Thinking About Getting a Horse?

Consider adopting from Horse Haven of Tennessee!

When most people begin the process of getting a horse, the first places they start looking are auctions, internet classifieds, and feed store bulletin boards. Sure, you can pick up a horse for cheap at an auction, but will you know about the horse’s background, training or history.

The internet classifieds or bulletin boards may seem safe. You can meet and evaluate the horse before purchase, but you are sure that you are responsible for any vet care needed? Also, there may not be a return policy if the horse doesn’t work out for you.

If you adopt a horse from Horse Haven of Tennessee not only will you get a fully vetted and trainer-evaluated horse, but you will also get peace of mind. Horse Haven of Tennessee will take the horse back if it proves to not be a good match for you and your family. It’s not about the sale with us. Never has been. It’s about finding the perfect home for each equine.

Even if you don’t adopt from Horse Haven of Tennessee, be aware that Tennessee laws maintains that ALL horses exchanging ownership are required to show proof of negative Coggins test within the past 12 months.


Below is just a comparison between purchasing and adopting through HHT. Adoption fees vary between every animal that comes into our adoption program depending on their training and abilities. These fees could range from $0 – $1,200.


Looking for a “child safe” / “beginner” horse? Click Here


Purchasing a Horse Cost Adopting a Horse from HHT Costs
Purchase price $500-$2,500 Adoption Fee  $250-$1,200
Vet visit (Coggins, shots, deworming) $250 Vet visit (Coggins, shots, deworming) Included
Farrier $50 Farrier Included
1 sessions with a cowboy horse trainer $50 1 sessions with a rider/horse evaluator Included
Dealing with a shady horse trader or dishonest seller Worthless! Honest opinion and ability to match a horse suitable for you Priceless!
Total $850-$2850 Total $250-$1,200



Horse Haven of Tennessee’s purpose is to find responsible, loving homes for the abused and neglected Tennessee horses that have come to us due to confiscation from law enforcement.

This involves knowledge of both horse to be placed, and their perspective adopter. It is not a kindness for a horse to be placed into a home where they will fail to receive adequate food, water, shelter, or veterinary care. It is not a kindness where any of our horses will be allowed to be bred – this is the reason we have a “no breeding” clause so as not to add to the surplus of unwanted and/or neglected horses.


Adoption Information: Horse Haven of Tennessee adopts to homes in the state of Tennessee. Out of state adoptions may be considered if we can find the appropriate people to do our facility checks along with before and after care checks. Horse Haven of Tennessee does not adopt or foster any animal to any potential person that owns or boards at any facility that owns, trains, or shows “padded” horses. This strict policy also includes accepting anyone wanting to volunteer at Horse Haven of Tennessee. Horse Haven of Tennessee does not adopt or foster any animal to any potential owner that owns or boards at any facility that owns stallions, unless they can prove they are being responsible breeders, or the animal cannot be gelded for medical reasons, and even then only geldings will be allowed to be adopted. Horse Haven of Tennessee does farm inspections before adoption and follow up visits on all our adopted horses for one year.  After one year, the adopter may be granted legal title. This is done 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 to help enforce our “No Breeding” policy.

Horse Haven does allow adopted horses to be boarded at responsible boarding facilities, or on leased property. They must be inspected before hand and approved. The property or facility owners must sign a Boarding Agreement stating they understand that they can not place a lien on the animal being kept on their property. Click HERE for a copy of this agreement.


Please DO NOT apply for adoption unless you are ready. This would include at least a three sided shelter, fencing in good repair and being financially able to adopt when you apply. If you are not prepared to have a horse come to your property today, or can not pay the adoption fee today, do not apply.

Adoption works in four (4) easy steps

If you are looking for a specific horse, or find a horse you are interested in on our website, fill out an Application. Once the application has been received  someone from our adoption committee will contact you for a phone interview.  The 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 place that on your application, otherwise you can tell us what your looking for that might fit your needs.  After your phone interview the Horse Haven of Tennessee Adoption Committee will check your references. At this time a Committee member will make arrangements for you to be introduced to the animal if it is available or other animals that fit your request. We can not show any animals without an application first. We must follow this type of protocol to ensure the safety of animals being held as evidence for ongoing court cases.  Potential adopter visiting hours  Monday – Wednesday – Friday 11:00am – 2:00pm by appointment. Evening and Saturday hours by appointment. Closed Sunday. 
Once you find that special horse you’d like to add to your family our next step is to do a facility check on where the potential horse will be housed. We require a processing fee of $25 (non-refundable) to help us offset our fuel cost to do your facility check.  NO facility check will be done without this application fee on file.
Once your processing fee is received a Horse Haven committee  member will contact you and make arraignments to check out your facility. Because we are a volunteer organization this may not always 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. To speed up this process pictures of your facility are always helpful
Once a facility check has been approved arrangements will be made to finalize your adoption.  Adopters need to arrange pickup transportation. If you have never transported horses before please find someone with experience to do it for you. (pulling a boat, cargo trailer, mobile home, etc. is not the same) Horses will not be released unless the complete rig is approved to be road worthy. This means the tow vehicle must be large enough to safely pull the weight of the trailer and its load . It should be equipped with adequate brakes and the proper hitch setup. Just because a vehicle can pull a trailer does not mean it can stop it once loaded. Safety should always be a top priority when transporting animals.
HHT can provide transportation for a minimal fee of $3.00 per. mile (one way)with a $75 minimum charge.
Once an adoption is approved, the adopter has 7 days to pick up the animal or a $10 per day board charge will be added to their adoption fee. If fee isn’t paid in advance until pick up the animal will be placed back up for adoption. PLEASE, do not apply unless you are ready to adopt.

The normal adoption process usually takes 2-14 days.

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 givers play an important part of our adoption program. Fostering 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 a field agent is close by or 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 or Gallatin in Middle Tennessee. This allows us to transport them back to our facility for our Adoption Day.
Because Horse Haven of Tennessee is not a retirement facility, we are not able to house an animal indefinitely while trying to find a new home. Foster caregivers allow us the chance to extend the amount of time we have to try and place this animal. Many of these animals may have limitation that would label them as a companion animal only, which limits their adoptability. Potential Foster caregivers fill out the same application as adopters above in “Step 1”.
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. Adopters that are adopting to help a rescue horse in need understand how important they are to the overall mission of Horse Haven of Tennessee.  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.



Horse Haven of Tennessee 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 can be used as “rough stock” on the rodeo circuit, for horse racing, or allowed to be “padded”.
  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 without that person’s prior approval.
  4. Horse Haven of Tennessee will inspect the new person’s 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 accustomed to other horses or for medical treatment. 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 determined by attending veterinarian. Mares will not be allowed to be bred to further the over population of unwanted horses. If mares come to Horse Haven of Tennessee already pregnant, the off spring will become the property of Horse Haven of Tennessee and follow the same strict guidelines. The adopters will have first option to adopt the offspring at no charge. Mares will not be adopted, or fostered out to where a stallion is housed. If a stallion is found at a later date on the property, Horse Haven of Tennessee reserves the right to have any mares removed at their own discretion.
  6. Horses will not be adopted out without a Coggins test, shots and health inspection (not certificate) 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. Horse Haven of Tennessee will only adopt out to responsible owners who will keep animals up to date on vaccines and other necessary care.
  7. Horse Haven of Tennessee will track all animals adopted out. They will inspect the care and up keep of each horse throughout the year without prior notice. If at such a time the Horse Haven of Tennessee Adoption Committee 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. Horses must remain within the continental United States and Horse Haven of Tennessee must be notified of any change of address for more then 30 days. No horse will be allowed to be sold, traded, or disposed of in any fashion during the first year after adoption without written consent from Horse Haven of Tennessee. After the first year only animals that have received a clear title from Horse Haven of Tennessee will be allowed to change owners. It is the adopters responsibility to obtain their clear title paperwork from Horse Haven of Tennessee. Animals that have not obtained a clear title will remain under Horse Haven of Tennessee ownership.
  9. Adopters who receive a “Title of Ownership” are not allowed to dispose of their adopted animal through public auction, sold to a known horse trader, for slaughter, or breed any mares and a agreement stating such must be signed.
  10. Horse Haven of Tennessee will charge a minimum fee of $0.00, and a maximum $1,200 suggested adoption fee for all horses. Horse Haven of Tennessee has the right to waive or lower this fee at their discretion. There will be no fee to foster a horse until placement.
  11. Horse Haven of Tennessee requires adopters to notify us of changes to their mailing address. Sometimes past owners or breeding farms find out one of their former horses came to Horse Haven, and contact us with more information. This can include breed registration papers. We need your mailing address to forward this information to you.
  12. Horse Haven of Tennessee reserves the right to refuse adoption to any person unable or unwilling to comply with these guidelines.


When the time comes to visit with a potential match please read and be prepared to abide by the following guidelines.

  1. If you decide you want to ride the horse you wish to adopt you must schedule an appointment. Only horses that Horse Haven of Tennessee staff know have been ridden in the past will be allowed to be ridden at our facility. The rider will be evaluated before hand as to their skill level and a liability form must be signed ahead of time. Horse Haven of Tennessee staff reserves the right to refuse anyone from riding one of our animals at their own discretion.
  2. Please schedule enough time to groom, tack up, and untack the horse. A volunteer will help you with any questions or problems, but we need this time to observe your interaction with and handling of the horse. This helps us determine compatability.
  3. All riders must wear long pants, and closed toed, heeled boots/riding shoes.
  4. Do not bring children with you unless you are adopting the horse for the child(ren). All children must be supervised at all times.
  5. You may bring a guest on the premises if you notify us in advance. Please note, we cannot evaluate your compatability with a horse if you, we or the horse are distracted and interacting with your guest.
  6. Do not bring pets with you.
  7. We do not allow visitors into the paddocks. A staff member will bring a horse to you.
  8. No smoking or running in the barn.

We want your first meeting to be a good experience for both you and the horse, so please do not ask us to change our policies.

Next Steps…


Click below to pay application fee ONLY after you have met the animal you wish to adopt and filled out an Application.