Are you a horse lover? Whether you’re active now, or just admire these majestic, amazing animals from a distance, this is a great time to show our equine friends some love. National Help A Horse Day is coming up on April 26th. This day was founded to bring horse lovers together to join forces in helping raise awareness of the need for horse sanctuaries and rescues, and also to support the brave souls that run them. A local Wichita, KS vet puts horses in the spotlight in this article.

Our History With Horses

We first domesticated horses 6000 years ago. It’s impossible to overstate the impact they have had on civilization since then. Until just over 100 years ago, they were our main form of transportation! They also helped us plow fields, moved supplies and messages, and carried us into war. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for Silver to be viewed as something to be used, rather than as a living being. 

The truth is that horses are extremely astute and emotional, and are capable of forming incredibly strong bonds with their humans. We think every one of these hooved beauties deserves a great pasture, buddies; lots of love and scratches;  a clean, comfy stall; and, of course, carrots and sugar cubes.

Why Are So Many Horse Sanctuaries Needed?

There have always been horses in bad situations. Back in 1866, Henry Burgh, who founded the ASPCA, stepped in when he saw a cart driver beating his horse. This incident eventually resulted in the very first horse cruelty arrest. Over the past century, the issue has been exacerbated by several factors. Horse meat sales, the profit-over-protection attitude of many in the racing industry, financial issues, and the roundup of wild horses are a few things coming into play here.

I Love Horses! Should I Adopt One?

We’d love to answer this one with an enthusiastic yes, but that really wouldn’t be an appropriate answer.

Horses are extremely high maintenance. Every day, Silver will need to be fed, have his hooves picked, his water bucket scrubbed out, and his stall cleaned. Horses also need turnout time. Farrier visits are also absolutely crucial: you just can’t overstate the importance of keeping your horse’s hooves clean and healthy. Then there’s dental care, veterinary care, the cost of feed, tack … the list goes on. It’s unfortunately all too common for people to adopt horses without realizing how much time, work, and money goes into their care. 

That’s not to say that adoption isn’t a good idea: it’s just not something to take lightly. Also, don’t expect to stop in and spend an hour or two a week with Silver.

If you’re toying with the idea of buying a horse, there are a few things you can consider. Horse leases are becoming more common. While different barns and owners may offer different scenarios, you’d essentially be renting Silver. The biggest benefit of going this route is that you aren’t bound to a forever commitment. There’s shared responsibility, which at the end of the day is ultimately the owner’s responsibility. In some cases, this may also serve as a try-before-you-buy, ensuring that you are picking the right horse for you. 

Assuming you do have the time and funds, then by all means, you could consider adopting. You may find that it’s one of the most rewarding things you’ve ever done!

If you don’t have quite enough time, or if, like most people, you don’t have a barn, going to a great full-service boarding stable may be a great bet. They’ll take care of Silver’s turnout, cleaning, and grooming needs, and either schedule or coordinate with you on things like hoof trims and veterinary visits. Finding the right barn is half the battle here, of course. We’ll get back to that another time.

That all said, be sure to think carefully and talk to your Wichita, KS vet before taking the plunge.

How Do I Help A Horse?


While adopting isn’t right for everyone, if you do already have a barn and horses, and can afford it, then by all means, consider adopting a rescue. Many rescues are older horses or cannot be ridden, due to injuries. However, they can make great pasture buddies.


This one is for more experienced equestrians: You may want to consider fostering a rescue horse. There will of course be added expense, but you may find it extremely rewarding. You can check the ASPCA-approved site, here for a list of available horses.


There are also plenty of rescued horses that need sponsors. This is a great way to help a horse without signing up for a massive commitment. Many rescues are in bad shape when they get to their sanctuary. At the very least, they usually need pedicures and thorough exams. That freedom ride doesn’t mean they’re out of the woods just yet.

Support A Horse Rescue

Whether you are looking to adopt or just want to help a great cause, there’s no shortage of wonderful, hard-working folks and organizations that are rescuing horses.

Here are a few types of horse rescues:

Auction Rescues: While horse slaughter is officially illegal here in the States, there are illegal operations. Kill pen buyers often purchase horses at auction, just to ship them to Canada or Mexico. This is exceptionally cruel, because the horses are often sick, injured, and/or underweight, as well as absolutely terrified, and are often kept in appalling conditions. The good news? Many rescues are stepping in to rescue horses from the pens.

Race Horse Rescues: The racing industry is unfortunately a pipeline to bad situations for many horses. It’s not unheard of for people to find retired racehorses at kill pen auctions. There are quite a few rescues that work specifically with retired racehorses, many of which are eventually put up for adoption. There are some definite pluses to adopting a rescued thoroughbred. Many are very reasonably priced, still quite young, and absolutely gorgeous. Of course, Silver will need training to adapt to other forms of riding.

Draft Horse Rescues: Draft horses are very much the unsung heroes of the horse world. Many still work very, very hard, spending their lives hauling carts and logs on farms … only to be thrown away when the toil and years catch up to them. Many rescues are dedicated to these gentle giants.

Wild Horse Rescues: Wild horse rescues can operate a few different ways. Some simply provide sanctuary for the horses, and let them remain free. Others work with training wild horses.

Abuse/Neglect Rescues: There’s also no shortage of rescues that just take in horses that are saved from bad situations. 

Donkey Rescues: We can’t forget about the smaller equines! Donkeys also often end up in bad situations. Sadly, these lovable, braying equines are often overlooked. Plus, many people don’t understand the nuances of their care. For instance, they are extremely social, and form very close bonds with each other. Then there’s the mule, a cross between a horse and donkey.

Overseas Rescues: The last several decades have been turbulent, to say the least. That has led to dire situations in many different countries. There are rescues operating in nearly every country and corner of the globe.

Of course, these are just a few examples. You can find many other rescues. We would advise vetting a rescue before donating. You don’t have to go too crazy: just check their website and social media, and ensure that they are active and legit. Those that are 501c3s are your best bet. That isn’t to say smaller rescues aren’t worthy, but more a caution to be careful of imposters. Some of the more popular horse rescue pages sometimes have their content reposted by scammers.

You can find a great resource here. This lists rescues by state. Your Wichita, KS animal clinic may also be able to point you in the right direction. 

Spread The Word 

One area where anyone can help is by supporting and raising awareness about pending legislation that will help protect horses. As with any animal advocacy cause, just spreading the word can do a lot of good. If you’ve been following any horse rescues, share posts for them.

Contact Your Wichita, KS Equine Veterinarians

Do you need a great equine vet in the area? Contact us, your Wichita, KS pet hospital, today!