Wisconsin Horse Rescues

The rescues below are by far the best in Wisconsin, and North Horse endorses them fully:

Midwest Horse Welfare Pittsville, WI

Amazing Grace Elkhart, WI

Saint Francis Rosholt, WI

Dane County Humane Society Madison, WI
(mostly dogs and cats but often has a few equines)

The other rescues listed below are "buyer beware," or "donor beware." 
They may be wonderful rescues...or not. I just don't know.
For tips on how to make sure a rescue is a good one, scroll to the bottom.

Cool Breeze Helping Hands West Bend, WI

Racer Placers Belleville, WI

Heartland Farm Animal Sanctuary Verona, WI

Holyland Donkey Haven Mt. Calvary, WI

ASAP De Soto, WI  (may not be financially solvent-- better to adopt than donate?)

Luvs Morgan Horse Rescue  LaValle, WI
WI Equine Rescue & Youth Ranch  Polk County, WI

Dr. Laura's Horse Rescue  Deerfield, WI (closing down, needs to rehome all remaining horses)

Ivelolharele  Retirement home only, Chilton, WI (Warning: horses allowed to run free next to roads!)

Spirit Horse  Janesville, WI (WARNING: very questionable practices, more info here)

Second Chance Horse Rescue Ranch (closing down but offers some help) Barneveld, WI
(608) 795-4668

Firefly Acres Oneida, WI

Rolling Rock Rescue Hagar, WI (currently closed for indeterminate amount of time, rescue is moving)

Beyond the Fence Line  Redgranite, WI

Appleton Animal Adoptions Appleton, WI   (Mostly dogs, some horses, possibly a sketchy place)

Refuge Farms Spring Valley, WI

Telford Rescue Horses Lena, WI  (Looks mostly like a breeder. Warning: music on website)

Sun'reh Ranch, Hazelhurst, WI   Renee & Scott Krosschell

Anderson's Home for Horses  N 516 Chilson Rd Walworth, WI. No website, just a Facebook page. 262-736-1320

Cattle Rescue Inc (also takes on horses) Gleason, WI  (facebook page only)
wicattlerescue@yahoo.com   715-218-7478
Bill Blemke      

W3883 Nelson Ave
Irma, WI 54442


Be sure to carefully check a horse rescue for good vet care, financial soundness, responsible adoptions and safe farm conditions. Major warning signs of a bad rescue are having un-gelded studs on the property, horses that have remained unhandled/not able to lead, and constant panicking over having no hay or no money for the vet and other basic necessities. Use Wisconsin Circuit Court Access to look at the public criminal records of anyone involved with the rescue.

Do you know of a Wisconsin horse rescue that should be added to this list?
Email northhorseblog@gmail.com


  1. Did you see on Spirit Horse, they have had some of those mini's/donkeys since 2008 and are still working on "accepting of human contact so they can be gelded"? (personally I'd catch their ass, and then work on getting them to like me, after the danglers are gone :) The large rescue came from my neighborhood, and unfortunatly they were the only local place that would take on 20+ animals on short notice - all but a few are still at the rescue, and mostly unhandled. Personally I wouldn't donate a penny to their cause

  2. Hey everyone! I am currently a high school junior looking to volunteer in horse rescues. However I have had trouble finding one near me. I live near Janesville, so the only one within driving distance is Spirit Horse. Unfortunately I did not feel that their practices were entirely humane and correct, and my suspicions were confirmed when I visited this website. I plan on becoming a vet, and since vet school is hard to get into without volunteer time I thought this would be a good idea but I have not been able to find a place near me yet. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi there! I'm really glad you want to volunteer, and I'm extra glad you're doing your research. Unfortunately, there aren't any horse rescues near you. However, 3 Gaits is an equine therapy organization in Stoughton, WI, about 30-40 minutes away from you. They help disabled adults and children. While they do charge some fees to students, they are a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, and they offer financial assistance to those in need. When they are able, they take in unwanted horses for their program. They LOVE volunteers. I have not visited, but I've heard great things about them, and they have a long history of helping people. Check them out at http://www.3gaits.org/volunteer.htm.

      You might also consider working with your school's FFA chapter or another student organization to start your own volunteering program. You could bring animals to nursing homes and hospitals for therapy, talk to school children about basic animal issues (spaying, neutering, ask before petting an animal, adopting instead of buying from a pet shop, etc).

      Finally, you might consider volunteering at one of those farther-away horse rescues for an overnight trip twice a month. If you were able to put in 12 hours for those two weekends, it would work out to about the same as volunteering for an hour 5 days a week at a local place. Contact them-- it never hurts to ask! Mary at Saint Francis is incredibly nice and may even lend you her couch for the weekend.

      Good luck and thank you for caring!

    2. I am speaking on the behalf of the American Standardbred Adoption Program. Like all horse rescues, they are constantly searching for donations and funds. They do benefit from funding fro the race industry from time to time, which helps.

      This is a very large adoption program, with well over 1,000 animals adopted out to homes or foster homes. The majority of these are Standardbred, ex-harness racers, in which the race owners do not want them to go to slaughter or become Amish horses. Horses who come into the program were to slow to win, or had an injury most often.

      With the huge size that it is, I think Susan and her staff do a fine job. Re-adoption of hard to place animals can be difficult, as the main farm does no have unlimited space, but over all they do pretty well. We have 4 standardbreds and 1 quarter horse from that program here, and one standardbred I put back into the program for adoption last week found a new home immediately with a qualified adopter. Yearly vet checks, immunizations etc are required. For the most part, the horse remains part of the program for life.

      In short, there is no reason for this fine adoption group to be on the "bad" list, and they are as financially solvent as any other rescue- all of which hang on the threads of donors. They should be added to to the top of the "good list" as is befitting the excellent rescue/ adoption program, they are.

      Oh- there is a political issue between ASAP and Midwest Horse by Pittsville- as Midwest management was an ASAP break-away. Not a good source of information if that is where it came from.

      Thanks, Trudy, Baraboo, WI

    3. As a past adopter from ASAP and previously involved with the program (so many people are "previously" involved), I can say that their practices are not what any horse adoption program should be. Sending out horses to literally anyone who will take them, in barbed wire or not. They have foster horses all over the place and so many of those fosters wind up needing to be rescued themselves when these foster homes can't properly care for them and ASAP is unable to take them back. I currently have a horse I've been trying to give back to ASAP for the past 5 years with no success. Best advice I could give to anyone wanting to be involved with ASAP is to run the other direction.

  3. i have worked with beyond the fenceline rescue and they do a really good job on the adoption part. making sure its a good fit and keeping tabs on the horses post adoption.

  4. Hi everyone! I was referred to this website by one of my clients and thought it would be a good opportunity to offer my services to the Rescues of WI. I am an Equine Dental Technician looking to assist Horse Rescues and their horses' teeth. I am willing to work out great deals in order to service the rescue horses of WI - and in hopes of helping them find homes as happy, healthy horses. I know dental care can get expensive. My email is davidsonequinedentistry@outlook.com.

  5. We do have a couch (and also a little apartment)available in our lower level for volunteers who might want to spend the weekend. e mail me at St. Francis Horse Rescue: horserescue.org@gmail.com Thanks Laura!!

  6. I would be very cautious about Iveloharele. Too many things locally being chalked up to gossip, but then I realized it wasn't just gossip. Thin horses being kept in inappropriate conditions. I think the heart is in the right place, just poorly executed.

    And what's with randomly letting horses out to graze next to the road?


    1. Holy crap!! They do this regularly?! Thanks for the heads up!

  7. Iveloharele is a complete piece of crap "organization", nothing but a scam and some of the most dishonest people you'd ever not want to meet. Many reports of horses extremely thin and not well cared for...well documented with photos and testimony from past boarders and past horse donors. Donors have removed their horses from "retirement" there because of the complete lack of care, and have been threatened with lawsuits from Iveloharele when trying to speak out about it. Beware. This is actually an organization that should be shut down.

  8. Just wanted to share another rescue. I don't know the ins and outs, but I know someone who adopted a horse and it was a good match.


  9. I see above that you have Amazing Grace Equine Sanctuary listed as questionable. I am personally heavily involved in the daily operations and I can assure you we are legit. We are GFAS verified, and regularly receive funding from ASPCA, EQUUS Foundation, and Thoroughbred Charities to name a few. We have rescued and successfully placed over 50 horses since 2008. If you have any questions about our operations, please contact us at agesoffice@gmail.com

  10. Why do some of these so called shelters breed horses and think that is just fine, seems like using tax payer money to support their own horses. Couldn't sell a horse for a few hundred dollars (well trained and healthy) but adoption prices are up more than good horses once were, doesn't make much sense. All studs on any "rescue" should be gelded.

  11. Don't be fooled by Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation. They are horse dealers disguised as a horse rescue. They use scare tactics to get inexperienced horse owners to donate horses to them. They'll tell them, "Donate your horse to us otherwise it will be slaughtered". Then they turn around and sell the horse for $400-$600 although they call this an adoption fee. Typically slaughter horses are horses that are in good condition with lots of meat on them but can't be ridden, usually because they're not trained. Nearly all the horses that MHWF excepts are trained....some of them very well trained and not at all vulnerable to being slaughtered. They do take in a few rescues each year to keep up appearances but very few. Of the 70 or so horses that go through MHWF each year only 3-4 are what you could call genuine rescues.

  12. MHWF is an amazing organization. Don't listen to what "Anonymous" has to say. I'm guessing they may be a previous adopter who potentially had a bad experience. I know the directors of the organization seeing as I adopted my very first horse from there. They told me outright that he was green and needed work. He came in great condition, just with some cosmetic cracks on his feet that they had checked by the vet and farrier as soon as he came in. He is the best horse I have ever ridden. 99% of the people there are EXTREMELY happy with their horses. They are NOTHING of the sort of people that I'm-to-scared-to-say-who-I-am Anonymous is saying. They are most definitely NOT horse dealers as their horses will stay with them forever if need be. And yes, many of their horses are in amazing condition, because unlike most rescues that just get emaciated horses, they take owner donated horses. A rescue can be a place where horses go when their people want them to find good homes, not just for horses that need to go there. They take on any horse the Sheriff department asks them to. I don't remember the last time they got a horse from an auction house...most are owner donated like I said before or from neglect situations. They most definitely do not scare anyone. They tell it how it is...this horse is green, this one needs work on this, this one can only be ridden for this long, etc. They certainly don't say donate or they'll die...that's just ludacris!

    I will definitely get my next horse from MHWF as well. I know I'm getting a quality animal that is healthy. And the 100's of people that have gotten horses from them (I know about 50) are just as happy as I am!

    1. I have never adopted a horse from MHWF nor have I ever had a bad experience with them. I'm merely stating an observation based on 62 years of having and being involved with horses. MHWF is primarily a surrender and sell operation. Others do this without the fanfare and without coming on like every horse they deal with is being saved from slaughter. I'm glad you're happy with the horse you got from them. Nearly all the horses that go through MHWF are good horses so people should be happy with them. But here's my point. That horse was surrendered to them. It was probably adopted within a month or two. The adoption fee is typically $500 give or take. The horse ate donated hay. So they made $500 on the horse. I would say they are more dealers than people who save distressed horses.

    2. On the issue of posting as "Anonymous". 90% of the posts on these types of forums will be posted by "Anonymous" or somebody using a user name. Rarely does someone give their actual full name. Animal rescue/welfare and in the case of horses slaughter are very emotional issues for some people and they can get very upset when someone doesn't share their views. A "very few" will even get threatening and violent. I don't need or want to deal with that.

  13. My horse was there for over a year, after the original adopter returned him with some issues. No one wants a "green" pigeon-toed small paint, registered or not...except me. I don't see the problem with having horses surrendered. Better than abandonment IMO. And they NEVER say that every horse they have is being saved from slaughter. They say that their foundation is an alternative to sending your horse to the market, but they do NOT say slaughter. This market is the sale market, period. They ensure good homes by making adopters sign contract in which the Foundation holds ownership for 5 years. If you do not care for your animal properly, they have the right to take them back. And, if you look at some other rescues, they sell (adopt out) their animals for over $800, many times the horses have navicular or cancer! If MHWF has horses with those problems, they are free to a good home. My guy was $300. Most of their hay is donated, but so what? They are a non-profit! It has to be to help them continue to support the horses with vet bills and farrier.

    Remember, their name is the Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc. They don't state rescue in their name, even though that's how many refer to them. They are a sanctuary that cares for the welfare of the horse and making sure that donated horses find great homes.

  14. Hi, I have to comment on the Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation also. I am a horse rescuer wannabe since I can remember. I am married to a very practical husband and also have a young, active family that prevents me from being personally involved in horse rescue so I frequent Wisconsin horse rescue sites and "live" thru them. I found out about MHWF over 10 years ago, when a friend of mine donated a horse and told me about them. I have followed them online ever since. There are several great horse rescues out there in Wisconsin but I have to say Midwest has probably the widest network of supporters and the most wide known and respected reputation in this state. They have been around a long time and have really built up a solid foundation. This last summer I was able to meet both Scott and Karen personally and they are good, honest, down to earth people. They are truly in it for the horses. I know people who have both donated and adopted horses thru their program and all have had good results and good things to say. Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation did start out as a horse rescue that evolved into a sort of animal shelter for horses. If you go on their website and read their mission it says right out that they are a charity and non profit organization dedicated to finding homes for horses who would otherwise have a hard time finding a home. Most of the horses they get in do have a disadvantage in one way or another to finding a good, solid permanent home on the market. Yes, they do get some really nice, sound, well broke horses too that would be worth quite a bit in the horse market and they do not ask what they are worth. They have had horses in that were worth well in to the thousands and I sometimes wish they would ask for more for those horses to recoup some of their costs in running their program but they don't. They ask way way way less than the horse is worth. They have to ask something for the horses in order to recoup tons of hidden costs in running a program like theirs. Both Scott and Karen work full time jobs besides running MHWF, this program is their life, they are not horse dealers and they are not in it to make money. The costs to running a program like they are is huge and they live simply and frugally themselves to put their own time and money into the program. I would and do recommend MHWF to people looking to find their horse a good home or in search of a horse. They have a "gift" for matching the right horse to the right person and if you go on their discussion forum and read some of the stories of people who have adopted, you will see for yourself. I am continuously amazed at the horses that find good, solid homes thru their organization and the happy endings. And when life circumstances change or the adoption doesn't work out, the horse comes back into the program. It is safety and security for the horse and peace of mind for the donor. That is where my horses are going if I am ever in a situation that I need to get rid of them. A personal friend of mine donated 3 very hard to place horses with them that she had a hard time finding homes for herself and ended up getting back 2 separate times. They have all 3 found great homes thru Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation and she gets updates and pictures on them from their owners posting on the forum. You can't ask for better than that.
    I totally trust and support Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation and I believe in what they are doing. And so do tons of other people. If they were horse dealers and dishonest, there is no way they would have built up the solid, respected organization they have and gained the wide network of supporters they have and lasted all these years. They are for the horses.


  15. I drove 6 hours, one way, to MHWF to ensure that my daughter's pony would be safe when she outgrew her. Donating a horse to MHWF ensures that they have a "safety net" so to speak. Scott and Karen will ensure that your horse finds the best possible home and the best part is you will ALWAYS be able to find out where he is. AND if he should ever need to come back to MHWF, they will see to it that he does !!
    Case in point: Bailey.

    On the other side of the coin, while at MHWF to donate our pony, we found and adopted my daughter's new partner, Mae. She is a 23 year old mare who is loving her new job teaching my daughter to ride a "big" horse.
    Donating to and adopting from MHWF has been, and continues to be, one of the best decisions I have ever made!! I would do it all again in a heartbeat!!

    Here is a quote just from today about a person's experience with Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation.

  16. Here is another quote from a person who donated her horse to Midwest just this weekend because she couldn't keep her anymore

    I donated Hershey. I am so glad Scott said I could donate her to Midwest. I couldn't have let her go anywhere else and felt safe about it. Thank you Scott.

  17. Firefly Acres Horse Farm is a great place. There are 9 horses in great condition. There are no studs on the property; all the horses are geldings or mares.