Since 2016 The Right Horse Initiative, now a program of the ASPCA, has been working to “reframe the conversation around equine adoption and improve the lives of horses in transition through a dialogue of kindness and respect.”
The Right Horse’s number one mission is to massively increase horse adoption by connecting prospective owners with their right horse and helping horses in transition get placed in the right homes. To support this goal, they have launched the very first ‘Adopt A Horse’ month which will run from April 26 to May 31, 2021.
The goal of this new annual event is to raise awareness and funding for horses in transition. Adopting helps horses in need find a new home AND allows adoption agencies to help the next horse in need. During the month of May, the ASPCA’s adoption partners will be shining a spotlight on the diverse selection of adoptable horses available across the country.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of good horses find themselves in transition of career or ownership. And each year, a growing number of these horses end up at risk of inhumane treatment. Research by the ASPCA indicates there are over 1.2 million homes that have both the perceived resources and desire to house an unwanted horse. This number greatly exceeds the approximately two hundred thousand unwanted horses living each year in the United States.
However, a lack of high-quality training for remedial issues and wild (feral) horses is one of the most consistent, ongoing needs for horses in transition. A well-trained, safe and pleasant horse has a much higher adoption rate, lower length of stay in a shelter and a higher likelihood of staying safe for life.
With this in mind, the Monty Roberts’ Mustang & Transition Horse Program (MRTHP) was created by Debbie Loucks, Legacy Strategist and Simon d’Unienville, Learning Center Executive Director. Launched in October 2020, the MRTHP, in partnership with the ASPCA’s equine adoption partners, bridges the gap between horses in transition and adopters by providing much-needed ground manners and ridden training to help these horses become safer and more adoptable.
The program utilizes Monty Roberts’ world-renowned gentle and effective training techniques including Join-Up® and his patented humane gentling facility, to gentle and introduce the first saddle and rider to horses from adoption partners, and work through remedial issues with others. All of the adoption horses are desensitized to a variety of objects and stimuli, to cause them to be safe and willing partners for their future owners.
In it’s six months of operation the MRTHP has proven to be a huge success in drastically reducing the length of time transitioning horses are spending languishing in adoption centers. “Monty’s methods have been scientifically proven to be much faster yet more humane for the horse than traditional training methods,” said Simon d’Unienville. “Our MRTHP training program has the potential to be the blueprint for adoption centers across the country and the rest of the world,” he added.
For more than three decades Monty Roberts and his team of Certified Instructors have toured the globe, fixing the most extreme remedial issues in front of a live audience. For many of these horses the owners had ‘tried everything’ and all but lost hope and before asking Monty for help. In a matter of only one or two sessions, Monty has been able to remedy these issues – from trailer loading to biting, bucking, head shy horses and everything in between.
Debbie Loucks, Simon d’Unienville and the team at the Monty Roberts International Learning Center, under the mentorship of Monty Roberts, are able to apply these same techniques to address one of The Right Horse’s main barriers to adoption overcoming remedial issues that may otherwise jeopardize the future of these transitioning horses.
In addition to re-training adoption horses, the MRTHP runs an internship program for trainers from The Right Horse adoption partners to learn the Monty Roberts methods, enabling more horses around the country to be made safe and have a greater chance of adoption in a shorter time frame. “The old adage ‘give a man a fish and he can eat for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’ explains the concept behind our internship program,” said Simon d’Unienville. “Transport is another barrier to adoption, and once we had the MRTHP pilot underway we quickly realized it is far more feasible to teach others our ‘secrets’ than attempt to truck horses across the country to be trained here. Our new MRTHP internship program is allowing us to spread Monty’s fast, effective methods across the country. We are excited with what this means for thousands of ‘remedial’ horses in the future that may have otherwise been put down,” he added.
It’s never been easier to find your dream horse and save a life at the same time. Join us in celebrating Adopt A Horse month by following the hashtag #AdoptAHorse. Visit aspca.org/AHM to learn more about equine adoption and montyroberts.com/adopt to learn about the Monty Roberts adoption program.