KAREN GRIFFITHS’ HORSEPLAY COLUMN: Questions to ask before buying horse

PRIOR TO ATTAINING any horse, each potential horse owner should ask him- or herself:

Do I have a safe and secure place for it to live?

If renting, is it a long-term rental?

Do I have the financial resources?

A reasonable estimate would be $100 a month for feed and hoof care, more if paying to stable it.

Will you be able to pay for dental and/or emergency veterinarian bills?

If the horse needs extra training, can you afford it?

Do you have the time?


Sequim residents Valerie Jackson and Diane Royall run the Native Horsemanship Riding Center’s horse rescue operation.

A licensed 501(c) nonprofit, NHRC helps to both rescue horses and place unwanted horses with new owners.

Jackson and Royall stated there are specific guidelines to finding a reputable rescue organization with which to place a horse or from which to adopt one.

A horse from a rescue center might have a small adoption fee — typically from around $200 to $600 for a rehabbed horse (and some rescues waive the adoption fees in special circumstances), but there is no such thing as a free horse.

It’s the ongoing maintenance costs that are the true expenses.


Is it a registered nonprofit?

If the rescue has 501(c)(3) status, it means the operators have gone through some extra work to define and run their business.

A reputable rescue center will take possession of the animal for a while to test and evaluate for soundness, temperament and behavioral vices.

Does the rescue rehabilitate horses from neglectful or abusive situations before trying to place them with new owners?

It should.

You need to know in advance whether the horse has any special needs or issues.

Are you being pressured?

The best rescue operators want the adoption to succeed and will spend time on it to ensure a suitable match.

Can you return the horse if it doesn’t work out?

A good rescue will allow you a time period for settling in together and will take the horse back if you feel you’ve made a mistake.

Does the rescue have good references?

Find others who’ve adopted from the facility you’re considering and ask them about their experience during and after the adoption process.

Spend plenty of time with the horse while it’s still at the rescue.

Ask about handling issues and whether the horse has any behavioral vices.

If you’re looking for a ridable mount, have someone at the rescue ride it for you before you mount up. (If they won’t, there’s very likely a problem, and you probably shouldn’t try to ride it, either.)

Prior to taking the horse home, arrange for a basic veterinarian health assessment (vet check).

I can’t stress enough to have a contract or any signed document outlining the exchange — even if it’s just a handwritten note.

A well-run rescue should require one.

Be sure to read it carefully and make sure you’re comfortable with the agreement.

Photos of both the horse and people documenting the event also could prove helpful down the line if there is any dispute of ownership.

I should think it a red flag if either party refuses to be in a photo.

If you have any questions about rescue, phone Jackson at 360-683-7787.


■ 10 a.m. Saturday — Back Country Horsemen’s Peninsula Chapter ride at Robin Hill Park. Phone Judy Paty at 206-999-6228. Peninsula Chapter meetings have changed to the fourth Friday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles.

■ Noon to 2 p.m. Sunday — Adult workshop at Freedom Farms in Agnew. A fun afternoon with horses. For more details, phone 360-457-4897.

■ 9 a.m. Sunday, March 11 — Baker Stables Schooling Show, 164 Four Winds Road in Port Angeles. Phone Sue Carver at 360-683-7538.

■ 7 p.m. Friday, March 9 — Back Country Horsemen’s Buckhorn Range Chapter meeting at Tri-Area Community Center, 10 West Valley Road, Chimacum.


Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears every other Wednesday.

If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at kbg@olympus.net at least two weeks in advance. You can also write Griffiths at PDN, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

More in Life

A GROWING CONCERN: Do your part for ‘Flower Peninsula USA’

SO, WITH THE sun coming out and temperatures on the rise, time… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: When do we disobey?

HERE ARE TWO quotes to think about: “Civil Disobedience, noun: Refusal to… Continue reading

Unity in Olympics program scheduled

Connie Munro will present “Not Perfect, But Wonderful” at… Continue reading

Unitarian speaker scheduled

The Rev. Bruce Bode will present “The Ache of… Continue reading

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith.
Unity in Port Townsend planning for Sunday services

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith will present “The Power of… Continue reading

Katie Lee of Port Angeles examines a table of perennial plants during Saturday’s annual plant sale and raffle at the floral barn at the Clallam County Fairgrounds in Port Angeles. The sale, hosted by the Port Angeles Garden Club, was a fundraiser for club projects and scholarships, and it featured a wide variety of plants for the upcoming growing season and beyond. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Plant sale at Clallam County Fairgrounds

Katie Lee of Port Angeles examines a table of perennial plants during… Continue reading

Photo by Karen Griffiths

Cutline: A fundraiser for WAG and Open starts Today at 11 a.m. with an English and jumping fun show, followed tomorrow with a Western Games show at Kari Payne’s 4-L arena off Blue Mountain Road, 95 S. McCrorie Rd. Port Angeles.  Fox-Bell Farm owner Shelby Vaughan, and her assistants Sophie Feik and Kaia Lestage (holding Marley) will be there to host. Shown is Tatar Trots, 10. a horse Shelby got from OPEN five years ago when he was a feral, unhandled stallion and, now, after castrating and training,  he’s a docile horse who enjoys teaching kids how to ride.


(Rescue dog Rocky laying down if he’s shown in photo)
HORSEPLAY: Rescue program gives horses new life

SHELBY VAUGHAN WAS born into the rescue mindset. She grew up on… Continue reading

A GROWING CONCERN: For garden chores, keep the spring in your step

SO THE DREAM Playground build is going wonderfully. Thank you for those… Continue reading

The 2024 Community Service Awards winners gather before Thursday's awards ceremony at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. This year's recipients were, seated from left, Steph Ellyas and Lyn Fiveash, and standing from left, Gordon Taylor, Don Zanon, Carol Labbe and Betsy Reed Schultz. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Six honored for community service efforts

Volunteers provide energy for trails, respite care

ISSUES OF FAITH: Be a gracious and hospitable host

NOTICE OUR ROAD traffic is getting busier? Yep. We are beginning our… Continue reading

The Rev. Larry Schellink will present “Love God and Tie up your Camel” at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Schellink is the guest speaker at Unity in the Olympics, 2917 E. Myrtle Ave.
Weekend program scheduled for Unity in the Olympics

The Rev. Larry Schellink will present “Love God and… Continue reading

Unitarian speaker slated in Port Angeles

Phoenix Biggs will present “Singing of Honor… Continue reading