Adopting an Ex-Racehorse – FAQs

Q. Is adopting an ex-racehorse a lifetime responsibility?
A. We all hope so. But most rescue/retirement organizations understand that things happen in life. Check your adoption agreement for details on returning an adopted horse.

Q. Is transportation my responsibility?
A. In most cases, yes, however, you will need to contact the specific organization that is featuring the horse. Most organizations can refer you to reliable transport companies. For a list of transporters, please visit the National Horse Carriers Association’s website:

Q. Does the entire adoption fee have to be paid at once?
A. Generally, yes, the fee needs to be paid before the horse leaves the organization’s care. However, different payment schedules can be agreed upon.

Q. Can I have a vet check a horse over before I adopt?
A. We encourage anyone listing a horse to provide and veterinary history they may have. But any prospective adopter should get their own veterinary inspection done. Please contact the organization or individual that listed the horse before making arrangements. You, the potential adopter, are responsible for this expense.

Q. Why do you only feature Thoroughbreds?
A. Currently we feature only Thoroughbreds, but we may consider expanding in the future. Many of the people involved with retirement organizations have some past involvement in Thoroughbred racing and feel an obligation to assist the breed they not only love, but the breed that helped them earn a living. There are rescue organizations for many other breeds as well. Please visit for a list of various equine rescues, categorized by state.

Q. What happens to Thoroughbreds after their racing career?
A. Only the most talented or royally bred Thoroughbreds are retired to breeding farms. A few lucky horses that were not talented enough to be bred are sometimes kept by an owner willing to undertake the obligation of continuing to provide for them. Most retirees each year have few options and are therefore subject to abuse, neglect, and slaughter for human consumption. Retirement organizations have been able to rescue thousands of horses from this plight.

Q. How old are Thoroughbreds when they stop racing?
A. Thoroughbreds typically begin their racing careers at age two and remain racing from anywhere between the ages of 2 and 10 depending on how they do, soundness and racing form.

Q. How long do Thoroughbreds live?
A. The average lifespan for a Thoroughbred is 25-28. However, given proper care and a good home, they can live past the ripe old age of 30!

Q. How big are Thoroughbreds?
A. The breed ranges in weight from approximately 800 lbs to 1200 lbs. Horses are measured for height in hands, a hand being equivalent to four inches. Thoroughbreds typically range from 15-17 hands.

Q. Are older horses available?
A. Yes, there are many older horses that are not rideable who need loving, forever homes, too!

Q. What colors are Thoroughbreds?
A. Thoroughbreds come in several different colors and with several different possible markings. They come in bay, chestnut, black, brown and grey. They may have a stripe, blaze, star, snip, socks, stockings or any combination of these.

Q. Are Thoroughbreds good “kid” or beginner horses?
A. They can be. Like other breeds, horses are individuals and have different dispositions.

Q. Why are some of the adoption fees higher than other rescues?
A. Adoption fees often reflect the amount of training and work that has been put into a horse that appears to be destined to be a performance or show horse. Remember, the adoption fees also allow rescue organizations to bring in and retrain more horses.

Q. Can I breed my adopted mare?
A. Generally no, but each organization has specific rules.

Q. Can the organization I adopt from officially transfer ownership to me?
A. Generally no, but each organization has specific rules.

More questions? Contact us!