If you cannot sponsor a horse at this time will you consider a one-time donation of any amount to help us help the horses?
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We currently require a minimum of 2 months of volunteer service prior to entering the "Sponsor A Horse Program". During this time, together we can determine if our program is a good fit for you. It will also give you a chance to get to know each individual horse and to see if you form a bond with any of them. Volunteering for a 2-month period affords you the opportunity to learn about the care of our horses, as well as daily ranch operations. This will also help you gain the confidence to be comfortable with both the people and the animals.
After COVID-19 and the various changes in the way in which we live our social lives now and the limited time that people have, we are in the process of making some changes and updates to our flagship program, the "Sponsor A Horse Program."
One of the 1st changes will be in the way that we will match each horse to each potential sponsor. The first requirement needed to become a "sponsor member” will be that the interested adult must volunteer for a minimum of two months, prior to being matched to their “sponsored horse.” This will give each person enough time to get comfortable with the available horses, and to see if you naturally form a bond with any of the available orphans. It doesn't take long for people to fall in love with the horses, but the commitment of time is what we are looking at.
What we need to establish is what you would like to accomplish with your sponsored horse? Part of the reason there is a need for this process is that we are not a rental barn or a training facility, so we are looking for sponsors that want to have a horse to spend time with, care for, and possibly ride occasionally if that is what they want to do. However, first and foremost, we are a rescue and sanctuary.
We do have horses that are healthy, and safe to ride, but the question remains; do you even want to ride? If you do not want to ride, there are several horses that are available that may be older, some infirm, and some that can never be ridden. We are looking for both types of sponsors. There are many “sponsor members” who never want to ride, they just want to groom and spend time with their sponsored horse and that’s ok. Then there are those who would like to ride occasionally.
It is still our job to match you to the best horse for you, and what you would like to accomplish with your sponsored horse. In the first three months of volunteering, we will show you how we do things at F.R.I.E.N.D.S. The truth is every barn has its own way of doing things, and so do we. It doesn't mean that our way is the best way or the only way, nor does it make theirs the best way, it just means there are many ways to accomplish the same thing and you will need to learn our way.
Once the two months of volunteering with the orphans are up, we will set up a time for you to do a test ride of the available orphans that are best suited for what you want to do. The non-rideable horses do not require a test ride, but we do need to know that you can handle the orphan you choose, on the ground. If you have never ridden or handled horses before, we will start you with beginner-safe horses. There may be six available so you will get to try the calmest first, and then you will continue trying the horses in that category until you feel that you have met the level you are most comfortable with. For those who would like to ride on occasion, we have beginner, intermediate, and advanced horses.
If you do not want to ride, you will be able to choose the non-rideable horse that you have bonded with if you can control them when handling them. If you want to sponsor a non-rideable horse, the orphan list may be longer, but if you have no experience with horses, we are not going to let you sponsor a three-year-old, Thoroughbred, fresh off the track. We will look at horses that are well-seasoned and friendly. If you have children, we will look for a horse that is safe with children. It is our hope that you will be matched with a horse that you will bond with.
It is our goal to help you on this adventure because we want you to be happy and stay. Our program is meant to help each person understand what the responsibilities of horse ownership are, so when they become a horse owner on their own, they will know all the facts. For some, we are just a stepping stone to a new lifestyle. For others F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is perfect.
We pride ourselves on our “Sponsor A Horse Program” because there have been many people in the last 35+ years who have been able to realize their love of horses which they would not have been able to do otherwise. We believe that teaching people how to properly care for horses, the time it takes, the true financial costs and the dedication required is extremely important.
We believe that through our program people will have the opportunity to learn about the commitment, responsibilities, dedication, and cost involved, and they will then be able to make an educated decision before buying, adopting, leasing, or renting a horse of their own.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S. provides sanctuary to all the horses we accept and does not buy, sell, trade, or give away horses. Instead, we offer them a lifetime of sanctuary so these animals will never need help again. We provide them with the best possible care and loving interactions they so deserve, and we truly care about both their physical and mental well-being.
It is our ethical obligation to surrounding communities that we continue to give back to them in a worthwhile and enriching way by maintaining and enhancing our many programs that benefit local families, organizations, and horse owners. Over the years we have worked with several local police departments to save horses, pigs, goats, and sheep.
So, now you may be saying how do we get started? The first thing we need you to do is sign up to become a “Volunteer Member”. The volunteer membership fee is nominal, and it is good for the year you have signed up. If you decide the program is not for you, you will still be able to volunteer up to four days a week until your “Volunteer Membership” expires. All new members must sign up online, and attend the Orientation and Safety Class prior to volunteering. When you arrive at the ranch you need to fill out all waivers and releases to participate.
If you continue, and decide to become a “Sponsor Member”, your monthly cost will be what has been predetermined based on the needs of the horse you are matched with. Then, your “Volunteer Membership” fee will be applied to your new “Sponsor a Horse Member” account. When you decide to become a “Sponsor A Horse” member, you will need to fill out the application at F.R.I.E.N.D.S. to become a “Sponsor Member” and all information must be included to be considered. If you become a "Sponsor Member", and you decide for any reason to terminate your sponsorship of a horse at F.R.I.E.N.D.S., we do require a two-week, written notice.