Unwanted Horse Statistics


The Unwanted Horse

Unwanted horses are defined by the Unwanted Horse Coalition as: "Horses that are No longer wanted by their current owner because they are old, injured, sick, unmanageable, fail to meet their owner's expectations, or the owner is no longer able to afford them."


Perceptions that unwanted horses are a big problem have escalated dramatically in the past three years. More than 80% of respondents in every group perceived unwanted horses as a big problem in the past year - compared to 20+% who believe it was a big problem three years ago.

Why A Horse Becomes Unwanted

When asked to select what they believed to be the three most common reasons horses become unwanted (from a list of 10), all but one group indicated "Could no longer afford the horse" as the number one reason.

Breeds of Unwanted Horses

Horse Owners report horses that are sold or euthanized are more likely to be American Quarter Horses, which are consistent with the percentage of registered Quarter Horses in the United States. Horses that are donated are more likely to be reported as Thoroughbreds.

Most Recent Occupation of Unwanted Horses

Horse Owners report that horses used for recreational riding are more likely to be euthanized. Horses used to show/compete are more likely to be sold, which reflects their market value, while those used for racing are more likely to be donated for retraining.

†"2009 Unwanted Horses Survey." A study commissioned by the Unwanted Horse Coalition. Reprinted with permission of the Unwanted Horse Coalition/The American Horse Council. www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org.