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The Tech Equestrian

Welcome to the new normal. Technology is everywhere and effects everyone and everything. To keep up with the changes and information that impacts the equestrian world, I hope you will enjoy the stories, profiles and insights this blog features. In addition, stay connected on social by joining the Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages!

MY RIGHT HORSE: Horse Adoption Comes of Age

MY RIGHT HORSE: Horse Adoption Comes of Age

As we know horses are herd animals. In the wild they survive by forming bands to protect themselves from predators. This collective group forms a strong bond led by instinct and their dominate traits of hearing, sight, smell and of course, speed that allow the breed to reproduce and survive. When The Tech Equestrian recently spoke with Christie Schulte Kappert, Program Manager from My Right Horse, an online portal that specializes in horse adoption and is an extension of The Right Horse Initiative, the power of teamwork is apparent from the many partner organizations that help drive the mission forward.

Forming the Connection
The Right Horse Initiative, whose charter and goal is to massively increase horse adoption in the U.S. was founded in 2016. “It was started and is funded by the WaterShed Animal Fund in Oklahoma City and has grown to over sixty partners stated Christie.

In just a short time they have awarded $6 million in grants to not only help increase horse adoption but also to focus on correcting any of the stigmas associated. “It is important not to let false stereotypes discourage those from adopting horses who need a second chance,” explained Christie. The Initiative commonly features adoption success stories, horses thriving at a rescue and how these horses become family members once adopted. “It is exciting to share all of the new connections we are seeing with adoptions across the country and we’re thrilled to watch our adoption partners continue to increase the numbers of lives they’re able to save each year.” 

A Horse Crazy Kid
Christie grew up along the shoreline of Connecticut and was a ‘horse crazy kid.’ “I learned to ride English at a young age at a family friendly barn in Killingworth,” she shared. Christie spent her college years at Colorado State and studied Equine Science and Business Administration. “I love horses, but I wasn’t cut out to be a vet,” and added, “I was just happy with climbing on anything I could and still do.” Now based outside of Austin, Texas, Christie lives on fifteen acres with two adopted horses and a burro and does extensive travel for The Right Horse Initiative. 

Social to the Rescue
Technology is aiding in their mission as they leverage an online platform and breadth of social media to make it easy to find and adopt a horse, but it has taken time. “In 2001, I remember using Petfinder to find and adopt a dog. That is still a well known website and you would think the horse world would have created something similar dedicated to horses sooner,” Christie said. 

With equestrians slow to adopt technology, luckily social media has helped bridge the gap and increase awareness. “It has absolutely made it easier to capture people’s attention and our partners have found much success by posting horses through social channels.” 

Making it Accessible
“As we built the My Right Horse website one of our main goals was to place the user experience first,” said Christie. Once you visit the mobile-friendly site, it immediately answers the call by offering up an easy to use interface along with photos of ‘featured’ adoptable horses on the home page with a main button “Find My Right Horse” that brings you to a page that allows you to search by location and organization. Another area of focus in their development of the site was to make sure it was timely and up-to-date. “After 120 days, adoption agencies must update the listing to ensure that information is always current for searchers,” Christie stated. “By detailing the horses ability and needs it allows for a better match for both horse and rider, because every adoption depends on transparency.” The site has more than 75 active users and about 600 listings at any one-time across the country. “We receive around 100,000 weekly visitors to the site, interested in our partner organizations’ horses.”

My Right Horse home page is easy to use and offers location and organization search capabilities.

My Right Horse home page is easy to use and offers location and organization search capabilities.

Events Help Build Awareness 
Local events that span the U.S. and regional summits are part of their marketing and awareness efforts at My Right Horse Initiative. “The annual Right Horse Summit brings together horse adopters, enthusiasts and our partners in a two-day event that was recently held in Kentucky,” said Christie. The Road show events, which are one- to four-day expos, are a great way to bring together potential adopters and partner agencies. “We recently participated in one at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, Missouri and we had a multi-agency adoption fair at Equine Affaire in Ohio.”

On the Horizon
“We are always looking to add and test new features to the site,” Christie said. The latest in development includes analytics for adoption agencies to analyze their listings and tell what is working and what isn’t. “We need to get more eyeballs on the horses, which means having a hyper focus on marketing and the overall experience.”

“We are in a period where we are paddling hard to stay afloat and keep up with the tech savvy business world.” Luckily, Christie feels the horse industry as a whole is on the right track and for the organization that means elevating the benefits and rewards of adoption. “By increasing access to adoptable horses and encouraging more interactions with horses, adoption will become more acceptable and a great option for horse ownership.”

As a testament to their work on building a user-friendly and full featured website, My Right Horse was the recipient of the Best Website award in the Business category at American Horse Publications.

Website: My Right Horse
Facebook: @TheRightHorse
Instagram: @therighthorse

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