Written By Dani Ross
We consider ourselves to be adoption matchmakers. Horse Cupid, even. In other words, we help good people find their right horse.
When you first set foot into the Drifter’s Hearts of Hope (DHOH) facility as a potential adopter, you’ll be greeted with the question, “Tell me more about what you’re looking for in a horse?” While we have already reviewed your adoption application, we always like to get more information in person.
That first question is just the beginning. We’ll then walk you through the barn, past each available horse in the barn, discussing your basic preferences as we go. What kind of riding style do you prefer, and what kinds of activities do you want to do with your potential horse? What qualities and characteristics do you look for in a horse? What qualities and characteristics do you dislike? What are your absolute must-haves? What are your non-negotiables? Simply put, we use these questions to help us match you with the best potential “right horse” that will meet your needs.
From there, as we pass by the horses, we'll also tell you about them. We will highlight and pause near the stalls of horses that may be a good match. Here we like to delve a little deeper. What could make you nervous while riding or being around a horse? When you're nervous, how do you handle it? Have you had any negative experiences that we should be aware of? Since safety is extremely important to us, we always want to make sure we fully understand where the rider is in their horsemanship journey.
We'll then introduce you to the available horses we believe will be the best fit after learning more about you and your horsemanship. We explain what the horse is looking for and needs in an adopter and living situation, what riding styles for which they’d be best suited for (English, western, trail riding, arena work, etc.), what kind of rider they prefer (soft hands, quiet legs, experienced rider, kid-friendly, etc.), and what their deal-breakers and must-haves are. The horse is an important part of this equation because they must match with the potential adopter just as much as the potential adopter needs to match with the horse.
Honesty and openness are essential in these discussions. We try to get to know you, your background, and your goals so that we can match them with our knowledge of our horses, their backgrounds, and their goals.
Once we've discussed and decided on a horse or two that might be a good fit, we'll ask you to assist us in getting the horse tacked up and ready to go. After we are bridled and saddled up, we head out to the arena. From there we hop on the horse first and take him for a spin, explaining to you what we’re doing with our leg and hand, what we’ve discovered to be successful with the horse, and what we like to do to warm them up.
If you like what you see of the horse under saddle, we will hand you the reins and a helmet. You’ll be able to swing a leg over and see how the horse feels. If necessary, we will accompany you until you are at ease and feel comfortable. We will continue to support you throughout the entire trial, providing helpful tips and hints on how to best work with the horse. Through the riding evaluation, we will then determine if the pair is a good fit and if they are we will discuss the next steps in our adoption process.
Sometimes these introductions require us to leave our comfort zones, which are conveniently located in a saddle, but here at DHOH, we have found it to be very successful in helping to match the right people with the right horses! 270+ matches to be exact.
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Drifter's Hearts of Hope