The Top 4 Horse Rescues in Maine! (2024)


Horses are some of the most majestic creatures on our beautiful planet and have been friends with humans for thousands of years.

They’ve been a large part of our history, assisting us with things like transportation, pulling carts, riding to battle, and learning tricks and stunts for shows. 

Unfortunately, many people do not understand the value of horses in our time, nor the responsibility undertaken by owning one.

All across the nation, horses are being starved, beaten, neglected, and sent to slaughterhouses. This is where horse rescues come into play. 

Horse rescues are unlike any other animal rescue due to the amount of money, time, and work required to run. Horses are large, emotional creatures that require massive amounts of food, care, and training.

In situations where a horse has been neglected or abused, it is often challenging for them to learn to trust humans again. 

Other articles you would like: Best Horse Rescues in the USA.

What To Know Before Rescuing a Horse


Adopting a rescue horse is much different than purchasing a healthy, well-trained horse. Trauma from its previous owner may result in the horse being difficult to handle or life-long health issues.

While every situation is different, the horses surrendered to a horse rescue often will not come with much history, so their age, health, and temperament may be a mystery. 

A horse rescued from a bad situation often needs extra love and care. They need your time, energy, and patience and can be expensive.

It is common for rescues to see starvation and emaciation, and these horses can still need some rehabilitation by the time they are adopted. 

This can be a slow, trying process that may require veterinary aid. In winter, horses can go through up to 400 bales of hay, so being prepared is critical.

When adopting horses from a horse rescue, you make a lifelong commitment that you should not take lightly.

It is often a lengthy process, as horse sanctuaries want to ensure the horses they have taken in are placed in knowledgeable, loving forever homes. 

Common Reasons Horses Need Rescuing 


Bred for show, racing, and rodeos, horses are often overbred to create the “perfect” horse.

There are nearly 10 million horses in the US alone, and thanks to overbreeding, that number continues to grow. Any horses that are not up to par, are too old, get injured, or have health issues, are often cast aside and sold.

If they are lucky, these horses may go to a horse rescue. Those that don’t often meet a tragic end at slaughterhouses in foreign countries. 

Horses bred for pleasure, such as riding or farm stock, can just as easily meet the same fate. Perhaps a little girl that went through her horse phase has lost interest.

Maybe a family is scrambling to make ends meet, and the horse isn’t the priority. Sadly, horses worldwide suffer from neglect and abuse when they deserve so much more. 

Top 4 Horse Rescues in Maine


Here are the best rescues available in Maine for horse adoption.

1. Rockin’ T Equine Sanctuary and Rescue


Rockin’ T Equine is a family-run non-profit owned by Janet Tuttle and her husband, Andrew.

Though the sanctuary was founded in 1993, Janet has worked with horses her entire life and professionally for over 50 years. Before starting her rescue, she worked with racehorses and even bred standard-bred horses for a time. 

When the racetrack Janet worked at in Lewiston, Maine, closed down, she saw firsthand the heartbreaking truth behind what happened to unwanted horses.

Regardless of age or sex, many of these horses were sold or shipped off to the slaughter pipeline for auction. Janet decided that if she could help it, no animal would suffer under her watch. 

Using her own 32 acres of property, Janet opened Rockin’ T Equine and began rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming horses.

She saves as many as possible from the slaughter pipeline and takes in retired racehorses and elderly or medically challenging horses. If a horse is very old, Janet will not adopt the horse but instead, provide the love and care it needs until its time is up. 

Janet is assisted in her endeavor by her husband, Andrew, her daughter Tammy, her sister Debra, and a few other volunteers. They currently have 24 horses in their care, including nine mini horses.

There are also eight dogs and a pig on the property. Janet prides herself on never turning away an animal of any kind and never letting them go to a bad home. 

Janet has had over 1000 horses in her care over the last 30 years. She cuts no corners, providing hay, grain, oats, and a high-fat diet for horses that need it.

She never leaves a horse out in inclement weather, instead leaving it up to them whether they want to be in the pasture or the barn. In winter, they eat hay cubes soaked in hot water with molasses to keep them warm. 

Rockin T Equine runs entirely on donations, and they do not require an adoption fee for their horses.

Instead, Janet requires interested parties to fill out a 3-page contract before she will consider rehoming a horse. A vet reference, blacksmith, and two other references must be provided, and Janet will also do a home visit. 

The contract states that mares can not be bred, and none of the horses will be resold or relocated. If a home situation changes, the horse must be returned to the rescue.

Janet prefers to stay in contact with the new owners to ensure the horses receive the proper care. She has no qualms with involving law enforcement and taking back an animal if she believes they are being neglected. 

Rockin’ T Equine Sanctuary and Rescue Details:

2. Bagaduce River Equine Rescue


A non-profit organization founded in 2018, Bagaduce River Equine Rescue is dedicated to helping horses and donkeys who have been neglected or abused and preventing others from falling into the same category. 

Bagaduce is located in Maine but often rescues horses from all over the US. Bagaduce aims to save horses that are at the end of the line.

They intercept at auctions, kill houses, and buy horses before they make it to slaughterhouses on either side of the US border. 

Fighting the battle on two fronts, Bagaduce strives to educate the public on the truth behind the equine industry. They hope that by spreading their knowledge, people may think twice about the placement and treatment of their horses. 

Many, if not all, of the horses at Bagaduce River Equine Rescue have been starved, beaten, or otherwise neglected. Some were quite literally getting ready to be boarded onto meat trucks when they were saved.

The owners at Bagaduce often have to make difficult decisions when rescuing horses from kill pens, having to do what they can for a few horses when dozens need saving. 

Bagaduce River Equine Rescue Details:

3. Double B Equine Rescue


Double B Equine Rescue is the northernmost State licensed rescue in Maine and has been around since 2006.

Run by a former police captain and veteran Linwood Green, along with his wife Brenda, Double B often works with the State’s Animal Welfare Program to take in horses and donkeys who have been abused, neglected, or surrendered due to increasing costs. 

Double B relies entirely on donations, and finances can be tight as the cost of hay and food continue to rise across the country. Support from the local community goes a long way in allowing Linwood to continue his work.

In 2011, a large group of volunteers assisted in replacing the barn roofs to keep the horses safe and healthy. 

Linwood does not claim to be a horse trainer by any means. His only wish is to get these horses healthy and provide them with loving care until they can be placed into forever homes.

When money is tight, Double B will often hold fundraisers, raffles, and races to help raise money for the rescue. They will also host educational tours for schools, 4H clubs, and other groups to help spread awareness.

When animals become healthy enough to be adoptable horses or adoptable donkeys, interested parties must fill out Double B’s five-page contract.

A member of their team will also do a home visit and inspection to ensure the horse is being placed into a loving, knowledgeable home. 

Double B Equine Rescue Details:

4. Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals


The MSSPA was originally founded in 1872 to protect the horses that worked with the Portland fire department and those that pulled street cars.

In 1978, the shelter was relocated from Portland to a 124-acre state-owned farm in Windham. Today, the society offers shelter and veterinary care to dozens of horses on the farm. 

In 2011 the MSSPA launched a volunteer program that now has over 200 members. They rely completely on donations, grants, and fundraisers.

In 2018 a training facility was added in which the MSSPA partners with the Windham Women’s Reentry Center. This partnership allows inmates to work with horses during their incarceration, providing a second chance for both parties. 

MSSPA partners with many other animal welfare groups to share resources and maximize their impact. They also have a Feed and Care Bank to provide emergency supplies to needy horses, such as hay, feed, farrier costs, and veterinary care.

To qualify, horse owners must be Maine residents whose horses are located in Maine and follow the MSSPA policies such as no commercial breeding, selling, or leasing horses. 

Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals Details:

Conclusion For Top 4 Horse Rescues in Maine


Horse rescues are a great way to help out horses undergoing horrific torture. The above horse rescues deserve recognition for their efforts in finding permanent homes for these animals.

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