Equine Rescue of Aiken
Services: Sanctuary, Rehabilitation, Adoption, Equine-Assisted
Location: Aiken, SC
Average Number of Thoroughbreds: 30
Located in the heart of South Carolina’s famed horse county, Equine Rescue of Aiken is a pastoral sanctuary for retired Thoroughbreds and unwanted or neglected horses. Established in 2006, the mostly volunteer-run operation has adopted nearly 1,300 horses, many of them at risk before arriving at the rescue and in need of a new home.
Equine Rescue of Aiken works with racetracks to identify and acquire horses that are no longer competitive, or have sustained career-ending injuries, to repurpose them for second careers in forever homes.
The organization is the largest horse rescue center in the southeastern United States. Its 90 acres include rehab and quarantine paddocks, stalls, and large rolling pastures for the horses to roam. At any given time, the organization is home to 60 to 70 horses of all breeds and backgrounds—from ex-racehorses, former polo ponies, and retired draft plow horses.
About 20 to 30 horses are available for adoption at any given time. Several horses are permanent residents, living out their days roaming the fields and being spoiled by volunteers and visitors. In addition to adoption and rehab, Equine
Rescue of Aiken is a contributing member to its community, hosting several educational workshops, youth group volunteer days, and school visits throughout the year. It is open to the public for tours six days a week, and the organization emphasizes education about horse care and the equine industry.
Uniquely, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit supports the local county Pre-Trial Intervention Program, in which first-time offenders may fulfill required community service hours by working at the facility. The rescue also partners with multiple organizations by hosting equine-assisted programs whose focus is using the therapeutic value of horses to help people with post-traumatic stress and build confidence in its participants.
Equine Rescue has been recognized by the TAA, also is a grant recipient of the Thoroughbred Charities of America, a Platinum Rated Guidestar organization, and a Safe Stall facility for the Humane Society of the United States.
The three staff members and countless volunteers continue to strive to be a top-notch facility and give the horses the best care possible until they find their forever homes.