With 150 horses currently under care and placement requests on the rise, operators of the Grace Foundation of Northern California hope horse trainers can help some of their charges find permanent homes.

The Honoring Equines for Life Project (HELP) Rescue Me Trainer’s Challenge offers natural horsemanship trainers $10,000 in prize money to prepare rescued horses with varying levels of training for adoption.

"People are losing jobs, are in foreclosure, and more and more horses are coming into rescues. If we don’t think out of the box, we have few prospects to rehome our horses," said Grace Foundation Development Director Linda Bak

This competition is just one example of the campaigns some equine welfare groups hope will relieve overburdened rescues or keep horses out of rescues altogether.

In Marysville, Calif., the Back In the Saddle Project (BITS) is partnering with riding instructors to offer multi-disciplinary riding clinics that allow horse owners to experience a range of equestrian sports. The strategy is aimed at reducing the number of horses that wind up in rescues after their owners lose interest in them.

"If we can keep owners interested in the saddle, their horses will stay out of rescues," said BITS co-founder Deb Steward.

Another group, Sound Equine Options, is working with rescues, veterinarians, and farriers to encourage experienced horse owners to provide fostser care for rescued horses in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington state. Qualifying providers would receive vouchers for reduced-cost veterinarian and farrier care.

"A lot of great owners don