Forever Foundation started when the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) began to explore how to fill a training gap that many rescues across the country were facing.
Tara and Trevor Carter
Carter Ranch Horse
Humane Society of the United States
Over the past 8 years, HSUS has been working with Trevor & Tara Carter of Carter Ranch Horse, as they develop and expand a custom Plan 4 Progress just for equine rescues across the country.
This customized program for rescues, called Forever Foundation, provides exclusive training resources to rescues who are committed to better preparing equines for adoption. The goal is to provide equines with the basic skills necessary to build a foundation that will allow them to forever succeed in their adoptive homes.
Any equine rescue is eligible to join Forever Foundation in thanks to sponsorship from HSUS. Access to the program includes on-demand education, in person clinics, training challenges, and adopter resources.
Cindy Gendron is an integral part of the success of the Forever Foundation and serves as Senior Director, Sanctuary Management and Animal Rescue Care and Sanctuary for the Humane Society of the United States.
Mission & Vision
Forever Foundation vision: to increase equine skill and knowledge for rescue organizations as well as adopters; to improve human safety, promote healthy human/equine partnerships, and improve equine well-being.
To that end, Forever Foundation offers a ready-made, adaptable training template for equine rescue organizations across the United States.
Forever Foundation aims to become the premiere nation-wide equine training and adoption network, providing a standardized training program recognized for its quality and effectiveness in supporting successful adoption.
About the Program
The program includes video lessons with corresponding tasks for trainers and volunteers to complete with their horses, in-person clinics, webinars, and professional nation-wide networking. The program uses natural horsemanship techniques, which focus on communicating with horses in a way the animals understand. The lessons cover topics from “catching” untamed horses to preparing equines for farrier and veterinary visits, to evaluating them under saddle. The program is lead and supported by Trevor and Tara of Carter Ranch Horse and utilizes their Plan 4 Progress learning platform.
The program includes engagement support, such as challenges, prizes, clinics, and activities designed to connect organizations with each other. Rescues can leverage the program to grow and sustain their volunteer programs and provide training and framework for their staff. Rescues find that the program allows them to be more consistent and efficient, because everyone at the organization gets the same information about how to approach and handle horses. The program, especially through its clinics, has given rescues powerful networking opportunities.
Forever Foundation is producing results—Rainbow Meadows Equine Rescue in Kansas had about a 50 percent increase in adoptions after participating in the program, from 25 to 37 horses adopted in a year, says executive director Karen Everhart. In addition to adoption increases, Hope Equine Rescue in Florida attributes increases in volunteer participation and retention to Forever Foundation. “Our volunteer participation has gotten a lot better because they’re being a lot more hands-on with the horses,” says president Dani Horton
That volunteer participation was important in the case of Molly, a miniature horse abandoned with her mother at the clinic of the rescue’s veterinarian. A woman simply left Horton a voicemail and dropped off the horses, not following the approval process for surrenders. The clinic’s office staff assumed it was pre-arranged, since the clinic fosters horses frequently. On top of this surprise, Molly wasn’t easy to handle—she was pushy and dominant when she arrived at the rescue.
After watching the training videos and going through the training with her, volunteers had her so well-trained that she was competing in horse shows with kids and was eventually adopted to a therapy program for children.
Horton notes, “She went from a horse that was really difficult, not easy to manage, to now she works with kids every day.”