9 Best Charities That Help Horses (Complete 2021 List)

9 Best Charities That Help Horses (Complete 2021 List)

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Carla Shaik

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The American Horse Council estimates that around 100,000 pet horses are abused or neglected across the country. In addition, horse racing is a $40 billion-a-year industry in the US, but what happens to the horses when their racing careers are over? In 2020, 53,947 horses were shipped across US borders for slaughter; over half of these are believed to be ex-racehorses. Horse charities around the world are working tirelessly to reverse this trend and help people to understand the needs of these incredible animals. So we had to ask: What are the best charities that help horses?

The best charities for protecting horses in terms of overall impact are Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and Thoroughbred Charities Of America. Charities such as SPANA and Brooke do amazing work providing veterinary care for working horses in underdeveloped countries around the world.

Whether you want to protect horses from the terror of slaughterhouses or ensure that every horse is well cared for and understood or you want to make sure that working horses around the world have access to medical care, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that help horses are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Help Horses Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements. They operate all over the world, from North America to Africa, to protect horses from neglect and mistreatment, and to provide sanctuary for unwanted horses.

Many of the charities on this list provide rewarding second careers for retired racehorses that would otherwise be destined for slaughter. Others focus their efforts on educating and training poor communities around the world in proper horse care, to ensure that working horses are given the treatment they deserve. Yet all of them share the same goal – to ensure that these beautiful athletes are treated with compassion, respect, and love.

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Help Horses

Below are our favorite charities that help horses (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation: Funding Equine Research

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation was formed in 1940 by Admiral Grayson to fund research that works to significantly advance horse veterinary treatments. Today, the charity is one of the largest funding organizations for equine research in America.

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation spent 95% of its expenditure on fundraising and program services, with 67% going directly to research institutions. The charity also has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“Horses strive to be our champions… We must ALWAYS be theirs.”

Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation

What they do: The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation funds research projects in universities across North America and overseas that focus on finding scientifically-backed solutions to equine health issues. The charity considers each grant proposal by putting it through a comprehensive evaluation process, alongside veterinarians, to ensure only the best research is funded. 

What they’ve achieved: To date, the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation has provided over $30.6 million to 397 research projects, including 124 infectious disease projects, and 88 musculoskeletal studies. Over the years, the charity has been integral to numerous equine health breakthroughs, including the development of the first Equine Influenza vaccine and a successful diagnosis process for Placentitis in Mares.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by becoming a member of the foundation or you can pay tribute to your favorite horse through their tribute program

Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA): Protecting the Welfare of Thoroughbred Horses 

Thoroughbred Charities of America was founded in 1997 by a small group of thoroughbred owners, led by Herb and Ellen Moelis, to protect the well-being of retired racehorses. Today, the charity provides grants to charitable organizations that work to improve the lives of Thoroughbreds.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Thoroughbred Charities Of America holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has a 94% Encompass rating for Finance & Accountability from Charity Navigator.

“To fund and facilitate the support of Thoroughbreds and the people who care for them.”

Thoroughbred Charities Of America

What they do: Thoroughbred Charities of America distributes annual grants to organizations that provide rehabilitation, repurposing, rehoming, and retirement programs for Thoroughbred horses. They also invest heavily in equine-assisted therapies for disabled individuals that utilize Thoroughbred horses, as well as equine research. Their Horses First Fund was set up in 2016 to assist Thoroughbreds and their caretakers during emergencies such as natural disasters or large-scale neglect issues.

What they’ve achieved: To date, Thoroughbred Charities Of America has provided more than $25 million in grants to over 200 Thoroughbred-related organizations. In 2020, the charity successfully rehomed 1,137 Thoroughbred horses and supported 20,990 farmworkers. Presently, 1,923 Thoroughbred horses reside at the charities supported by Thoroughbred Charities Of America.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Thoroughbred Charities Of America through their website. You can also support the charity by shopping at AmazonSmile or you can take the Horseman’s Pledge if you own a stable, by donating a percentage of your race earnings to the charity. 

Brooke: Action For Working Horses and Donkeys

Brooke was founded in 1934 by Dorothy Brooke. Her passion began in 1930 when she traveled to Cairo to find the surviving ex-war horses that were being sold into a life of hard labor after serving the country. Whilst there, she witnessed hundreds of emaciated animals in desperate need of help. Today, Brooke is the leading global welfare charity for working horses, donkeys, and mules.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Brooke holds the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has an 81% Encompass rating for Finance & Accountability from Charity Navigator.

“To transform the lives of vulnerable working horses, donkeys, and mules around the world.”

Brooke

What they do: Brooke works with communities in the poorest regions that rely on working horses and donkeys to survive. Their welfare assessment techniques teach individuals appropriate horse care, handling, and harnessing, to ensure the equids live long healthy lives and are not overworked. Brooke also works with governments to improve the lives of working livestock, and campaigns to end the demand for donkey skin in China, as well as other exploitative industries.

What they’ve achieved: To date, Brooke has changed the lives of more than 1.5 million working equids across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The charity has also spent £6.8 million improving the lives of over 7,000 of the poorest communities and educating individuals on the needs of their equine companions. In addition, Brooke has spent £4.8 million providing local communities with access to trained animal health professionals, as well as essential equid medicines and vaccines.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Brooke through their website. There are also plenty of ways you can fundraise for the charity. Alternatively, you can purchase a virtual gift of essential equipment, food, or first aid materials through their website.

Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance: Helping Our Equine Athletes

Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance was founded in 2012 and initially funded by Breeder’s Cup Ltd, The Jockey Club, and Keeneland Association, to provide funding and support to aftercare facilities for ex-racing horses. Today, the charity runs an accreditation scheme and provides funding for aftercare facilities in America, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has a 100% Encompass rating for Finance & Accountability from Charity Navigator.

“To accredit, inspect and award grants to approved aftercare organizations to retire, retrain and rehome Thoroughbreds using sustainable industry-wide funding.”

Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance

What they do: Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance inspects and accredits aftercare facilities for thoroughbred horses that are at the end of their racing careers. They do this by regularly monitoring facilities to ensure they adhere to the charities’ rigorous code of standards, and through funding grants. Through the work of Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, many of the ex-racehorses in their care have gone on to become show-ring champions, teaching assistants in animal welfare education programs, and therapy animals.

What they’ve achieved: To date, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance has granted over $20.7 million to accredited aftercare organizations. As a result, they have retrained, rehomed, and provided retirement facilities for 12,900 thoroughbreds. Out of the 81 organizations they have accredited so far, there are now 69 adoption programs, 70 rehabilitation programs, 55 sanctuaries, and 16 equine-assisted programs for thoroughbred horses. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance through their website. There are also plenty of ways you can volunteer for the charity. 

World Horse Welfare: Easing the Suffering of Horses Worldwide 

World Horse Welfare was founded in 1927 by Ada Cole to prevent the export of live British horses for slaughter. Today, the charity is a global organization that campaigns for the protection of owned horses and works to rescue and rehome horses that have previously been living in abusive environments. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, World Horse Welfare spent 71% of its income on maintaining its rehoming centers and running international programs, and 27% on raising funds.

“A world where every horse is treated with respect, compassion, and understanding.”

World Horse Welfare

What they do: World Horse Welfare works to support horses and their owners in 16 countries around the globe, through hands-on care and veterinary treatments, advocacy, education, and research. The charity also runs numerous training programs for vets, animal health workers, and universities to improve the treatment and understanding of these enigmatic animals. In addition, they run various horse care centers in the UK for equids rescued from unsuitable captive environments.   

What they’ve achieved: To date, World Horse Welfare has influenced over 50 pieces of legislation to improve the welfare and care of equids. In 2019, the charity directly assisted 14,931 working equids and 9,497 owners. In the same year, they responded to 21,885 horse welfare concerns which equate to 73,615 horses benefiting from the charity’s expert care advice and veterinary treatments. In 2018, World Horse Welfare managed to rehome 310 horses into new loving homes.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to World Horse Welfare through their website. You can also support the charity by purchasing items from their online shop or by sponsoring a stableyard for neglected horses.

SPANA: Improving The Welfare of Working Animals

SPANA was founded in 1924 by Kate and Nina Hosali after they witnessed the horrific sight of malnourished and weak donkeys, mules, and camels when they visited North Africa. Today, the charity has expanded its reach to protect working animals in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Central, and South America.

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, SPANA spent 65% of its income on charitable activities, and 35% on fundraising and ongoing costs. 

“A world where every working animal lives a life free from suffering and is treated with compassion.”

SPANA

What they do: SPANA works to improve the lives and care of working animals in the poorest communities. They do this by providing free veterinary care to suffering horses, donkeys, and camels. In addition, the charity runs various interactive education programs for local school children to teach them about responsible animal ownership and trains local community members in veterinary procedures and animal welfare practices. 

What they’ve achieved: SPANA treats over 388,000 working animals in need every year and provides free veterinary treatment from over 50 vet facilities worldwide. In 2019, the charity vaccinated 14,823 working animals including horses and donkeys and established 54 veterinary clinics in underdeveloped communities. In the same year, they provided 13,156 pieces of humane equipment to animal owners and trained over 23,600 animal owners in welfare, care, and behavior.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to SPANA through their website. You can also support the charity by becoming a stable sponsor or by setting up your own fundraising event.

EQUUS Foundation: Dedicated to Safeguarding America’s Horses

The EQUUS Foundation was founded by Lynn Coakley in 2002 after owning horses for most of her life. When her daughter left for college, she felt the need to sell her own horses to move on to the next chapter of her life. In the process, she learned that many horses across the US were being regularly exposed to abuse and neglect, so she set up the charity to provide financial support to smaller equine charities. Today, the EQUUS Foundation is the only charity in the US that is 100% dedicated to the protection of the nation’s horses. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The EQUUS Foundation holds the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has a 97% Encompass rating for Finance & Accountability from Charity Navigator.  

“To protect America’s horses and strengthen the bond between horses and people.”

EQUUS Foundation

What they do: The EQUUS Foundation works to protect horses in the US that have suffered from neglect and abuse, as well as those destined for slaughter. They also fund charities that provide Equine Assisted Services who have the capacity to expand their efforts to assist the 61 million people who suffer from disabilities in America. In addition, the charity runs the Equine Welfare Network which connects horse enthusiasts with equine organizations across America to build a support base for equine advocates who are dedicated to promoting change. 

What they’ve achieved: By 2014, the EQUUS Foundation had awarded over $3 million in grants. In 2020, the charity provided over $5000 in grants to 160 charities nationwide, which has resulted in the protection of 5,000 horses. In the same year, the charity also awarded 576 Rider’s Closet Awards which equates to $240,000 of new riding apparel provided to young riders so they can achieve their horse riding dreams. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the EQUUS Foundation through their website. You can also support the charity by purchasing items via AmazonSmile or by attending one of their adoption and awareness events.

American Wild Horse Campaign: Defending America’s Wild Horses

The American Wild Horse Campaign was founded in 2004 by Return To Freedom Wild Horse Conservation, to provide a unified platform to advocate for the protection of America’s wild horses and burros. Today, the American Wild Horse Campaign is the leading voice on the protection of wild mustangs and burros. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: American Wild Horse Campaign holds the Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has an 81% Encompass rating for Finance & Accountability from Charity Navigator.

“Fighting to ensure the future of America’s iconic wild horses and burros and the Western public lands where they roam.”

American Wild Horse Campaign

What they do: The American Wild Horse Campaign advocates for the protection of America’s wild mustangs and burros by working with government agencies and other advocacy groups to prevent the capture and slaughter of these beautiful animals. Their American Wild Horse Conservancy program works to expand wild horse territories by purchasing adjacent land and improving the quality of current wild horse territory. They also conduct humane fertility control treatments on wild horse populations to prevent mass slaughter and to reduce the need for brutal government holding facilities.

What they’ve achieved: To date, the American Wild Horse Campaign has gathered over 662,000 petition signatures to protect the habitat of wild horse populations in America. They have also delivered more than 1,280 humane fertility control treatments to wild mustangs and burros. In 2018, American Wild Horse Campaign secured a major victory for New Mexico’s wild horses by preventing an act that would have allowed the removal and slaughter of all free-roaming horses not protected by Federal Law in the State.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the American Wild Horse Campaign through their website. You can also support the charity by signing a petition to keep America’s wild horses wild, or you can fund the American Wild Horse Campaign by purchasing items from their online shop

Days End Farm Horse Rescue: Providing Sanctuary and Care for Abused Horses

Days End Farm Horse Rescue was founded in 1989 by Kathleen Howe after she met an emaciated Buckskin gelding named Toby. Kathy and her family immediately took action to adopt Toby and continued to rescue other horses in need over the years. Today, Days End Farm Horse Rescue works to educate the public on the needs of horses to prevent neglect, as well as caring for the horses at their sanctuary. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Days End Farm Horse Rescue holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, as well as a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“Ensuring quality care and treatment of horses through intervention, education, and outreach.”

Days End Farm Horse Rescue

What they do: Days End Farm Horse Rescue saves and rehabilitates 150 horses in need every year. After the rehabilitation process, the horses are evaluated and trained to ensure that they are ready for adoption. The charity also acts as an education hub for the public by sharing horse welfare and care resources on its website. In addition, Days End Farm Horse Rescue runs numerous education programs and internships at the sanctuary including their Junior Legacy Camp program which aims to instill a love of horses in young children through volunteering.

What they’ve achieved: To date, Days End Farm Horse Rescue has rescued and rehabilitated 2,600 horses at the sanctuary. In 2020, the charity successfully rehomed 48 horses and rescued a further 103 horses from abuse and neglect. In the same year, they taught 6,500 people in equine care through their education programs.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Days End Farm Horse Rescue through their website. You can also support a horse at the sanctuary by providing monthly financial, grooming, or riding support. Alternatively, you can donate gifts-in-kind to help in the day-to-day running of the sanctuary.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that help horses. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing the progress a charity makes in reaching its targets, the chances are not making positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is just up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to helping horses – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist, and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

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