Join the community of DEFHR adopters
Adoption Process

Adoption Requirements

  • All adopters must be over the age of 18
  • New home must have:
    • At least one other equine present as company for any adopted horse
    • Access to suitable shelter 24/​7
    • Access to water 24/​7 in winter-​appropriate tubs or troughs
    • Appropriate, safe fencing

Adoption Process

Step 1
Complete a Horse Interest Form 

The first step toward adopting a horse from DEFHR is submission of a Horse Interest Form, which helps inform us which horse(s) you are interested in. It must be completed by a parent or guardian if the applicant is under 18.

After receipt of the Horse Interest Form, our Adoptions Team will reach out to you to explain our adoption process and provide you with more information about our adoptable horse(s). We will also introduce you to one of our trainers and schedule an appointment here at DEFHR for you to meet both the trainer and horses.

Step 1
Step 2
Meet Your Match
During your visit to DEFHR, you’ll be introduced to the horses as well as the trainer you’ve been in touch with. DEFHR works diligently to match each adopter with a horse that suits their riding experience and skill set. For a rideable horse, we require three scheduled appointments with our trainer. For a companion horse, only two appointments are scheduled. All visitors to the DEFHR facilities are required to sign a release form.
Step 2
Step 3
Complete an Adoption Application Form

If, after your appointments, you have found your perfect match, you will then complete an Adoption Application Form, which will be provided by our adoption team. Along with the application form, we require a nonrefundable $50 application fee, which is deducted from the final adoption fee. This fee can be paid online.

Horses are available for adoption under two different contracts: Adoption Program and Guardian Program (GP).

Horses available in the standard adoption program have varying adoption fees, and ownership deeds are provided to the adopter 12 months after the adoption. For horses younger than two years old, DEFHR retains ownership until the horse is at least three years old. Release of ownership deeds are dependent on an approved final facility profile report and satisfactory horse care provided by the adopter.

Horses available in the GP have varying adoption fees, and DEFHR retains the titles for GP horses throughout their lifetime. DEFHR requires annual facility profile reports and health updates on GP horses. Horses in this program are either over 20 years of age or require special treatment and attention due to a medical condition. While caring for the GP horse, any expenses incurred by the caregiver are tax-​deductible, including but not limited to feed, stall bedding, veterinary care, farrier care, medication, and supplements.

Step 3
Step 4
Complete a Facility Profile Report
Each adopter is required to complete a Facility Profile Report within 14 days of submitting the Adoption Application Form to ensure the facility meets the Maryland Horse Council’s Minimum Standard of Care for Equines. This form will be sent to you via email. We allow 30 days for the adoption process from the time we receive the adoption application.
Step 4
Step 5
A New Forever Home

All our horses leave for their new forever homes with up-​to-​date vaccinations, Coggins, farrier, veterinary, and dental care. We also microchip all our horses and register the horse with This information will be given to you along with any nutrition or medical needs in your final adoption pack.

When it comes time to arrange transportation to their new home, DEFHR will work with you to arrange a pick-​up or delivery schedule that fits your schedule. We can also arrange transport for your horse; our delivery cost is $2 per mile one way.
Step 5


Get the answers in our Adoption FAQ

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