How do you help make sure the equines you adopt out are adjusting and thriving in their new homes? These four post-adoption tips for equine groups can help ensure happy trails for both horses and adopters. And if you're strapped for time, post-adoption counseling and relationship building can be an excellent role for experienced volunteers.
Tailor Your Communications
There are so many ways to be in touch with adopters: phone calls, texts, email, Facebook Messenger, etc. Ask adopters what their preferred mode of communication is so that you can reach them when needed—and let them know the easiest and quickest way to reach you too!
Many adoption organizations set up private Facebook groups for adopters where they can share successes and ask one another for advice. This can be a great way to build a community of equine adopters.
Get The Timing Right
You want to give adopters time to adjust to life with their new equine but you also want to be available if help is needed.
Many groups use the 3-day, 3-week, 3-month rule:
Soon after adoption equine behaviors can shift due to changes in the horse’s environment. Being available to troubleshoot any challenges at this critical time can have a big impact on the success of the adoption.
Three weeks is often the end of the “honeymoon period” and a bit of support can be useful at this time.
This is a great time to follow up on previous concerns and address any new ones, and to keep the adopter informed of happenings at your facility and opportunities to support your organization. You can also capture some feel-good stories to share with your staff and supporters!
Reaching out on a 6-month basis thereafter is a good rule of thumb, and make sure adopters know how to reach you should they need help in the interim. This will help keep communication lines open and ensure your adopted horses have an ongoing safety net.
Every time you’re in touch, encourage adopters to text, email or message you pictures of their new equine. Photos are great for your peace of mind and excellent content for your social media and other outreach. Just make sure to get the adopter’s permission to share those images.
Provide Training Support
One of the best ways to ensure a smooth transition for your adopted equines is to provide lessons post-adoption.
Partner with instructors in your community and work with them to provide a small discount for lesson blocks for equines adopted from your organization. Adopting out companion horses? Look for trainers who specialize in ground manners, liberty work, agility, in-hand trail, or trick training!
Keep Your Door Open
In all your communications with adopters, including your contract, make sure they know they can return their equine to you and will not be judged for doing so.
Most people want to do the right thing, so letting them know you have an open door will give them more peace of mind.