Equine Rescue and Adoption Foundation

Retired Thoroughbred Son Son Son with volunteer Robin Doniger engaging in his favorite part of the Begin Again program: toys! Credit: Melissa J. Muller
  • Services

    Rehabilitation, Retraining/Adoption

  • Location

    Palm City, Florida

  • Founded


  • Average Number of Thoroughbreds


The Equine Rescue and Adoption Foundation (ERAF) in Palm City, FL, has been an important resource for aftercare on Florida’s Treasure Coast since 2000.

Our mission is simple: We rescue horses facing an uncertain future through no fault of their own. Some have been neglected, abused or abandoned. Many have arrived after careers on the track or in the arena and are ready for their next chapter. Still, others can simply no longer be cared for by their owners. Our caring staff and dedicated volunteers work to rehabilitate and retrain our horses so they may be placed in suitable adoptive homes. Our adoptees have excelled in show rings, as pleasure horses, trail horses, and beloved companions.

When these horses arrive at our gates, the page turns to their next chapter.

ERAF recognized Equine-Assisted Services (EAS) as a growing field in the horse industry.  Given the burgeoning popularity of EAS, providing a direct link between horse rescue and professionally managed therapeutic barns searching for horses should result in more adoptions of our rescue horses.

With that in mind, ERAF launched a new program called Begin Again. The purpose of Begin Again is to evaluate and train horses to be suitable partners for equine therapy and learning so that they may find meaningful second careers in facilities that provide these and other equine-assisted services.

The pilot program paired seven non-rideable retired Thoroughbreds with a team of volunteers led by a PATH-certified instructor and an equine specialist. Working together, they utilized trust-based training methods in a variety of settings with an emphasis on calm communication on lead and at liberty, building connections, setting and accepting boundaries, and safe partnerships. The horses were also introduced to ground obstacles, toys, and other common tools used in ground-based equine-assisted services. This expanded skillset broadens the adoption prospects for horses, particularly those no longer suitable for riding.

While ERAF is primarily focused on the care, rehabilitation, retraining, and adoption of its equine residents, ERAF also endeavors to provide ongoing equine education, outreach, and training to the community to support its mission.

ERAF is dependent upon grants, individual donors and foundations, fundraising events, and bequests to support its services and programs. In addition to our TAA accreditation, ERAF is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), an ASPCA Right Horse Partner, an EQUUS Guardian, and a GuideStar Gold-rated charity.

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