Horse rescue organizations perform an important role, offering a bright future to animals in need of a new home when their owners can’t keep them or when they are no longer suited for their current use. However, as in any business, some groups do a better job than others. That’s why it’s important for anyone who is adopting from a rescue organization or donating a horse to one to know the right questions to ask before making any commitments.

My group, ReRun Inc., is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping ex-racehorses find new careers. The advice I offer here is based on our experiences in taking in and placing hundreds of horses over the years.

A Starting Point

Getting a sense of the group’s financial health will tell you a lot about any non-profit. Start out by asking:

1. Can I see your financial information? Any 501(c)(3) corporation–a group recognized as a non-profit by the Internal Revenue Service–must be willing to share its financial statements or tax returns with the public. If the group won’t reveal this information, that’s a potential red flag, because you want to know that the organization is on a sound financial footing. Also, check to see that most of the group’s money is actually used for horse care and not being largely channeled into administrative expenses or salaries.

2. How do you fund your program? When you review a group’s financial information, pay particular attention to how they get their money. If you are donating a horse, you need some reassurance that the group has a steady,