acre of useable pasture or paddock space per horse.
  • If pasture fed, there must be sufficient grazing of suitable grass and pasture plants that are well established.



  • Fencing needs to be of solid construction and in good condition. Suitable materials include wood, no-climb wire, or other equine type fence material.
  • Barbed wire can pose serious safety risks and may only be used where there are more than 15 acres per equine.
  • Ideally, barbed wire pasture should have a non-barbed top wire.
  • Barbed or high-tensile wire must be marked with brightly colored streamers or ties.
  • Electric fencing may be used, but must be visible for horses. Electric tape must be at least 3 inches in width.



  • Property where an equine is to be housed must have adequate shelter from wind, rain, snow, and heat.
  • Shelters need to be constructed to provide sufficient space for each equine to turn around, lie down, move his or her head freely, etc.
  • A stall measuring 10.5"x10.5" with at least two closed sides is the minimum for the average 1,200 pound horse.
  • If an equine is stalled or kept in a paddock, he or she must be turned out in a suitable pasture (an acre per horse) for at least 12 hours per day.