Adopt a horse

When you adopt a horse, you help to choke off the slaughter pipeline

The difference between a horse you adopt from a rescue and one you buy: The horse you adopt will be forever grateful for having its faith in humanity restored. And you will feel its gratitude every day.


Our horses go through a minimum 45-day quarantine once we bring them to Swingin' D. Not only does the break allow us to ensure any infectious illness has passed through their systems, it also gives the horse a chance to decompress and recover from their traumatic experience in the slaughter pipeline. In their first 45 days, horses see our farrier and veterinarian. Most get their teeth floated (many for the first time, and all get annual vaccines and worming. Before they leave us, all males are gelded.

The application approval process can take weeks, so you might want to get started right away - even before you find a horse. If you agree with our methods and requirements, fill out an adoption application and let us know your needs and preferences. That way, when we find a horse that meets your criteria, you're ahead of the game.

Adoption Fees Cover Costs

Each horse we rescue costs up to $1,500 to buy from the kill lot, transport to safety, evaluate, rehabilitate, retrain and prepare for adoption. Your donations of time, goods and money help to defray the cost of loving horses from slaughter to sanctuary, and enable us to save even more equine lives.

There Are No Free Horses

By the time our horses  are ready for adoption, they’ve spent a minimum of 45 days with us.  Most are with us several months before we list them for adoption. That means they’re like family, so we make sure they’re adopted to adopters who will love them like we do. We’ve learned that people are more likely to take care of something they’ve earned. We’ve also learned that even the best sob stories end the same as the worst sob stories: Things just didn’t work out with the horse. Most of the time, the horse gets the blame.

Here are all the factors that go in to our adoption fees:

  1. People value what they invest in – either with time, money or heart. They’re more likely to try to make things work with a horse they spent $1,200 on than one they spent $200 on.
  2. It’s easy to make money at auction on a horse you get for free. A horse purchased for a few hundred bucks will sell at a profit to a kill buyer at auction. We never price a horse under its meat value.
  3. Horses we adopt out cost us a minimum of $1,500 to rescue and get ready for adoption. 
  4. Horse ownership is expensive. If our adoption fees make you squeamish, think about whether you can afford the first vet bill for an accident or illness…because they happen. Plan to spend between $2,400 and $3,876 per horse, per year.  And that’s for a healthy horse!  You’re looking at $200 to $325 per month, per horse. While Swingin’ D has covered much of that cost for the first year, you need to think about every year after.
  5. Our adoption fees are more than fair for the horse. If you were to purchase the same horse on the open market, you’d easily pay twice what we ask. Just because a horse was unlucky enough to have an owner that discarded it as trash, doesn’t make it trash.

Swingin’ D Horses are Good to Go

When you adopt a horse from Swingin’ D, your horse is vetted, vaccinated, trimmed, evaluated and good to go. Most have a clean Coggins or health certificate. The horse’s teeth will either be floated, or we’ll tell you when the vet recommends its next floating. We give you whatever records we have, along with the name and number of the vet that treated it. You’re free to call the vet to verify what we tell you. We use reputable, licensed veterinarians that have no ties to our organization, so you’re also free to Google them to check their references.

Our Goal is Success

Horse Adopted - Elvis
Kymberli overcame a lifelong terror of horses when she adopted Elvis and helped to nurse him back to health.

While we work hard to get our horses ready for adoption, they’re still horses, so they’re not perfect. If you’ve ever bought a horse, you know that most (if not all) horses are marketed as:

  • 8 years old (or under 10)
  • 14.3 hands
  • Dead broke to ride and drive
  • Babysitter, kid-broke
  • Sound
  • Stand for farrier
  • Easy to catch
  • Practically halter themselves

You also know that it’s not possible for all horses to be 8 years old (or under 10); but that’s a desirable age, so that’s how they’re marketed. We’ve gotten horses we were told were 12 years old that were closer to 30. Horses billed as “broke to ride and drive” had never laid eyes on a saddle. We’ve been told in-tact horses were geldings, and that geldings were studs. We’re not here to sell horses. We’re here to provide Happily Ever After for horse and rider.

Adopt a Horse at Swingin’ D and You’ll Know What We Know

When you get a horse from Swingin’ D, we tell you everything we know about the horse. We go by the age the veterinarian gives us – not the seller – and we share the challenges we’ve had with the horse. The last thing we want is for one of our horses to be discarded because it wasn’t a good fit with the adopter. Horses can feel disappointment, just as they feel fear and anger. It takes another full month to re-tune a horse that’s returned by someone who wasn’t prepared for the responsibility.

Our goal is not just adoption. Our goal is success. If that means we hold on to a horse for a year until it’s ready, so be it. We’re grateful for the many successes we’ve had; and we look forward to many more.

Not Every Horse is for Every Rider

Some of our horses are a challenge. That means they’re not right for every rider. When that’s the case, we tell you up front – sometimes multiple times. We know that people fall in love with a horse because of the way it looks; and once you’re in love, you stop listening to potential pitfalls. We tell you in every way we can the challenges you may face with your chosen horse.

Adoption Contract Required

All Swingin’ D adoptions require a contract. Our contracts are a conglomeration of best practices from established rescue organizations, and they’re not negotiable, so please don’t waste your time haggling. If we say it in the contract, it’s because we believe it’s possible (so do other rescue organizations).

Before you ever look at our horses and fall in love, we encourage you to look carefully over our requirements and the contract and make sure you can live with the standards we require.