How to Adopt a Horse
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How to Adopt a Horse

Where can I adopt a horse? How much does it cost to adopt a horse? How do I adopt a horse? Every year hundreds of horses are sold at auctions, many are purchased by meat buyers and sent to slaughter, horse rescues try to save as many of these horses as they can, putting them up for adoption. Other horses may be adopted from wild herds.

When most people think of adopting an animal they think of adopting a cat or dog. Many countries, including Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, also have places where people can adopt a horse.

Horses for adoption are often ex-racehorses, PMU foals, horses that were destined for the slaughterhouse, neglected horses seized by animal rescue groups, or wild horses that were rounded up and placed for adoption to control the numbers of wild horses in a particular area.

How Much Does it Cost to Adopt a Horse?

The prices for horse adoption vary from place to place. In some cases each horse will have its own adoption price. This is often the case where horses are purchased from auction markets or the race track; their adoption price often reflects their initial purchase price. 

In the case of the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) which oversees adoptions of wild horses, mustangs, and burros, in the United States, the adoption price is very low (under $200), however they often hold Internet adoption auctions (often in the spring), or in-person auctions, where the prices can be higher.

©photo by author

How to Adopt a Horse

Most horse rescue organizations have websites in which a person can view online the requirements of that particular organization. It is important to note that some people sell their own horses under the guise of it being an adoption, however a true adoption is done through a non-profit charitably association.

You can do an Internet search for horse rescues in your area, some animal shelters and SPCAs also have horse rescue programs or know of horse rescues near you.

Each horse rescue or adoption group will have its own requirements. In some cases, as when adopting a wild horse, certain requirements as to the height of fencing and even trailer used to pick up the horse, may be an area of concern.  To adopt a horse you usually must be over the age of 18

As with adopting a cat or dog, when you adopt a rescued horse you will be required to sign an adoption contract. In many cases this contract will have a clause that you cannot sell the horse to slaughter, or sell it at auction. To reduce the unwanted horse population conditions often include that colts must be gelded and mares are not to be bred.

People need to be aware that horses are long term commitments, and that adopted horses may have issues related to abuse, neglect, or simply due to not being handled much prior to the adoption itself.

Some of the Many Places for Horse Adoption

The Bureau of Land Management - USA - wild horse and burro adoption

Bear Valley Horse Rescue - near Sundre, Alberta - horses rescued from auction yards and slaughter

ReRun Inc - four locations in the USA - ex-racehorse adoption (thoroughbreds)

Not everyone will be suitable to adopt a horse, however most horse rescues are registered charities, and as such they gratefully accept donations to help their cause.

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Comments (2)

Very nice information, Brenda.

Interesting info on horse. thank you Brenda.