Donate a Horse

Houghton University’s nationally recognized equestrian program consistently needs sound, capable horses to teach our students on a daily basis. Our students require horses that are discipline-appropriate and have suitable prior experience. Houghton’s programs serve students of all experience levels, so we welcome horses from the walk-trot level to the canter/lope level, through advanced performance horses. Horses can have experience in dressage, jumping and/or western disciplines.

Horses considered a fit for the Houghton herd must be fit and sound, well trained in their discipline and preferably under 18 years old. Our school horses generally work one to two hours per day and four to five days per week. They have plenty of turnout/pasture time and over school breaks have a lighter load.

Horses are much loved by all of the faculty, staff and students and will have excellent care. When the time comes for our lesson horses to be retired, we will find wonderful new homes for them. Often our horses retire with our alumni who fell in love with them while they were students! Donors can also choose to be contacted when retirement time comes around if they would like to know where the horse is heading next.

We ask that donated horses meet the following qualifications:

  • Between the ages of 4 and 18 years old.
  • Be serviceably sound for its intended purpose.
  • Temperament and capability to work with a variety of students.
  • Horses should have good manners for vet, farrier, and trailering (we will still consider horses that may have special considerations in these areas).
  • Horses should be able to get along with a herd of horses for their turnout/pasture time (we will consider a horse with special considerations in this respect, if we feel we can accommodate their behavior).

Donation Process

  1. Fill out a prospective horse donation application.
  2. Equine staff will review your application and contact you.
  3. We will request a video of your horse being used for its intended purpose before accepting it into the program on a trial basis. (This helps to avoid unnecessary shipping costs or arrangements.)
  4. Horses deemed appropriate will be accepted for a 30-to-60-day trial period.
  5. Shipping arrangements will be made with the EQ program director.
  6. Prior to arrival, donors must fill out a trial contract. At the end of the agreed upon trial period, if the horse is accepted, a deed of gift form must be filled out.
  7. You will be notified if your horse has been accepted into our program and formal donation paperwork will be sent to you.
  8. Once the horse is accepted you will need to fill out the IRS form 8283 for your own tax purposes.
  9. Houghton University will mail you a tax receipt once the trial period is complete and the horse has officially been accepted into the program.

If your donation is accepted into the equestrian program at Houghton University, expect to:

  • Complete a donation form and/or deed of gift form
  • Complete IRS Form 8283
  • Provide an appraisal from a qualified appraiser (As defined by the IRS) for horses with a fair market valued in excess of $5,000.
  • Complete transfer of ownership for any applicable breed registry or discipline organization where your horse is recorded.

Additional Paperwork Required

  • A complete vaccination record of the horse, including Coggins test for the current year. At minimum horse must be up to date on the following vaccines, rabies, tetanus, EEE, WEE and Flu/Rhino.
  • Breed association registration papers signed over to Houghton University, as well as any USEF, USDF, NRHA, or Horse I.D. numbers (where applicable).
  • For horses valued at $5,000 or greater, an appraisal is required (at the owner’s expense). Appraisal can be completed during the trial period.

All paperwork must be completed and submitted prior to the horse arriving the Houghton University Equestrian Center. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Larissa Ries, Equestrian Program Director, by phone at 585.567.9335 or If your horse becomes unsuitable for our program or requires a stepped-down home, we will make every effort to find an excellent new home for them. If you have suggestions for where to place your horse, please share this information with us for review. The health, welfare and safety of our equine friends will always be paramount to us at Houghton University.


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Equestrian Program Director:

Horse Donation Application

Step 1 of 3

Owner Information