Adoptable Horses at MSPCA

If you’re horse shopping, you just might find your next best equine friend at a shelter near you. Many of these rescued horses can go on to new careers, according to the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) at Nevins Farm, whose Equine Center is home to a wide variety of horses looking for good homes.

"Many people know us for our work rescuing and rehabilitating abused or neglected horses, but there is another side to what we do," says Erin O’Bryan, barn manager at the Equine Center. "We always have a number of horses suitable for riding or performance work available for adoption, in addition to those that are suitable primarily as companion animals. In fact, we have quite a collection of success stories about horses that have been placed and gone onto new homes or careers."
Consider Nick of Time, a spunky Morgan placed by the MSPCA as a youngster. Today, Nick competes with owner Audrey Hartnett in major combined driving events all along the East Coast. There are many more. Delaney, a onetime racing Thoroughbred, now doing trails throughout New England; Flash and Surprise, rescued as part of a cruelty case, are now exceptional pleasure mounts. Davy is currently working for Maryland Park Service.

According to Jenn Brockway, assistant director of the MSPCA at Nevins Farm, adoptable horses come to the Farm for a variety of reasons. "Their owners' personal situations may have changed, or the match may have been incompatible in the first place," she says. "We also encounter surrenders by people who miscalculated the time, energy, and money that owning a horse requires"

Brockway also notes that many surrendered horses are ready, willing, and able to continue a riding career. "These horses often have lots of good years left," she says. "Their former owners feel comfortable turning the horse over to us to be placed because they know we will stay in contact with the new owner and track the horse's progress to be sure the adoption is working out."

Nevins Farm typically houses 15-18 horses ready for adoption. The farm places as many as 25 horses a year and also places some in foster homes while they await a permanent home.

If you are interested in adopting your next horse from the Nevins Farm, O’Bryan outlines the MSPCA's process, which is designed to ensure the best possible match:

Call Nevins Farm at 978/687-7453 to inquire about horses currently available for adoption, or visit Nevins Farm's web site at for photos and information. If you see a horse that interests you, call the farm to set up a time to meet the horse. (While you can always visit during our regular business hours, it's best to schedule an appointment so that you have an opportunity to talk with barn staff who will tell you about the horse's abilities and any special needs it may have.)

The farm staff will also discuss the financial and emotional commitment needed in caring for a horse. If all goes well, the staff will arrange a time for you to groom or work with the horse. We may set up another few meetings and have you ride the horse if appropriate. If it appears you and the horse are a good match, you will complete a Prospective Adopter Form. Once you are ready to adopt, Nevins staff will check your references and visit the facility where the horse will reside.

At the time of adoption, the MSPCA requests a donation that varies depending on the horse, its abilities, and your circumstances. Typically, adoption donations start at $500 and go up to $4,000. The farm depends on these donations to run its adoption and surrender programs.

O’Bryan notes that this process has been an important reason that the vast majority of placements have been successful. "Adoption is a large part of our mission, and there is nothing more rewarding than placing an animal in a responsible and compassionate home," she says.

About the MSPCA at Nevins Farm

Located in Methuen, Mass., the MSPCA at Nevins Farm serves all of New England through its education, rescue, surrender, adoption, and foster care programs. Its Equine Center is one of the nation's only open-door shelters (all animals accepted) for horses, and its equine ambulance service program supports the welfare of horses both regionally through a Veterinary Referral Program for horse owners and nationally through a Sport Horse Ambulance Service for equine athletes in competition. The MSPCA at Nevins Farm also provides equine rescue training for veterinarians, public safety officials, and event organizers across the country. The MSPCA receives no state or federal funding.

To learn more about the farm, its Equine Center, and other programs, or to inquire about equine adoption or make a donation, contact Assistant Director Jennifer Brockway at 978/687-7453, ext. 125, or visit

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