This Old Horse

This Old Horse

© T. Thomas Photography

By Nancy Turner
Hastings, MN

It is a myth that all unwanted horses are neglected, pitiful, living in hardship circumstances.  Truthfully, an unwanted horse can be any horse of any age with owners of every economic level.

When a horse no longer meets the expectations of its owner—if it jumps too low, runs too slow, ages out or is sidelined from a performance career, can no longer produce offspring–it is vulnerable and at high risk of a grisly fate.

That’s our horse.  At This Old Horse, we honor and revere the horse that has faithfully served but is no longer wanted.   This Old Horse was founded in 2012 as a retirement program for performance and service horses 15 years and older.

Our focus on rehab, nutrition and management of chronic conditions led us to adding a rescue program in 2013.   And in 2017, we started This Little Horse to serve miniature horses and an equine therapy program.

We are a volunteer-based organization funded by private donations and have welcomed more than 2000 volunteers since we started. We have helped more than 350 horses of more than 30 different breeds in everything from sanctuary for wild Mustang stallions to retraining and rehoming off track racehorses.   Our main base of operation is in the greater Minneapolis/ St. Paul metro area.  In addition to our main facility and our sanctuaries, we have dozens of hosts in our foster network in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

We achieved accreditation by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries in 2016.

Before and after of one of our rescues, Denali, a neglected off track Thoroughbred

When resources are limited, times are tough, we are challenged as to why we devote our time and mission to horses that have no ‘purpose’.  What good is a horse that can’t be ridden?   What does that horse have to offer?  Well, we help these horses and other vulnerable, special needs horses because WE have a great deal to offer, not because they do.

Maybe there is nothing more hopeful, more thrilling than being responsible for a change in fortune for an unwanted horse.    Invariably we are the beneficiary, not them.

Casanova, a blind Gila wild mustang stallion

We ask our community to support our mission and we ask our horses to support the community right back.  Our volunteers and donors join our cause because the best gift they have ever opened is their hearts.  Most of our volunteers have had no previous horse experience at all.   And we assure them that the horses will teach them everything they need to know.  The horse will get you ‘home.’

“A good man will take care of his horses and dogs not only while they are young but also when they are old and past service.” – Plutarch, 100 A.D.

Learn more about This Old Horse

This Old Horse, Inc.
phone: 651-437-1889 | website: | email:
19025 Coates Blvd., Hastings, MN 55033

This article was originally featured in the December 2019 issue of Sport and Trail Magazine. 
View it online > or purchase a hard copy of this issue for $11.79

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