What We Look for in a Therapy Horse

A talented and well-rounded herd is the backbone of our program. Our horses come in all shapes and sizes in order to accommodate our riders…who also come in all shapes and sizes!

Free Rein currently utilizes 8 horses that are carefully selected from dozens of yearly referrals. All our horses come from loving, private homes and all have had previous careers. Some have been English or Western show horses while others have been pleasure trail partners. The therapeutic riding industry is all about fit, which means we choose the right horse for the right job.

Free Rein is not able to rescue horses that have been abandoned. Knowing a horse’s history and where they come from is paramount to the safety of our riders and volunteers!

Free Rein is fiscally conservative which is why we prefer to care lease rather than outright purchase our horses. This allows us to change up the herd to fit the myriad needs of our rider/participant population each year. This model also ensures that once a horse is ready to retire from being a therapy horse, we are able to return the animal to their caring owner. A formal lease agreement is put into place upon the animal’s acceptance into the program so that all parties understand the terms.

We are fortunate to have the support of veterinarians, farriers, and volunteers who supplement the care, feeding and exercise necessary to maintain the health of our herd. Their support allows us to give our horse everything they need in order to do this important work. A personal care plan is developed for each animal which includes consideration of their unique personality and ability to serve.

Potential program horses must:

  • Complete a minimum 30-day trial period, during which we expose them to all aspects of the work they are expected to do.
  • Be sound and seasoned (have had a former career so that they have a work ethic)
  • Be between 8-20 years of age. All sizes and breeds are considered.
  • Fill a niche in the program.
  • Enjoy the work!

Our annual cost for boarding, feed, veterinary and other care for each horse is in excess of $5,000. You can help us grow and care for the Free Rein herd by joining our team of Horse Sponsors. Contact Haley Dixon, our Executive Director, to find out more:


You can download our horse intake form by clicking on the following link:

Equipping Riders for Life!