Getting to know the adopters is as important as getting to know the horses, so Harmony asks potential adopters a series of questions to figure out what type of horse they are looking for and requires they take three lessons at the facility with the horse before taking him home.
During lessons Harmony staff can really get to know the adopter and see how he or she relates to the horse. If at any point during the lessons either staff or the adopter has reservations about proceeding with the adoption, the process stops.
Leonard says taking this time up front prevents returns down the line. And with a return rate of only 3%, it’s clear the program works.
No Home Is Perfect
At the same time, Leonard cautions that no home is perfect and “if we’re not careful, no one is going to be good enough for these horses.” Because Harmony spends so much time getting to know the adopter, there’s a higher level of confidence with every match.
Harmony believes adopters should know everything the agency knows about a horse, including the horse’s abilities and limitations. In order to provide accurate information to adopters, Harmony records all medical, behavioral and training evaluations and protocols and shares them with adopters.
Being transparent ensures the best chance of connecting a horse with the right adopter and maintains the agency’s good reputation in the community.
Throughout the adoption process, Harmony staff members communicate to adopters that the agency is committed to supporting both horse and adopter after they leave the property, and adopters are welcome to reach out at any time with questions or concerns.
A trainer automatically follows up by phone 30 days after the adoption is official to see how things are going. If an adopter needs support at that time, Harmony sends a trainer to work with the adopter and horse at the home of the adopter. The agency follows up again at the 60-day mark.
Leonard says most problems occur within 60 days and this process helps keep horses in their new homes.