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Free Horses - Horses for Adoption

Updated on March 21, 2013
Percheron gelding
Percheron gelding | Source

Horse Adoption

Are you looking into horse adoption? I’m always surprised and somewhat saddened by the number of free horses available, and there are even more cheap horses on the market. Owning a horse or horses is one of the best things I’ve ever done – but it’s not for everyone. If you love equines, all the free horses you can find now make it very tempting to finally fulfill your dream of owning a horse, but before you check out horses for adoption, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Before you even consider horse adoption, you need to do a lot of thinking and a lot of research, along with doing an honest assessment of your finances and your time. Owning a horse and caring for it properly is a huge commitment that not everyone is willing or able to make. If you’re new to horses or horse ownership, I hope my tips on horse adoption will give you some points to strongly consider. Enjoy the horse photos as you read!

Horses eat A LOT!
Horses eat A LOT! | Source

Horse Sales

Horse sales have been down for the past few years. This is due to several factors. One is because of the overall depressed economy and the unemployment rate. Most horses are “luxury items,” so when a family feels a financial pinch, the “extras” like horses are often the first to go. Another reason for depressed horse sales is because of the rising prices of grain and hay. Horses cost a lot more to feed than they used to. Also, since horse slaughterhouses in the U.S. closed, the bottom price for equines has plummeted. I’m not for horse slaughter, but I do admit that it has an effect on the price of equines. A law recently passed that makes horse slaughterhouses legal again in the U.S., so it will be interesting to see the law’s effect on horse sales.

Audrie on Skittles.
Audrie on Skittles. | Source

Cheap Horses

In addition to free horses, cheap horses are easy to find if you look in enough places. I’ll give you a couple of real examples of cheap horses. For my horse-crazy granddaughter’s sixth birthday, I bought her a beautiful, well trained pony. It cost $50. A week later, the pony died from a rattlesnake bite. My granddaughter was heartbroken, so I set out to buy her another mount. This was before her other grandparents decided they couldn’t go through having another horse on their place. I shopped the horse classifieds and found numerous cheap horses. I had decided on a small horse I found in South Georgia, not too far from us. The horse was beautiful, young, gentle, and well trained. In fact, it had won numerous ribbons at horse shows, and it was in perfect health. The price for the horse was just $200.

flea-bitten mare
flea-bitten mare | Source

Horse Rescue

You wouldn’t believe how many unwanted horses there are now. Many horse rescue facilities in America are at full capacity, and most are having to turn horses away. That’s a real tragedy for strapped owners who want to turn over their animals to horse rescues. Unfortunately, owners have limited choices when it comes to getting rid of unwanted horses.

It’s sad when you have to give up a beloved animal that has served you well and provided loyal service. You want your four-legged friend to go to a good, loving home. You try to sell it first, but you don’t have any takers. You try your best to give the horse away, placing free horse ads on the internet, at feed stores, and in the horse classifieds of your local newspapers. Still, you get no takers. You try to find a horse rescue to take your pal, but all the horse rescues are full. Of course, you have the option of taking your horse to an auction, but you know it could end up with a “kill buyer” and be subjected to a tortuous long trip on a crowded truck, perhaps having to go for days without food and water before being painfully slaughtered in a Mexican facility. What options are left?

When horse owners can’t sell their animals, give them away, or turn them over to horse rescues, some get desperate. A few sneak into a nearby horse rescue and leave their steed tied up to a fence under the cover of night. Some release their unwanted horses in state parks, federal land, or on highways, leaving the animals to fend for themselves. Some even take their unwanted equines to horse shows and leave them in empty trailers. Those who can afford it often turn to humane euthanasia when they have no other options, but this isn’t cheap – there’s the cost of the injection and the price of disposing of the carcass. Unfortunately, some owners do nothing, allowing their unwanted horses to slowly starve to death.

I’ve spent some time on the internet searching for horse rescues by state. I’m happy to report that every state, including Alaska and Hawaii, has at least one horse rescue. In fact, most states have several horse rescues. To find a horse rescue near you, type in horse rescue and the name of your state.

Quarter Horses
Quarter Horses | Source

Free Horse Ads

Although I don’t own any horses at the present time, I’m still a horse nut, and I often browse the horse classifieds on the internet and in newspapers. My time on the horse classifieds is my version of “window shopping.” Two of my daughters, also horse lovers, are both hoping to find homes in the country with some acreage. As soon as that happens, I’m buying horses for my daughters, my grandkids, and for myself.

I can’t tell you how many free horse ads I’ve run across. Admittedly, some of the free horses have medical conditions, or they’re aged. Some are unrideable due to lameness, breathing problems, or other health conditions. That’s why you need to fully investigate the animals described in free horse ads. If the owner states that the horse can’t be ridden, don’t assume that you know better. Believe me, if the horse was capable of carrying a rider, the owner would have no incentive to say otherwise. Of course, if you’re just wanting a horse as a pasture ornament or to serve as a companion for another horse, it won’t matter if the free horse can be ridden or not.

Jonathan and Lexi going on a trail ride.
Jonathan and Lexi going on a trail ride. | Source

Free Horse – No Such Thing!

I’ve always been horse crazy, and I pestered my parents mercilessly until they finally gave in and bought me a horse. Before that wonderful Christmas morning, however, I begged and pleaded for a horse constantly. I even found a few free horse ads, sure that my parents couldn’t oppose a free horse. I remember my father responding several times with, “There’s no such thing as a free horse!” At the time, I didn’t understand his statement. After all, the ads specifically stated that the horses were free –the owners were giving them away, so the equines wouldn’t cost my mom and dad a penny. Dad was a wise man, and as it turned out, he was correct. Although no purchase price was involved, there really is no such thing as a free horse.

Lexi and her miniature horse.
Lexi and her miniature horse. | Source

Owning a Horse

Owning a horse is expensive. I’ve owned more than fifty equines over the years, so I know whereof I speak. I’ve boarded horses at stables, kept them on my own mini farm, and kept them on my ex-in-laws’ vast cattle farm. Owning a horse that you have to board is the most expensive, obviously. You have a monthly boarding fee that might or might not include the cost of feed and the feeding, watering, and turn-out tasks. If you have to travel to the boarding stables twice a day to care for your animal, you also have to figure in time and gas money.

The cheapest example of my owning a horse was when we lived on the cattle ranch. We grew acres and acres of pasture, so the horses stayed fat and slick mostly from grazing. Okay, so let’s say that you have free access to sufficient grazing, so you don’t have to spend much on horse feed. Think you’re home free? Think again! Your horse will still need salt and mineral blocks. It will also need regular vet care, vaccinations, and wormings. It will also require regular hoof care and possibly dental care. Horses are pretty accident-prone, too, so you’ll need to figure in the cost of unexpected injuries.

Now, let’s talk about the time and work involved with owning a horse. Of course, there’s the feeding – twice a day – and the watering. There’s daily grooming, which includes proper hoof cleaning. If the horse is stalled, there’ll be lots of mucking involved, which is hard work. A stalled horse will also need daily exercise and mental stimulation. Your tack will also need regular attention.

Don’t get me wrong – owning a horse is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. BUT…people need to understand everything that horse ownership involves before they adopt a horse. Unfortunately, some novice horsemen go into owning a horse totally unprepared, creating a bad situation for both horse and owner. If you’re completely sure you can afford the financial responsibilities and the physical and time demands of owning a horse, go for it!

I've been a horse lover since birth!
I've been a horse lover since birth! | Source

Horses for Adoption

When you find horses for adoption, there might be an adoption fee involved. Such is the case with most horse rescue facilities. Some horse rescues also have pretty strict guidelines for adopting a horse. You might have to prove that you know how to care for a horse, that you have a proper place to keep a horse, and that you have the financial means necessary for owning a horse. You might get frustrated with all the red tape presented by the horse rescue, but most horse rescues have only the best intentions in mind. They don’t want to add to the problem of unwanted horses.

Some animal shelters also have free horses, although some shelters accept only small animals. Actually, these probably won’t be free horses, exactly. They’ll be horses for adoption, so you’ll have to pay an adoption fee. Still, the fee will usually be nominal.

When you’re looking at horses for adoption, don’t get the first pretty horse you see. Looks aren’t nearly as important as training, temperament, and health. Ride the horse first to make sure you can handle it. Also, find out as much as you can about the horses for adoption. If possible, contact the former owner to learn more.

This old horse is perfect for kids.
This old horse is perfect for kids. | Source

Where to Find Free Horses

There are lots of places to find free horses. Although I don’t own horses right now, many people know that I used to be really “into” horses, and a week rarely passes when I don’t run into some horsey person trying to give me a free horse. If you know any such folks, they might very well know of some free horses available in your area. Other good places to find free horses include stables, riding academies, tack and feed stores, and veterinary offices.

If you exhaust all these potential sources for free horses, start hanging around other places horse people frequent. Go to some local horse shows and let people know you’re looking for a free horse. Leave your contact information with several prospects, and it probably won’t be long before you find out about some free horses that are needing good homes.

Sometimes you can find free horses and very cheap horses at horse sales and auctions. Get there early, well before the auction starts. Once the horses have been consigned to the sale barn, the owner will probably have to pay a sale fee, even if he decides to give the horse away instead of running it through the sale ring.

Other good places to find free horses are in horse classifieds on the internet. has a special section just for free horse ads. The also has several free horse ads. Equinenow and Horsetopia often advertise free horses, too. You might even find a few free horses in newspapers and horse magazines. Please remember, though – free horses aren’t really “free” in the long run, as my dad told me long ago. A free horse might not cost a cent to purchase, but you’ll find that keeping and maintaining so-called free horses won’t be free or cheap.

Horse Photos

This section is devoted to horse photos. There's no information provided - just mindless entertainment and fodder for daydreaming. I hope you appreciate the beauty, power, and elegance of horses as much as I do!

Horse Photos

sorrel gelding
sorrel gelding | Source
Jousting | Source
Paint Gelding
Paint Gelding | Source
Paint Mare
Paint Mare | Source
Nice horsie!
Nice horsie! | Source
a nice filly
a nice filly | Source
Horses benefit from grazing.
Horses benefit from grazing. | Source
Well trained horses are friendly.
Well trained horses are friendly. | Source
Horseback riding on the beach.
Horseback riding on the beach. | Source
My middle daughter - another horse lover.
My middle daughter - another horse lover. | Source
One of my students at my renaissance festival.
One of my students at my renaissance festival. | Source
Lexi - yet another horse lover in the family.
Lexi - yet another horse lover in the family. | Source
Tristan, making friends.
Tristan, making friends. | Source
Audrie is ready to saddle up.
Audrie is ready to saddle up. | Source
miniature horse
miniature horse | Source
draft horse
draft horse | Source
Georgia Renaissance Festival
Georgia Renaissance Festival | Source
sorrel with blaze
sorrel with blaze | Source
Black and White Paint
Black and White Paint | Source


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    • profile image

      salvador 3 years ago

      Ay star may ranch in rio rico az. Can you colmy 520_285_7976 thaneyou

    • profile image

      ryckel 3 years ago

      Im 17 and I just really want a horse to adopt I dnt have the 300 or 500 for a horse but I can buy the food nd make sure the horse have a wonderful life

    • profile image

      allyson dickinson 3 years ago

      I think you have some very pretty horses

    • Southern Raised profile image

      Melissa 4 years ago from Mississippi

      I so agree with your article. Everything from there is no free horses when you think of the care involved. I have had a few horses throughout my life and some were wonderful horses and some lol not so wonderful. Anyone that is thinking of getting a horse really needs to check out your blog. Again thanks so much for the information.

    • profile image

      Abigail 4 years ago

      I am looking for an Arabian very cheap lepard color plz my daughter is dying for one. After her Welsh cob died she got very deppressed and it was bad now that i said i get her another horse she has lost weight and is happy plz i need it in a week and a half plz if u are selling my limit is 900,000!

    • profile image

      Maynard 4 years ago

      Hi everyone, I am preparing to open a therapeutic riding center in Trinidad, in January 2014. This will be a non profit center and I am seeking some assistance in the way of donations. Anything equipment you can give that will be useful in the success operation for the disable. If you can, contact me @

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 4 years ago from Georgia

      Ashley, check with local vets, animal shelters, feed stores, and tack shops. I'm always hearing about folks trying to give away a horse. I hope you find one soon and that your daughter loves it.

      Be sure to check the internet sites I mentioned in the article, too. Check back often, as the sites are updated frequently.

    • profile image

      ashley 4 years ago

      hi. My name is ashley im desparetly trying to find my daighter a horse for her birthday. She has been through a very tramic life change here recently and all ive heard since she could talk was i want a horsey. Ive got the finaces to take care of the horse but not to buy one i want to find a gentle horse that someone wants to go to a good home filled with love and that's what would happen if i could just find a "free" horse. where do i go to find one. plz point me in the direction to make my babies dream come true. thank u

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 4 years ago from Georgia

      Wish I could, wasdd!

    • profile image

      wasdd 4 years ago

      Would you bring me a horse to 443longcreek road

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Jenn, that's a great situation for all parties involved - the rider, the horse, and the owner. Some owners let people ride in exchange for cleaning stalls, grooming horses, or doing other chores.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Jenn-Anne profile image

      Jenn-Anne 5 years ago

      Great hub! I've never owned my own horse but I used to ride quite often. I had a standing agreement with a family friend and nearby farm owner that I could ride one particular horse any time I wanted as long as I let him know ahead of time. This was a great compromise in that the owner got help with the exercise and care of the horse and I got my "horse fix" without having to take on the financial responsibility. I recommend it for anyone that has the opportunity. Will share your hub with my horse-loving friends. Voted up!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Jmillis, that's great! I'm glad it turned out well for you and the horse. There are tons of great horses for adoption. I wish more potential owners would explore that option.

    • Jmillis2006 profile image

      Jmillis2006 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I use to own an off the track thoroughbred rescue, I got from the farm I board at he was the best horse ever I even road him until I was 32 weeks pregnant with my daughter and could no longer get on, unfortunately after 5 years he became pretty arthritic and could no longer keep up with my ridding needs, I could only afford to board one horse so when I got my 2 year old quarter horse , I had to let him go. The good news is my friend that owns the farm I board at and who was also the original owner took him back. It was a win- win I still get to see him as does she and he has the cushy retirement he deserves.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Angie, have you checked Horsetopia and Equinenow? I think they have a section for free horses. Good luck!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      equine, that's a great idea if you don't know the buyer. Thanks!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Margie. I appreciate that!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Adikins, you're very welcome!

    • profile image

      angie12345678910 5 years ago

      i want a cheep horse were can i get one

    • equine profile image

      Melissa Kanzelberger 5 years ago from Hillsboro, MO

      Recently, horse slaughter was re-legalized in the United States, signed into law by congress and our president. Therefore, if you are offering a horse for sale, I strongly advise you to ask higher-than meat prices.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Such beautiful animals, they are! I wish I could have one, but I live in an apartment at the moment.

      By the way, I backlinked this hub on my animal rescue hub.

      Great job, habee!

    • profile image

      adikins 5 years ago

      i never knew horses could be such and influence in my life the are so loyal and beautiful!!!!

      thank u so much habee

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Msmillar, nice to meet another horse person! Thanks for including that warning about free horses on some websites. I wasn't aware of that.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Claire. I don't want folks to add to the problem of unwanted horses, so I want them to understand everything involved with owning horses.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      mb - I'm glad the hub brought back nice memories for you, too. Thanks for reading!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      fpherj - Yep, it's true about free horses. Glad the hub brought back good memories!

    • Msmillar profile image

      Joanna 5 years ago from Valley Springs

      Great hub! I'm "into" horses also. Like your hub says, & are both good for finding free or low cost horses. Your readers should beware of some ads at other websites, which I won't mention here. They offer a free horse but its just a scam to get your personal information. The scammers respond with an unusually long email ending with personal questions. There's plenty of honest people with free horses and I'm glad to see you promoting them!

    • clairemy profile image

      Claire 5 years ago

      Adopting a horse is a kind and generous thing to do, but it is good tha you pointed out the cost and need for knowledge.

    • mbwalz profile image

      MaryBeth Walz 5 years ago from Maine

      Habee, what a great hub (as usual!) I especially loved the pictures. Although I never owned a horse, my father did ferrier work on the side and I just loved going with him. He was stern but so gentle with the horses. So, although I'm not in the market for a horse, it did bring back some warm memories! Thanks!!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Habee...I would never have thought that there are free horses available. This is news to me.

      They are such an elegant and regal animal.

      We did a lot of horseback riding as a family many years ago and I fell in love with the incredibly gentle and intelligent beasts. Unfortunately never owned one.

      Very nice pictures in your hub. I especially like the kids on the darling ponies.

      UP and awesome!!