Poll Recap: Room for a Rescue

Of the 575 total respondents, 450 (78%) said they have rescued a horse.

Photo: Thinkstock

Have you ever rescued a horse? We posed this question to our readers in last week’s online poll. More than 550 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 575 total respondents, 450 (78%) said yes, they have rescued a horse. The remaining 125 (22%) individuals said they have not.

Additionally, 171 people left comments about their experiences rescuing horses. 

Poll Results

Several people indicated that they have rescued more than one horse:

  • “I have several times. They're some of the best horses ever."
  • “I have three rescue horses. They were physically and mentally abused and neglected.”
  • “I've adopted several Arabians in recent years, mostly because I live in ‘Quarter Horse country.' ”
  • “Yes, I've rescued two myself and have found homes for unwanted horses.”
  • “I've rescued (or, purchased out of bad situations) a Mini mare and an OTTB gelding. Super horses.”
  • “I've rescued two Arabs and a mini-donkey, all in terrible conditions and circumstances”
  • “I have rescued several horses from slaughter.”
  • “I have twice. They were nice horses getting dumped at auction.”
  • “I adopted three horses in January”
  • “We have two Mustangs and one other true rescue. We love them.”
  • “I rescued two animals that were very hungry, thin, and unused, brought for the wrong reasons by nice people with no experience.”
  • “I've rescued three over the years from bad situations, all have turned out to be wonderful horses!”
  • “We have had three rescues and it is a great thing. We still have one of the three and she is so gentle and sweet.”
  • “I have two Minis who chose to go home with me from a rescue I help the state with.”
  • “I rescued two ex-racers. They were left to pasture on 22 acres. If they didn't find a home they would have been put down.”
  • “Two rescued mares live here and we enjoy trail riding them. I'm grateful to have them.”
  • “I have one horse from local rescue and one horse with a bad foot making him unsound for riding. They're buddies.”
  • “I have two retired racehorses that were given to me when their owner could no longer keep them.”
  • “I rescued two from a horrible rescue. I am thankful for them every day of our lives!”
  • “I've rescued two horses. One was skin and bones and the other had neck problems could not graze.”
  • “Three of mine are rescues. One came with issues, but the others were easy. Love them all!”
  • “I have two mares that I rescued from a kill-buyer. They are the most affectionate and sweet horses!”
  • “Two of my five horses are rescues—they're wonderful guys!”
  • “I have rescued eight. They are all companion, but that's fine. I like to caretake.”
  • “I've been rescuing for over 20 years now, mostly sucessfully.”
  • “I've rescued six of them. They have changed my life forever! I care for them daily, and am in better health.”
  • “I have taken in three equids who were in rescue situations. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
  • “I've rescued several from terrible circumstances and I still have them. They're great horses ... a blessing to me.”
  • “I've rescued/adopted five horses. I enjoy working with 'project horses.' ”
  • “All three of our horses are rescues, and it has been exceptionally rewarding! They are our family!”
  • “We took in three and had to leave one behind. He was too dangerous.”
  • “I've rescued several at different times, usually because I felt sorry for them. Two i still have, and they're working out.”
  • “I've rescued four horses. Two were wild successes, two were not. It's definitely not for the faint of heart.”
  • “I've had many rescues. I feel I should pay back the joy horses have given me by taking in those in need.”

Many individuals commented on the situation or condition that the horse was in when it was rescued:

  • “I took in a neglected pony from a dementia patient. I got the pony healthy and rehomed it with a sweet 8-year-old girl.”
  • “My rescue was severely malnourished and injured from an infected puncture wound. She healed well and was a dream.”
  • “My rescue was underweight and neglected. It took lots of work and calories, but was totally worth it.”
  • “My rescue was starving. He was skin, bones, and hair. No muscle, no fat.”
  • “One rescued horse + a little TLC = 16 years with the most a amazing equine I've ever known.”
  • “She was 2-years-old and abandoned. Now she's 4 and a lovely girl who is coming along in dressage. I love her so much.”
  • “I rescued an aged, neglected dressage pony, who was obese with no hoof care for years became yard ornament.”
  • “I rescued a foal whose mom died, a Quarter Horse in winter. I emptied a room in our home and moved the foal inside. ”
  • “My rescue was very skinny and not taken care of.”
  • “It was heart-breaking: both were serverely starved and only lived three to four years after getting back to health.”
  • “A 9-month-old filly weighed 400 pounds, and her neck was injured and healed badly. Now she's my primary saddle horse.”
  • “She was locked in a small stall for months with no farrier or health care. She's a very grateful horse!”
  • “We 'purchased' a horse to get it out of a very bad starvation situation.”
  • “We saved a National Show Horse that was days from death and nursed him back. He lived 10 more years as a happy boy.”
  • “I learned if he was not purchased by a certain date, he would be sent auction.”
  • “He was an Appaloosa gelding who was 300 pounds underweight. His owners said he was 18, but he was 35. He's the best horse ever!”
  • “My rescies were mostly abused or starved and a few abandoned. They turned out to be some of the best horses.”
  • “Both horses were emaciated and had various health problems. They would not have made it through the winter.”
  • “He was clearly underweight, but still full of life and needed a home.”
  • “He was going to be left in the pasture when the owner moved. I made her an offer she could not refuse”
  • “I rescued a 5-month-old six years ago. It's a privilege to have him recover and turn into such a fine horse.”
  • “A horse was given to me because of behavioral problems. We're getting on very well, and he's a lovely riding pony now.”
  • “I rescued a yearling Mini. I was her fourth owner in her short life span. No reason for it. She is great.”
  • “I rescued a very emaciated young Thoroughbred mare and a sad and somewhat neglected older Thoroughbred gelding.”

But not all rescue stories end happily. A couple people commented on negative experiences they had with rescuing a horse:

  • “It was a horrible experience. I wouldn't do it again”
  • “It became lots more work and money (than I thought). I found him a home that wanted a project horse.”

Others offered positive comments and advice about rescuing horses: 

  • “They sheer joy of watching them regain their health and sometimes spirit is an amazing experience!”
  • “I plan to rescue many more one day because every horse deserves a chance.”
  • “My daughter and I volunteered at a horse rescue and we both ended up adopting.”
  • “My rescue is one of the best horses I ever had. He lives with a friend of mine now.”
  • “He's a wonderful horse and I'm very happy with him.”
  • “It's all about giving back. If you can, do!”
  • “He's the best little buddy. He's sweet, friendly, and still follows me. He'll be driving a carriage next year.”
  • “I 'rescued' a 7-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse last fall. He'd been a pasture horse for three or four years. Best horse ever!”
  • “I rescued a starving 5-year-old Arabian stallion. He turned out to be a fabulous endurance horse.”
  • “I would tell anyone to (rescue), but I would inform you that they won't be perfect and may have vet bills.”
  • “I've rescued many horses. Some cost more to bring back to health and others will need more TLC.”

Others commented that they have not rescued a horse: 

  • “Personally, no, but a horse we owned was rescued by previous owner from slaughter.”
  • “I do not own my own farm. I cannot afford board on more than one horse at a time.”
  • “Not exactly, but I have gotten a couple of 'freebies.' ”
  • “No, I never have rescued a horse. I wanted a well-trained horse to learn from.”
  • “I rescue dogs and that is enough rescue for me.”
  • “I haven't rescued due to lack of space, not enough knowledge to train the horse, and not enough money to take on another horse”
  • “I have limited facilities, but I admire those who do.”
  • “No, but I hope to do so.”
  • “I cannot afford to take on another horse.”
  • “I'm working overtime to properly care for my own four horses. This forever home can't afford another.”
  • “I tried, but the legal and liability issues in New York made it impossible.”
  • “I would like to but don't have the money right now.”
  • “I bred my horse myself and can only afford one at time.”
  • “I'm afraid to get a rescue and get a horse with dangerous habits.”

You can find veterinarian-recommended tips for adopting horses, listen to an archived Ask the Vet Live podcast on adopting and rescuing horses, and download fact sheets with tips about adopting or rescuing a horse on TheHorse.com! 

This week we want to know: Do you tip your farrier for trimming or shoeing your horses? Vote now and share your comments at TheHorse.com!

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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