Most of our horses stay with us for life, but some we take in knowing we will adopt them to other permanent homes. It you are interested in adopting from us, let us know! You can email us at email@example.com.
It you would like to rescue a horse out of a killpen, or adopt from other nonprofits who rescue horses, below are some links and helpful information. If you have questions, we are always happy to help!
Sometimes it's easier to go through a rescue organization rather than try to navigate the world of horse rescue and adoption on your own. For more information and links to some of the rescue nonprofits we follow, click below...
Many killpens and auction yards post their available horses online through social media or their websites. Click below for a list of some of their websites...
The first step is choosing a horse. If you don't live in the area of a killpen or auction, you can view available horses through many of their websites. Plan to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 to buy a standard size horse from a killpen (many of them are healthy and trained). If you are getting an un-trained horse, pricing will likely be a little lower. If you are buying a well-trained, younger horse, pricing will likely be higher. If you are buying a draft horse, pricing will likely be higher. Ponies, miniature horses, and donkeys are also available and typically cost less. If owning a large horse feels like too much, consider saving a pony or mini since there are typically just as many of these needing safe homes as your regular horses. Many killpens post multiple pictures and/or video of each horse so you can get an idea of the horse's soundness and behavior. (Note: A malnourished or sick horse will generally appear pretty "gentle," but often once they get healthy you see a more energetic personality. If you are unsure what might be best for you, you can go the route of adopting a rescued, now-healthier horse from a rescue organization or even taking in one of those "free horses" from a post online.) Killpen facilities do not typically provide good conditions for the horses and many do not even receive adequate food so the sooner you can get your new horse home or to quarantine, the better.
If you need your horse transported, some killpens offer transport for an added fee. It's usually pretty reasonable because they haul many horses at the same time. Otherwise, check with nearby rescues and ask if they have recommendations for transport. You can also hire a transport company from where you live, but pricing will likely be much higher than those transporting multiple horses. NOTE: There are lots of scams - people offering to be hired for transport who take your money and disappear, or people who pretend to sell horses and ask you to transfer money. Make sure you only send money to reputable businesses and nonprofits. Ask around. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Transport can cost around $1,000 but it depends on your location and how many other horses are on-board. They won't always come to your specific town, but they can hopefully get within a few hours of you and then you can trailer the horse the rest of the way home yourself, or arrange with a local transporter to pick it up and bring it the rest of the way home. In our experience, the horses are delivered to you at a truck-stop. Be prepared with halters, lead ropes, fresh water, water buckets, hay and hay nets, and electrolytes since they will likely be dehydrated. They may also be weary from the long ride, so it's a good idea to let the horse have a break before getting on the road again.
When you get the horse home, have fresh water, hay, and minerals ready and nice soft bedding if possible. If you end up with a horse as frail and malnourished as ours, it can be a good idea to let them stand and rest in the trailer for awhile before trying to unload them (one of ours nearly collapsed trying to walk out of the trailer after finally getting them home).
If you have other horses already, quarantine is an important factor for your new rescue since many horses contract viruses or have infections. If you don't have a quarantine location away from your other horses, there are several options in killpen areas where quarantine and even horse training can be arranged, or there may be quarantine options in your town. Ask around. If you do not have other horses, then bringing them home should be fine. Quarantine can cost around $20 per day. A 30-day quarantine is standard.
NOTE: Keep in mind that any videos or photos you see of the horse you purchase may have been taken days or weeks (sometimes even months) prior to you purchasing. The horse's health may have declined since then. Be in contact with a vet, ideally one who has dealt with extreme cases of starvation and neglect. If a horse has very poor body condition, feeding and giving water like you would a normal horse can actually result in organ failure and death. So be sure you have a vet you can work with. Also, talk with other rescues or read through their experiences to learn from them. And lastly, make sure you have a good farrier lined up since most of these horses have had poor hoof care or no hoof care.
Other than that, enjoy the ride of saving a life!
Some people believe that the horses advertised by killpens and said to be in danger of shipping to slaughter are not horses that would actually ever ship to slaughter. Instead these people believe the killpen is attempting to pull on your heartstrings in order to get you to buy the horse and give the killpen a better and quicker profit. Another argument is that by buying from a killpen, you fund the very system you don't agree with.
Our experience has been this: Whether the horse is going to ship to slaughter or not, these horses are in terrible situations and in need of rescuing. Slaughter is a horrible death. But being in holding at a killpen is not a good life. Many of the horses need medical treatment. Many are severely starved. Some even die in the killpen. If you are unsure, talk with rescues who are "boots on the ground" and have seen it in person.
For those selling the horses in these situations, it tends to be about the money. If they can't get money from the big-hearted people, they will get it from the heartless people. The horses will indeed ship to slaughter if no one else buys them. The killpen will not pay to feed the horse forever, nor will they pay to euthanize a horse. If they can profit by shipping to slaughter, they will.
As far as funding a system you don't agree with, that is a valid argument. If you are able to intervene before a horse ever ends up at a killpen, that is always better. Check online for "free horse" ads, go to local horse auctions, and get in touch with rescue organizations. But if a horse ends up at a killpen, they are usually out of time and out of options. Many rescue fundraisers refer to it as the horse's "bail" money to get them to safety. But the horse has done nothing wrong to end up imprisoned, so we refer to it as ransom money.
And since we know the treasures that these horses are, we are willing to pay the price.