- Pets and Animals
Free Horses - Horses for 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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. Equine.com has a special section just for free horse ads. The Horse.com 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.
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!