Free Horses?

The offer of a free horse today often makes longtime horse owners laugh, cringe, sigh, or all of the above. In the past couple of years as slaughter has left the United States, there have been more horses needing homes that are offered for free that used to become part of the slaughter group. Folks in these troubled economic times are finding it harder to pay upkeep on their horses. When you are faced with losing your house or farm, and with feeding yourself and your family, then the 1,000-pound beast out back can fall significantly on the list of things you consider important. California, the first state to make it a felony to knowingly sell or transport a horse across state lines for slaughter (a law that, as far as we were able to track, was never enforced), was also the first state to publicize low-cost euthanasia clinics for horses. Apparently, the state's horse industry can't absorb all of those horses. But despite all of those problems, there are still people with the heart--and the finances--to take in one more horse. And even if one horse can find a good home in this economic climate, any efforts are not in vain.

Visit and follow the links for the Thoroughbred Adoption Service to find your next horse

Therefore, has created a free adoption service for Thoroughbreds and will publicize it in conjunction with our sister site (the leading site for the Thoroughbred industry).

While this free listing of horses is only for Thoroughbreds at this time, we will look to the possibility of using this for all breeds of horses in the future.

There are some amazing horses out there who just need a chance to find the right career and home. I've known several free horses that have gone on to become fabulous trail, competition, and even kids' mounts.

There are some questions and concerns about having a listing of horses that the owners are willing to give away for free.

Is there a worry that a free horse will end up at slaughter? That is a legitimate concern. We have included articles and tips to those placing horses for free adoption to guide them in asking the right questions to avoid a horse going to an unscrupulous individual or group.

Can you identify horse slaughter buyers and, thus, warn owners looking for free homes for horses? There are no credentials or lists of slaughter buyers; anyone could take the horse and turn around and sell it for slaughter. There are no guarantees for any horse, free or sold.

Will all the horses offered for free find a suitable home? No, there probably aren't homes for all the horses, based on the age, sex, and training of horses needing homes.

Can a welfare group take a free horse for retraining or perhaps to house at their organization for a time before adopting it out? That would be up to the individual who owns the horse, but it sounds like a viable option.

Why would someone give away a perfectly good horse? There are Thoroughbred (and other breed) owners who would rather take a loss on the investment of the animal in order to find it a useful home. That, to me, is good stewardship. Some of the horses listed won't make racehorses for some physical reason, but they would be suited for other lives (even competitive disciplines). Some are broodmares who haven't produced up to their bloodlines or have reproductive problems. Often these mares are sound and sane, but they need some retraining under saddle.

So, do you have a place in your heart and home for one of these horses? If so, visit and follow the links to your next horse.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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