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Adoption Requirements

Thank you for your interest in adopting a rescue horse from Little Bear Stables! Our goal is to find our available horses a loving, safe and compatible home.

  • Since all adoptions require a farm visit, we only adopt out within a three-hour radius from Lancaster, MA. Please do a map check from your property to ours to see if you are within that range. This range is a little flexible, but not by much.

  • You must be at least 18 years old to adopt a horse. If you are under 18, your parent will need to sign the adoption contract and they will be legally responsible for the horse.

  • Each adopted horse must have an equine companion at their new home to be turned out with. Horses are herd animals and are happiest with a buddy.

  • The horse must have 24/7 access to a barn, or a three-sided run-in shed to block the prevailing winds and protect them from the weather. The shelter must be large enough to house all the animals in the turn out area in bad weather.

  • The horse must always have access to a clean water trough that is heated in the winter.

  • You must have safe and sturdy fencing. Some examples of fencing we will not approve is barbed wire fencing or fiberglass fence posts. Plastic step-in fence posts are not tall enough or sturdy enough to be used on their own. Livestock fencing that has 2”x 4” holes is ok. Anything with larger holes is not safe as they can get their legs or feet caught in them. Some of our favorite fencing includes (but is not limited to) wood fence posts with 3-5 wooden rails, or ElectroBraid fencing with wooden posts.

  • The adopter must be physically able to handle the adopted horse for their basic care (must be able to safely catch, halter, lead the horse and pick up all four feet).

  • You must have horse experience. We generally do not adopt out to first time horse owners UNLESS they are boarding the horse at a full-care boarding facility, are working closely with a trainer and are receiving regular lessons. This is for the safety of the horse and the adopter. You don’t have to board your horse forever, but it is always a good idea until you are very familiar with basic horse care and become a more confident horse handler and/or rider. 

  • We require the adopted horse stay up to date on these basic vaccines: Eastern/Western Encephalitis, Tetanus, Rabies, Influenza and Rhino.

  • Our adopted horses leave with a strict NO BREEDING policy. Why? Because there is a large overpopulation of horses and overbreeding is a major cause of horse slaughter.

  • You must have a veterinarian and farrier that will vouch for you. Please include their contact information in your adoption application.

  • We require that the adopted horse stays up to date with regular feet trimming (6-10 weeks depending on the time of year), deworming (minimum of 4 times per year), and annual dental care.

  • The adopted horse must have a minimum of 8 hours of turn out time daily.

  • The minimum turnout requirement for two full size horses is 1/2 acre. For each additional horse, the minimum space requirement will increase by an additional 1/8 acre per horse. Miniature horses and small ponies require less space. The minimum turnout requirement for two mini horses is 5,000 square feet. For each additional mini, the minimum space requirement will increase by 500 square feet per mini. You must have a dry lot (no grass) available to put the minis in as needed. Too much grass can cause health issues in minis such as founder, metabolic issues and obesity. Occasionally there are exceptions to the turnout size requirements depending on the specific horse’s needs. A sense of freedom to move is extremely important to a horse’s mental state and we are adamant that all our horses get that daily.

 

Adoption Process

If you are interested in adopting one of our horses, please download the Adoption Application and submit the completed application to us either by scanning it and sending it back to us in an email, or mailing it to us (all applications are reviewed on a first come first serve basis).

We will then contact you to discuss the horse and you in more detail and any other possible horses that might be an appropriate fit.

We love all of our rescue horses and we are ALL about making a compatible match between horse and adopter. If a horse and adopter sound like a good match, we will schedule a time for you to come and meet the horse. Once a compatible fit is made, we will move forward with the application process and call the references you listed on your application including your veterinarian and farrier (please notify them ahead of time and give them permission to discuss you with us). And lastly, we will schedule to come out to your farm or boarding facility to do a farm visit. Once you are approved, you will be asked to sign our adoption contract. Please note that we have the right to deny your application for any reason. If denied, you will receive a letter in the mail. We realize that our adoption process is very thorough, but this is all for the love of the horses and to protect them from ever falling on hard times again.

Although we strive to make a perfect match, we understand that sometimes things happen that are out of our control. If you are no longer able to care for your adopted horse for ANY reason, you must notify us immediately. We will either assist you in placing the horse in a pre-approved home through our adoption program, or the horse must come back to us. Please note that we have very limited space at our shelter and may not be able to take the horse back until a space opens. Adopted horses are not to be sold, given away or transferred without first going through our adoption process. We reserve the right to visit the adopted horse throughout their life.

Please do not ask for an adoption discount! These adoption fees are a mere drop in the bucket as compared with the expenses we have invested into each horse. Adoption fees go back into our organization to help support our programs and the horses at our rescue. All of our horses come with a current negative coggins, current vaccines, and are current with dental and farrier care.

Please remember, most of the horses that come to us, came from an unknown background. Some have trust issues and are very shy, others may have issues having their feet handled, or issues being handled for the veterinarian. In these cases, we really look for very experienced adopters, because these kinds of issues could be dangerous and some issues could last for years. In general, we find that horses are very forgiving, and learn to trust us and soon get over their fears. Most of our horses will easily become a loveable new member of your family. Thank you for considering a rescue horse and for giving them a second chance. We look forward to working with you!

Available Horses

Wicket

We rescued Wicket from a PA auction in the fall of 2021. We had hoped to incorporate him into our pony ride program, however we have recently decided to switch directions and discontinue pony rides. As much as we love sharing our ponies with all of you, our rescue horses require our full time attention! For this reason we are looking for a new home for Wicket. Wicket is 4 years old, gelded, and is a very sweet and friendly boy. We were told he drives but we do not have a cart to test him out. He does ride but he will need a refresher. Like most riding horses, he just needs some consistency and he will be a wonderful boy! He is up to date on all shots/dentals. He does require sedation for the farrier, which is something we continue to work on. For this reason we are looking for a home with horse experience, or at the very least a home with a trainer who can continue to help him progress in this area. 

Heart

Heart is a beautiful 20 year old standardbred mare. She was rescued from a kill pen in February of 2021 and came to live with us shortly after. We are told she spent most of her live as an Amish cart horse. She worked a long hard life. For this reason she has some chronic inflammation in her hind right leg, however she is not in pain and exhibits no signs of lameness or discomfort. Heart has been cleared for light riding and would make an excellent trail partner. Consistent light riding will be the most beneficial thing for her and her leg. Heart is also blind in one eye but this does not affect her much. She is a very sweet lady and would benefit strongly from having "her own" person to love and spoil her. She stands great for the farrier and is up to date on dental & shots. 

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King is a 20 year old Standardbred Cross gelding. We believe he may have some draft in him, due to his size. King is also an ex Amish work horse. He was overworked in his life and displays some signs of soreness from time to time. However, he has been cleared for ( and would benefit from) some light riding. King would make an excellent trail or husband horse. He rides out alone and loves going on new adventures. King was not treated well in his life, and he can be a little moody. He has come a long way with learning to enjoy human company but he would benefit the most from a person with horse experience. Someone who can help him through his tough days with patience and love. He is great for farrier and up to date on all dental & shots. 

Theo

Theo was rescued from a PA kill pen in August of 2022. He had been there for over a month with no interest. We did not get any information on his previous life but based on our evaluation, it would appear he spent most of his life turned out as a stallion with little human interaction. He did not know anything about riding, or leading, or even horse treats! He was castrated in QT so he is currently a gelding, however he still displays some stallion like behavior. He does not do well with other male horses, gelded or otherwise, he is extremely territorial. He is currently turned out with one other mare and he does great with her. He will need a similar set up or private paddock to be his best self. Our vet puts him around age 20, and he is around 13 hands tall. Theo did not know much about riding when we tried, he did not misbehave in any way, he just had no idea what we were asking of him. With a solid training program he would make an excellent pony. Because of Theo's needs we are looking for an experienced home with someone who plans to work with a trainer. 

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Phinney

Phinney is a 9 year old Standardbred Gelding. Phinney was surrendered to us when his owner could no longer care for him. Phinney is one of the few horses in our care who came in with a freeze brand, so we are able to gather some information on his previous life. He was bred to be a racehorse but was unsuccessful and ended up as an Amish cart horse. At some point Phinney suffered a severe accident which left him half blind and with a nasty scar on his leg. He also appears to have suffered EPM at one point in his life and some of his neurological function never returned. He was diagnosed with "sidewinders" which is not treatable/curable, he just walks a little funny! For this reason, because he is so incredibly unbalanced, riding him would not be safe. While his riding career is over, he would make an excellent companion horse or pasture pet. He is the biggest love, an absolute puppy dog of a horse, anyone would be so happy to have this guy to come home to everyday. He is the first to come and greet me, never fights with anyone, and is all around just the best boy. 

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Lexi 

We rescued Lexi from a kill pen in Bastrop, Louisiana in Feb of 2021 and she has been with us ever since. We have no information on her previous life, but she's the most well behaved horse I've ever met and it's clear she had extensive training and was well loved at one point in her life. Lexi rides very well, and can be ridden by almost anyone. Our young daughter climbs all over, under, and around and nothing phases her. We have taken her to parades, trails, etc. She would be an excellent beginner horse. She does has a previous injury to her right hind leg, this has never bothered her before but lately she's been showing signs of being a little sore on that leg. For this reason we are hoping to find a home for her that will be ok with light riding only. She can not be jumped, and I will not send her to be a lesson pony, despite how well she would probably do. Her ideal home would be someone looking to teach their children how to ride and the occasional ride. She is the absolute sweetest and anyone would be lucky to have her in their barn. 

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Thank you for your interest in adopting a rescue from Little Bear Stables! 

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