Should You Donate Your Horse to a Therapeutic Riding Program?


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Have you ever thought that your horse might make a great therapeutic riding horse? Some owners choose to donate their horses to therapeutic riding programs, rather than advertising their horses for sale. Could this be the right option for you? Here are some factors to consider.

Donations Only, Please

Most therapeutic riding programs cannot afford to purchase horses for their program, and rely on donated horses. If a program can pay, the horse’s purchase price must be minimal. In many cases, you won’t receive the value that your horse is worth, but if you donate your horse you may be able to write his value off as a tax deduction.

Soundness Is a Must

Therapeutic riding programs generally can’t accommodate horses with soundness issues. Your horse will need to carry a variety of riders, some of whom will have balance issues. It’s important that your horse is sound enough to at least walk and trot comfortably.

Horses Need Particular Temperaments

Just because you think your horse would be a great therapeutic riding horse doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s suited for a program. Each program has its own way of evaluating potential horses.

Programs need to assess a horse’s temperament, patience, and overall suitability, and some may take your horse on a trial to make sure he works out.

Consider What Happens Once Your Horse Is Done with the Program

Before you agree to give your horse to a program, you need to find out exactly what happens to the horses that are either found unsuitable or which age out of the program. Many programs offer these horses up for sale. If you want your horse to come back to you, you need to find a program willing to accommodate that request and make sure that you receive a signed contract spelling that request out.

Get Everything in Writing

Just like when you sell your horse, make sure that you get everything in writing. If you plan to use your horse’s donation as a tax write-off, speak with your accountant to find out what paperwork you will need come tax time. Be sure that you have a contract, and take the time to fully read and understand the contract before signing it.

Donating your horse to a therapeutic riding program can be a highly rewarding experience, as long as it’s right for both you and your horse.

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