Michigan Horse Council

Promoting and Protecting the Horse Industry Since 1973

Unwanted Horse Help

There are many circumstances in which a horse may become unwanted or unable to be taken care of financially. Here is some information and places to look for help.

The Unwanted Horse Coalition
The mission of the Unwanted Horse Coalition is to reduce the number of unwanted horses and to improve their welfare through education and the efforts of organizations committed to the health, safety, and responsible care and disposition of these horses.  Visit their site –
Unwanted Horse Coalition.

The vast majority of horse owners breed, use and care for their horses responsibly, whether they own them for showing, racing, recreation or other purposes. But in today’s economic climate, an increasing number of Michigan’s 155,000 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules can no longer be cared for. Their owners simply cannot afford to feed them. Some try to donate their animals but, in desperation, may leave them to fend for themselves as a last resort. It’s a nationwide problem.

There is no “one size fits all” solution for every animal and owner. The nationwide Unwanted Horse Coalition was formed to determine the scope of the problem and develop solutions.

In Michigan, equine industry representatives have discussed options for caring for animals and gathered educational resources for distressed owners. They developed this web page to provide information to help Michigan equine owners get through their economic challenges.

Options are listed below, in alphabetical order, with no one option taking preference over another. Check this page often for updates.

Body Condition Scoring
How to Body Condition Score Horses

Lesson on how to rate the physical condition of horses

County-Based Humane Organizations
Cheboygan County Humane Society
1536 Hackleburg Road
Cheboygan, MI 49721-9121
(231) 238-8221

Disposal Issues
The “
Bodies of Dead Animals” rules allow for on-farm composting of dead animals and animal tissue within a structure, in open piles, windrows and contained vessels. These alternatives help producers who don’t have access to rendering services, licensed landfills that accept dead animals, or appropriate soil types for proper burial.

Donation Opportunities
Donate My Horse 

Hay Resources 
Michigan Hay Listing Network
Find hay for sale in Michigan

Rescue Organizations
Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses

Horses’ Haven
For horses, ponies, donkeys and other large animals
(517) 548-4880

State Agencies
Michigan Farm Bureau

The Michigan Department of Agriculture‘s Animal Industry Division

The Animal Industry Division (AID) protects the health of people and domestic animals, livestock and pets. The state veterinarian manages programs in livestock and poultry disease and substances that are toxic to animals. The division works to wipe out animal disease, which helps in importing and exporting healthy livestock. These programs protect the food supply, which makes a major difference in human health and welfare. Some of the diseases that threaten Michigan livestock are tuberculosis (TB), eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), equine infectious anemia (EIA), pseudorabies, rabies and various toxicities.

Animal Welfare AID monitors the health and care of animals at licensed facilities including pet shops, animal control and protection shelters, and riding stables. AID works with local law-enforcement and animal-welfare agencies to investigate complaints of inhumane treatment of livestock and domestic animals.

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Michigan Horse Council

Upcoming Events

7:00 pm Michigan Horse Council Meeting @ MSU Livestock Pavilion, East Lansing
Michigan Horse Council Meeting @ MSU Livestock Pavilion, East Lansing
Apr 3 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
MHC Annual Meeting and Elections.
9:00 am Norma Agnew Memorial 4-H Hairy H... @ MSU Pavilion for Livestock and Agriculture Education
Norma Agnew Memorial 4-H Hairy H... @ MSU Pavilion for Livestock and Agriculture Education
Apr 14 @ 9:00 am
A warm-up clinic/horse show. No placings or ribbons will be offered, instead the judges will wear microphones and provide feedback to each exhibitor. In order to show, you must have a stall. Stalls are limited and sell out quickly. If you aren't showing, you are...
7:00 pm Michigan Horse Council Meeting @ MSU Livestock Pavilion, East Lansing
Michigan Horse Council Meeting @ MSU Livestock Pavilion, East Lansing
May 1 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
MHC Board Meeting. Open to all members and guests.

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