MidAtlantic Horse Rescue

Founded in 2002, MidAtlantic Horse Rescue has helped place more than 2,000 horses. Credit: Rough Coat Photography


Services: Sanctuary, Rehabilitation, Retraining/Adoption

Location: Chesapeake City, MD

Founded: 2002

Website: midatlantichorserescue.org

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Average Number of Thoroughbreds: 120



“These horses are so intelligent and intuitive; they have so much to offer in second careers. It is the ultimate betrayal if they are thrown away when their racing careers are over.”

This comes from Delaware Park trainer Beverly Strauss, who in 2002 co-founded MidAtlantic Horse Rescue (MAHR) with fellow horsewoman Virginia Suarez Cole in response to the concern of slaughter. The pair had saved at-risk Thoroughbreds on their own for years and then set up MAHR in an effort to do even more.

Launched initially with three rescued off-the-track Thoroughbreds and a rented five-acre field, the program today hosts more than 45 horses at its main 158-acre farm in the hills of eastern Maryland, plus four satellite farms in Maryland, South Carolina, and Delaware.

This growth has been made possible by the support of TAA and other groups in the racing industry and has been spurred by MAHR’s stellar reputation and successful retraining and adoption program. The horses are in different stages of rehab and retraining, and available horses can be seen and tried by appointment.

Since its inception, MAHR has helped save, transition, and place more than 2,500 former racehorses of all ages and abilities. In addition to purchasing Thoroughbreds from auctions and feed lots, MAHR also transitions horses off the track, working closely with Maryland’s Beyond the Wire program and handling aftercare at Delaware Park in partnership with the track, owners, trainers, and CANTER Delaware.

Horses are rehabbed as needed and all necessary veterinary, farrier, and dental work is provided. Horses are evaluated under saddle and schooled until adopted out as sport or pleasure horses. MAHR also has horses available as pasture pets and companions.

Adoption fees are well below market value, up to approximately $2,500 for a sound horse with no restrictions, and ownership is transferred upon adoption. Safety and suitability are of the utmost importance when matching horses and adopters. Adopters have ranged in age from 9 to 70 and have included beginners and amateurs as well as top professionals.

MAHR was one of a few programs to be selected to participate in the initial $1 million ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative and has received annual support since. In addition, MAHR has received support from Thoroughbred Charities of America every year since 2002.

Tax-deductible donations of any amount are greatly appreciated, while tack, equipment, office supplies, and gift cards are always on the wish list. Visitors are welcome by appointment to tour the farm and meet the horses.

Success Stories from MidAtlantic Horse Rescue

Bonaparte Jr – After 16 starts, the son of Cactus Ridge retired with a record of 2-2-3 and earning of $17,190. Lynne Pennypacker knew after their first encounter that she wanted to adopt him. Read more


Tricky G under saddle with Kayla Covolesky

Tricky G – He made all 20 of his career starts in Louisiana and retired with a record of 3-3-3. In 2015 the son of Lunarpal was swiftly rescued from a Louisiana kill pen by MidAtlantic Horse Rescue. Read more



Odlum – He was a true warhorse, making the majority of his 62 starts in eight seasons in the claiming ranks. The Florida-bred son of Concerto racked up more than $150,000 in earnings. Read more


Sawdust & adopter Al Gillen

Sawdust – After 43 starts, he retired with a record of 6-7-8 and earnings of nearly $95,000. Upon being shown to Al Gillen’s daughters, Sawdust instantly stole the show. Read more


Pardner and Wire Me Rockin

Pardner and Wire Me Rockin – Two OTTBs who faced challenges before being assisted by MidAtlantic Horse Rescue and Akindale Horse Rescue but are now living the good life. Read more


Pallium Prize

Pallium Prize – He racked up more than $114,000 before retiring and caught the eye of an adopter looking for a quiet pleasuring riding horse. Read more



Alarming – Born with the makings of a great racehorse, by Unbridled’s Song and out of a stakes-placed daughter of Malibu Moon, life on the track wasn’t for him and he retired with a 29-3-4-3 record. Read more


Mobil Night at MidAtlantic Horse Rescue Show

Mobil Night – He only visited the winner’s circle once, but now he’s now racking up ribbons in the show ring. Read more



Onlythewinetalking – He made his way to MidAtlantic Horse Rescue as an unraced 5-year-old. Read more


Kevin'sgotaprize and Sally Shirley on the hunt

Kevin’sgotaprize – He ran six times at Charles Town, never breaking his maiden, but is now fox hunting. Read more


zenna midatlantic horse rescue

Zenna – She made 10 starts and found the winner’s circle once, but the daughter of Majesticperfection is finding her calling in the show ring. Read more


ponzi scheme

Ponzi Scheme – Racing through eight seasons with 61 starts, he now excels at being an all-around horse for his adopter. Read more


summit county

Summit County – The moment Brianna DiRocco-Toy put her leg over the son of Any Given Saturday, she knew this was her horse. Read more


Caren and Mio

Great Norton – Maryland-bred son of Great Notion retired from racing with a 1-1-4 record in 24 starts all at Charles Town, accumulating $42,116 in earnings. Read more



trust you

Trust You – The daughter of Valid Wager raced eight times at Penn National, winning once, before she retired. Read more


Be Back’s Comeback Story – After retiring to MidAtlantic Horse Rescue in 2019, Be Back was on his journey to find a forever home! Read more


A Tale of Three Brothers: Ca$h, Nik, and Disco – In January 2022, Nina Shaffer experienced the loss of her dearest friend, Rosstar Superboy, a 32-year-old purebred Arabian gelding. Read More