HHT Policies & How  Adoption and Foster Care Works

The purpose of HHT is to find responsible, loving homes for abused and unwanted horses, and to match loving and caring people with a horse in the need of the same.

This involves a knowledge of both horse(s) to be placed and their perspective adopter(s). It is not a kindness for a horse to be placed into a home where they will fail to receive adequate food, water, shelter, veterinary care when necessary; nor where they will be allowed to be bred to add to the surplus of unwanted and neglected horses.


Adoption Information

HHT adopts to homes in the state of Tennessee only. Out of state adoptions may be considered if we can find the appropriate people to do our facility before and after care checks.

HHT does not adopt to people, allow people to foster, or accept volunteers who own, train or show "padded" horses. See viewpoints below.

HHT does not adopt, or foster out mare's to owners with Stallions. See viewpoints below.

Horse Haven of Tennessee does farm inspections before adoption and follow up visits on all our adopted horses for two years.  After two years, the adopter may be granted legal title, at the discretion of the HHT Adoption Committee, based on the adopter's care of their adopted horse, however, breed registration papers are retained by Horse Haven of Tennessee to help enforce our "No Breeding" policy.


Adoption works in five (5) easy steps…

1) Application must be filled out in full with a processing fee of $25 to help us offset our fuel cost to do facility checks.

2) Application will be reviewed and references checked by the HHT Adoption Committee.

3) You will be contacted within 10 days for a phone interview by a Committee member. The additional information collected at this time will help us in making a good match when adding you to our potential adopter’s list. If there is a specific animal you would like to offer a home to, you can let the Committee member know and arraignments will be made as quickly as possible for you to be introduced to the animal if it is available.

4) After step # 3 is completed a Horse Haven field agent will contact you and make arraignments to check out your facility. Because we are a volunteer organization this may not happen right away. Facility checks depend on the availability of a field agent in your area. The further away from Knoxville you are, the longer it may take.

5) Once a match is found, and everything is finalized, arraignments will be made to deliver the horse to their new home. Usually the adopter provides transportation, but HHT can provide this for a minimal fee to cover our expenses.

To speed up the process it would be helpful if you would enclose pictures of shelter that will be provided, fencing and pasture area and any other animals on the property when you turn in your application.

Foster Care:

Foster care basically works the same way as an adoption except for a few differences. We do not charge a $25 application fee, but we only do facility checks when someone is close by or we are in the area. This can sometimes take an extended time frame to do. Usually horses available for adoption are only fostered close to our main facility in West Knoxville. This allows us to transport them in for our Adoption Day once a month. Most horses in foster care are involved in court proceedings and we have no time frame of how long they will be tied up before they may become available for adoption. Foster Caregivers pick up the daily expense of providing for the animal which includes feed and farrier care. If donated supplies are available they will be contacted on how they can receive some help with their care. In exchange for providing foster care for an animal care givers will have first option to adopt if the animal becomes available through the courts. The length of time care is provided will be taken into consideration when a adoption fee is set. 

Agents of Horse Haven of Tennessee are not horse traders.  We are looking for permanent homes for horses in need. We are not a place to get a “cheap horse” from. Many of the horses we place are not rideable. Some have emotional conflicts that require a lot of patience and love to overcome. All animals are current on their shots and coggins. Some may require special medical treatment for an extended period that would become your responsibility. Taking in a special needs horse can be very time consuming and expensive. Please take this into consideration before making this commitment. There have been very few horses in our placement program that we felt would be safe for small children without further training. For this reason we don’t recommend any of these animals for inexperienced children under the age of 18.

HHT has the following guidelines for placing a horse into a responsible home:

1.) Only horses that are not in need of extensive medical attention will be released for adoption.

2.) Horses will only be adopted to, or with the written consent of, adults of legal age to be used as pleasure horses. No horse will be used on the rodeo circuit or for horse racing.

3.) Because a commitment to responsible horse ownership is a decision no one can make for another, no horse will be released for adoption as a gift for another person.

4.) HHT will inspect the new owners home before the final adoption takes place. This is to insure adequate housing is available. Adequate housing must consist of a barn, run-in, lean to etc., that will provide for protection from the elements, and a place they can be kept up to allow them to become accustom to other horses or for medical treatment. Also inspection of surroundings will also be noted to insure there is no danger from injury due to foreign objects or inadequate fencing.

5.) All male horses must be gelded by a licensed veterinarian before placement or within a time frame made by attending veterinarian. Mares will not be allowed to be bred to further the over population of unwanted horses. If mares come to HHT already pregnant, or become pregnant after adoption, the off spring will become the property of HHT and follow the same strict guidelines. Mares will not be adopted, or fostered out to owners of stallions. If a stallion is found at a later date on the property, HHT reserves the right to have any mare's removed at their own discretion.

6.) Horses will not be adopted out without an up to date Coggins test, shots and health inspection from a certified veterinarian. They will be de-wormed and started on a de-worming program. A trained farrier will inspect their hoofs and proper attention will be given as needed. HHT will only adopt out to responsible owners who will keep animals up to date on vaccines and our necessary care.

7.) HHT will track all animals adopted out. They will inspect the care and up keep of each horse through out the year without prior notice. If at such a time a HHT agent feels this animal is not receiving proper care or treatment the adopter will have the option to fix the problem or this horse will be pulled and put back up for adoption.

8.) No horse will be allowed to be sold, traded, or disposed of in any fashion during the first two (2) years after adoption without written consent from HHT. After the first two (2) years only animals that have received a clear title from HHT will be allowed to change owners. Horses must remain within the continental United States and HHT must be notified of any change of address for more then 30 days.

9.)  Adopters who receive a “Title of Ownership” are not allowed to dispose of any animal through public auction or slaughter, and a agreement stating such must be signed.

10.) HHT will charge a minimum fee of $50.00, and a maximum $1,000 adoption fee for all horses. HHT has the right to waive or lower this fee at their discretion. There will be no fee to foster a horse until placement.

11.) If space is available HHT may take in horses from owners who relinquish ownership, but they must show a current (within 6 mos.) Coggins test that reads negative, have an up to date shot history and the horse must be in good health. A $250 donation will also be required to help care for the animal while an adopter is found.

12.) HHT reserves the right to refuse adoption to any person unable or unwilling to comply with these guidelines.


General Viewpoints of HHT


Horse Haven of Tennessee is aware that horses are being over bred to come up with the best racing stock. Due to this, and the fact that people are not taking on the responsibility of horse ownership as a life long commitment, to many horses are being sent to slaughter houses. They are being destroyed often by inadequate and misused methods of euthanasia.

It is, therefore, the policy of Horse Haven of Tennessee to not allow breeding using an adoptive animal without written consent first from HHT. All male horses must be gelded and all mares must be kept from being around any stallion. If a mare should become pregnant, the offspring will become the property of HHT and will become part of the program.


HHT considers yearly health checks and regular vaccinations a must in providing proper medical health care maintenance. Rabies shots should be included in these. A Coggins test should be pulled annually or if transfer of ownership takes place. A qualified veterinarian or their technician must do these. Horses must receive regular hoof maintenance from a farrier or qualified person.



The Tennessee Walking Horse is the Official State Horse of Tennessee. Instead of trying to protect this magnificent animal from undue torture and pain, the public applauds these squatting, high stepping techniques inflicted on these horses in the show ring. The Tennessee Walking Horse is a naturally smooth gaited ride. Some trainers use all sorts of artificial means to reach that ultimate gait. HHT educates the public on the cruel training practice called "soring". Even with the federal laws that have outlawed these practices, they still exist today.



There are two generally accepted ways to euthanize a horse. Hire a veterinarian to come sedate the horse, then inject it with an overdose of tranquilizer. It is relatively quick, painless, and "clean."  This service can cost between $100-400 depending on the vet and if they dispose of the body or not. Disposal can be a problem if you are unable to bury the animal onsite. The cost at the UT Vet school runs $250 and up for a horse to be put down and they dispose of the body. Horse Haven of Tennessee offers the transport for free (if within 30 miles of Knoxville) if an owner needs this service done, and is unable to find means to transport the animal themselves. We prefer people to choose this method over just allowing an animal to die of starvation due to a medical condition or old age. 

The other option is cheaper but we would prefer owners only use this as a last ditch effort or in the event of an emergency that has left the animal suffering. This would be a shot to the head.  Death is instantaneous and thus, painless, with almost no chance of the procedure getting "dragged out."   The problem here though is they must make sure the shot is correct and on target.
The correct site for the head on approach is the intersection of lines drawn form the base of the ear to the center of the orbit of the opposite eye The firearm should be aimed so that the projectile enters the brain.No matter the procedure, the most important thing to remember is that when we agree to accept one of these awesome creatures into our lives, we agree to take on the responsibility of making that critical choice; when to end our friend's life with dignity, and not let the horse suffer.



Horse Haven of Tennessee does not approve or disapprove of sports where horses are being used for competition. HHT does, however, oppose any activity where the horse receives any type of torment, harassment, pain, injury, undue stress or death. We denounce the use of any device such as electric prods, sharpened sticks, spurs, flank straps and other tack, which would cause a horse to react violently. We find these abuses cannot be justified.

HHT feels it is, therefore, our policy to educate the public about humane treatment of all horses.


It is the policy of Horse Haven of Tennessee to be opposed to the slaughter of horses for human consumption. We do not eat dogs or cats in the United States. This is an unacceptable practice in our culture. This being so, HHT does not agree with the senseless and cruel act of downing horses by inhumane means to be packaged and sent overseas for human consumption.

Concerning regular rendering plants, HHT contends that this means of horse disposal are sometimes the only option available. But HHT feels the slaughter method of killing a horses with a nail gun, shackling a chain around one or both of its hind legs and hoisting the horse from the floor, head down and by power machinery, dislocates leg joints, tears tendons and muscles, ruptures blood vessels, and cause great agony to the horse who is not "always" dead yet, is not an acceptable practice.

It is, therefore, the policy of HHT to oppose this means of slaughter. With the use of humane restraining pens, HHT acknowledges the humaneness of the severance of the major arteries of the throat by a swift cut with a very sharp knife causing almost instantaneous loss of consciousness.

In an effort to raise awareness of this senseless act, HHT will continue to educate the public of this cruel and inhumane practice.


Horse Haven of Tennessee feels the need for hormone replacement therapy by the use of Premarin is uncalled for in our society. With the advancements in medical science and the making of synthetic drugs, there is no longer a need to this practice. Mares are inhumanly treated and their offspring are also made to suffer. It is the policy of HHT to educate when possible, and arouse public awareness to their plight.



© Copyright 2003 - 2008, Horse Haven of Tennessee, Inc.