Donkeys drinking water

Rescue Standards

The Homes for Horses Coalition is dedicated to advancing the highest operating standards for equine rescue and retirement facilities. Our resources are aimed at providing standards and guidance for the development of new rescues and the growth and success of existing operations. 

The Animal Welfare Institute and American Wild Horse Conservation’s Basic Guidelines for Operating an Equine Rescue or Retirement Facility offers practical advice for anyone operating, or interested in starting an equine rescue or retirement facility. Developed on the premise that high-quality equine management need not be restrictively expensive, the guidelines are a valuable management resource for those involved in equine rescue and rehabilitation. By making every effort to adhere to these standards, facilities can enrich their day-to-day operations while demonstrating to the public that the equine rescue community takes very seriously its responsibility to provide quality care to its animals.

The corresponding checklist may act as an operational assessment tool for the suitability of a facility, as well as offering a perspective into opportunities for improvement. This checklist may be used during professional evaluations or during periodic assessments. 

Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries
GFAS provides accreditation for a network of animal sanctuaries and rescues across the world. This organization offers two types of recognition, Accreditation and Verification. GFAS Accreditation demonstrates a high standard of care and organizational professionalism. Accreditation is a great way to get recognition for the excellence of your organization. GFAS can also act as a standard by which organizations can assess their own performance and improve.

More Resources: 

Care Guidelines for Equine Rescue and Retirement Facilities
(The American Association for Equine Practitioners, 2019)

Equine Sanctuary and Rescue Facility Guidelines 
(The Center for Equine Health at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, 2009)

The Ultimate Guide for Horses in Need 
(Stacie Boswell, DVM, DACVS, 2020)

Horse Ownership by the Numbers
(Homes for Horses Coalition, 2023)

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