One of the phrases that comes out of my mouth frequently is "I wish I could do more." I wish I could give, donate, and help more to better the lives of horses in need. In the future, I will do, give, donate, and help more. But right now, I'm stuck wishing I could do more to help horses--especially the elder equines in need.

We've promised to give all our horses--including 26-year-old Jessie, left, and 27-year-old Taz--forever homes.

Photo: Erica Larson

The economy over the past few years has made it difficult or impossible for many horse owners--myself included--to make additional room in our barns for horses in need, especially those that might have medical issues requiring specialized (and sometimes expensive) care. But many owners make contributions in other ways, ranging from donating money to equine rescues, to volunteering at rehabilitation facilities, and everything in between.

Although it's a relatively small contribution in the grand scheme of things, my parents and I have promised to give our horses forever homes. This ensures that (at least) six horses will be well cared for throughout their lives. This also ensures that horse rescues and rehabilitation facilities will have six fewer horses to use their precious resources on. As I said, it's not a big contribution, but it's a commitment to reduce the number horses in need by at least six.

The first horses we purchased 15 years ago--the two Appaloosas, Taz and Jessie--will be 27 and 26 years old, respectively, this year and will live with us until they take their last breaths. Our 24-year-old Cushingoid Miniature Horse, Brandy, will never end up in another situation like she found herself in before we brought her home. And Sadie and Lance--the two youngsters of the herd residing with my parents at 16 and 13, respectively--won't need to worry about where they'll end up once their riding days are over. Here in the Bluegrass, now-17-year-old Dorado will always have a home with my fiancé and me, whether it's at a boarding stable or on the farm we hope to have sometime in the future.

I know that many of you have also provided the special seniors in your life with a forever home, and I'm truly grateful that those horses have a place to live out their golden years.

Unfortunately, not all senior horses are so lucky. A quick search on one pet adoption website returned 329 senior horses looking for homes within 500 miles of me. Rita, for example, is a 26-year-old blind Appaloosa mare looking for an experienced horse owner to transition her into a new home. Autumn is a 34-year-old former pony ride mount who is hoping for a home that can also support her long-time best friend Nemo. And Cash is a 39-year-old Quarter Horse/Morgan gelding searching for a good home at which to live out his days. It breaks my heart to see so many wise old horses still in need of a home.

Someday, when both time and finances allow, I'd love to give a forever home to some senior horses in need. But for now, my duty is to care for Dorado to the very best of my abilities and, when I can, donate to the equine charity of my choice--one that specializes in providing a home for retired, injured, and/or aged horses.

Have you ever given a home to a senior in need, or is it something you'd consider doing? Please share your experiences below!