How to Start a Non-Profit Horse Rescue

By Tammy Dray

If you love and understand horses, starting a rescue organization may seem like the most logical move. There is always a need for places that can help horses and forming a non-profit should not be impossible if you follow some common sense rules.

Look online for examples of what other organizations that rescue horses are doing. The Miracle Horse Rescue Inc. and the Spoiled Acres Rescue Incorporated are two great examples of non-profits who work actively to rescue horses. You can find more names by looking at the list provided at, which is organized by state.

Decide on an angle for your non-profit. If you have acreage available, housing rescued horses may be your first option, but don’t stop there. Some organizations help with temporary housing until the horses can be adopted out, while others provide rehabilitation or a place to live for horses that have been injured or are being retired from racing. Other groups concentrate on investigating cruelty or trying to influence welfare laws.

Team up with experts who understand horse welfare and health. Caring for rescued horses requires medical knowledge that is expensive and specialized. If you are planning on housing rescued animals, you will need to have a doctor on call that can attend to injuries or emergencies either at a highly discounted price or for free.

Find out what the laws and regulations are in your state for starting a 501c(3) non-profit organization. You may also need special permissions if you plan on providing a permanent place for horses to live, such as minimum space requirements, housing space, and other details. You will also need to file a notice with the IRS for tax-exempt status and become incorporated in your state.