Donate or Lease a Horse to Three Gaits
It would be impossible for Three Gaits to provide any equine activities without the generosity of the many people who have shared their horses. As valued members of the team, Three Gaits’ horses’ happiness and well being is our priority.
We have guidelines to evaluate prospective horses for our riding program that lead us to select horses that are ideally suited to their job at Three Gaits.
Our successful horses have are:
- Horses are between 8-18 years old.
We will accept horses older and younger, depending upon the horse’s training, health and condition. Because we put a lot of time and energy into training our horses, and become very attached to them, we want our program horses to be able to stay at Three Gaits for many years.
- Horses are sound (in all four legs) and healthy.
Unsound horses aren’t safe – an uncomfortable horse may display unpredictable behavior. Soundness is extremely important in order to provide rhythmic, cadenced and free-moving gaits. Any unevenness in a horse’s gait can be magnified for a rider with a disability – and can actually cause a negative effect. A horse with an unbalanced stride could cause our riders discomfort or to lose their balance. Horses must not have any limitations in vision and shouldn’t have respiratory problems or other on-going health issues that require the additional expenses of upkeep and/or limit their ability to provide a safe activity for our riders. Horses with limited use – meaning that they can only be ridden by children, or only at the walk, with limited trotting, or for grooming only – can’t serve the diversity of our riders. While some riders do not trot or canter, many do. Three Gaits strives to provide the appropriate experience and level of challenge for our riders.
- Horses who enjoy being around people.
Three Gaits’ horses are not asked to work for more than a total of four classes per day, and never more than three classes in a row. (Most of our classes are 30 minutes long.) Over the course of a day, horses are exposed to a variety of people. They may be handled by volunteers, riders and staff. During classes a horse may have a leader and up to two sidewalkers, in addition to a rider.
- Horses have been well-trained and consistently worked with throughout their lives.
While there are no requirements for the discipline in which the horse is trained – we have horses that have been shown western pleasure, dressage or jumping, as pony club or 4-H mounts, as polo horses or field hunters – but the common factor is that they have been consistently worked with and have a “take it all in stride” attitude.
- Although almost any breed of horse can be used, horses between 14-16 hands and built sturdy enough to carry an adult are ideal.
If you have or know of a horse that you think may be suitable for Three Gaits, please complete this form and return to us to initiate a phone discussion. Horses that live at Three Gaits are either leased to Three Gaits – meaning that the horse’s owner lends their horse to the program but maintains ownership of the horse – or horses are donated directly to the program. Since Three Gaits is a non-profit, the donation of a horse can be tax-deductible.
There are several steps to assessing your horse for Three Gaits:
- After discussion with you, if we determine that your horse seems appropriate, we schedule a time for a screening visit from an experienced, local horse professional to visit you and your horse. They evaluate the horse and make a recommendation to our staff.
- If the horse has potential, a Three Gaits certified riding instructor, the barn manager and an exercise rider will make an appointment to meet you and the horse.
- Our veterinarian will evaluate the horse unless you have a recent health check and records.
- Upon the recommendation of the Three Gaits team, we invite your horse to come for a trial period.
- Transport the horse to Three Gaits to begin a 30-day trial period for leased horses and 90 days for donated horses. During the trial period, we expose the horse to the many toys, games and activities that they will encounter at Three Gaits. We work with them to see if they stand quietly for different styles of mounting and dismounting with ramps and mounting blocks, and to see how they tolerate the mistakes of a beginning rider or a loss of balance. We also evaluate whether they seem to adapt to the lifestyle of working with many different people each day.
- Upon successful completion of the trial period, we’ll complete paperwork for the lease or donation.
Again, thank you for considering your horse as a potential mount for Three Gaits riders.