SAFE Standards is written to provide insight into how things get done here at Safe Harbor Stables. SAFE has been in operation since 2005 and we’ve learned a lot about caring for horses in that time…through research, trial and error, and sometimes by making mistakes. We’ll be adding new articles from time to time to share our processes, methods, and best practices with our supporters. If you have a question or a subject you’d like to see addressed in SAFE Standards, email bonnie@safehorses.org.

Question: How many horses can SAFE have in its rescue program at any given time?

Answer: 30

Based on the amount of physical space, manpower, and resources we have, we’ve set our cap at 30 horses at a time. Far too many rescues fail because they tried to save too many horses, which can lead to overcrowding, poor living conditions, exhaustion among staff and volunteers, and in extreme cases, starvation and death. We want to help every single horse that needs us, but that’s impossible. Saying no is AWFUL. But we say it, because we’ve made a commitment to the horses that we’ve already saved. We will not risk their health and safety by taking on more than we can handle.

So our rule is pretty simple: one horse leaves, one horse comes in. Before we can take on a new horse, we have to have a space open for it. We create these spaces with adoptions. SAFE is not a sanctuary, so all of our horses are available for adoption, and it is our goal to find the best possible new home for every horse we save.

For horses we can’t take into our program, we offer several solutions. We partner with other rescues in our region who might be able to help, and we have our Community Outreach Program, which offers short term assistance to horse owners who need a hand. We’ve also been involved with emergency dispersals of larger groups of horses, providing triage care and vetting new homes. We are facing these “Mayday” situations more often, so we’ve had to come up with a way to help when time constraints and herd sizes make “traditional” rescue difficult.