Transition Of At-Risk Horses Into New Homes, Careers At EquiFest Workshop

By Frank J. Buchman
“While many people’s lifetime dream is to own a horse, sometimes fulfillment of that vision can become a nightmare.”
With the many benefits of horse ownership often are unforeseen even inconceivable hardships, costs, and dangers.
Issues arise of what to do with that horse which created such pride and joy but has become a burden.
Possible solutions to that dilemma will be reviewed in one of the workshops during the EquiFest of Kansas.
“With all of attractions at this year’s EquiFest, attendees sure don’t want to miss the workshops,” alerted Justine Staten.
“The 25th anniversary EquiFest of Kansas is at the Saline County Expo Center in Salina, March 18-19-20,” Staten said.
Executive director of the Kansas Horse Council (KHC), Staten noted, “EquiFest is the KHC’s main fundraiser benefiting all horse people.”
Kansas’ premier All-Breed Horse Fair & Exposition offers education, entertainment and shopping for everybody with horse interests.
So many activities have been planned that this year’s EquiFest is actually kicking off a day early, Staten said. “We have breakaway roping clinic on Thursday, March 17, with the official EquiFest starting on Friday,” she added.
The Right Horse Initiative workshop is the first one on the schedule at the Tony’s Pizza Events Center Friday morning.
“Established in 2016, The Right Horse Initiative is to increase the number of successful horse adoptions,” said Dr. Emily Weiss.
Merged with the American Society for the Prevision of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the group is guided by Dr. Weiss.
“Protecting horses has been central to the ASPCA’s mission since founding more than 150 years ago,” Weiss said. “Through this program we are rededicating ourselves to developing innovative ideas and partnerships bonding between horses and humans.”
Actually, The Right Horse Initiative is a collective of industry professionals and welfare advocates working together, explained Weiss, ASPCA Equine Welfare vice president. “Efforts are to improve the lives of horses in transition through a dialogue of kindness and respect,” she said.
With more than 50 partners, The Right Horse Initiative works to better adoption standards and practices. “The opportunities for impact are tremendous,” Weiss insisted. “We continue deepening our collaboration with equine rescues, advocates, and industry professionals providing life-changing options for horses and their owners.
“Our goal is to shatter the stigma and reframe the conversation around equine adoption,” Weiss continued. “Ultimately the intention is to massively increase horse adoptions in the United States.”
Efforts have proven successful to date, Weiss indicated with more than 2,600 horses finding new homes in first year of the program. “This increased positive outcomes for horses in transitions moving from one home, career, or owner to the next,” she said.
While horse adoption facilities faced coronavirus challenges, The Right Horse matched more horses with foster families than the previous year.
The online adoption platform entitled My Right Horse has helped connect transitioning horses with compassionate new homes, Weiss informed.
“The Initiative, alongside its industry advocates, has launched innovative programming,” Weiss said. “We have high visibility training programs focused on supporting horses in transition to efficiently move horses into their next career.”
To enhance these collaborations, The Right Horse also hosted a Virtual Summit for 200 industry pioneers and leaders in equine welfare. “We offered a highly interactive and dynamic online experience,” Weiss said. “It was an opportunity to celebrate the collective work being done to shatter stigmas about horses in transition and increase equine adoptions.”
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA is the first animal welfare organization in North America. With more than two million members, ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals.
“The ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services,” Weiss pointed out.
Among other EquiFest workshops are Little Bighorn Battle Survivor, Happy Horse Behavior, Legendary Horsemen, Western Dressage, and Back Country Horsemen.
Details can be found on The Right Horse Initiative, Kansas Horse Council and EquiFest of Kansas websites and Facebook.

Dr. Emily Weiss will present a workshop about The Right Horse Initiative during the EquiFest of Kansas at Salina March 18-19-20.