A 501(c)3 nonprofit charity … because every horse matters

A Little About Our Equine Rescue Work

Fern, a horse rescued from kill pens“#308.”  That was this mare’s number when we pulled her from the Camelot Auction kill pen.  Now, her name is Fern.
Mare Rescued From Kill Pen AuctionFern is now enjoying a new, wonderful life.  Please, help us to continue in our work.  There are so many horses, like Fern, that should not be “end of the line” horses.

What do we do?

First Light Farm Equine Shelter is licensed by the State of Maine Animal Welfare Program. We provide food, care and shelter to horses that have been abused, neglected, abandoned, or whose owners can no longer provide care due to financial or other reasons.

Some horses are surrendered directly to the Shelter, while others come through the State Animal Welfare program. Many are under nourished and some have not seen a vet or farrier in a very long time.

Our goal is to rehabilitate and re-home these animals. This can take several weeks or several months depending on the horse’s condition and what kind of training or retraining it may need. On average, it costs about $30 per week to feed a horse. This can vary considerably depending on the horse’s size and condition. Other expenses include veterinary care, hoof care, and dental work.

These horses need daily attention including grooming, handling, feeding and mucking. FLFES is staffed by volunteers, the only pay they receive is an occasional slobbery kiss from one of our guests and the satisfaction of knowing we are helping our equine friends.

You might think that saving horses one at a time doesn’t make a big difference; but we know better.  Many of the animals that come into our care had reached the end of the line and would be facing certain death after a long, inhumane drive to a slaughter house, or a slow death from starvation or medical neglect because their owners either would not, or could not provide the love and care all horses deserve.

The fact is, the majority of equine rescues operate on a relatively small scale, and together, we are all making a difference.  There is no down side to helping even one horse — but with your help, we can provide care and hope and a new forever home for many more horses.

Judith, a horse rescued from kill pensWould you adopt this horse?  Looking at her now, you might think such a beautiful horse would be easy to place.  That’s why our work is so important — this pretty mare, “Judith” did not always look this healthy.
Another mare pulled from kill pen auctionThis is Judith when she was simply known as  #305 when we pulled her from the Camelot auction.

Why do we do it?

Each year, thousands of horses end up sick, starving and neglected, like the one pictured above. Sometimes this is due to direct owner neglect and cruelty. However, more often it is due to lack of preparedness and education. Horses are expensive and need constant human care. They cannot fend for themselves as their wild or feral ancestors did. Many times people will purchase a horse without fully realizing the physical, mental and financial responsibility that comes with horse ownership.

Overbreeding has also added to the problem. Auction houses across the nation are filled with horses as a result of the flooded market. Many of these animals will find themselves on overcrowded trucks headed to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. Sometimes horses end up in shelters due to unforeseen circumstances beyond human control. Due to the recession, some owners are faced with job loss or some other financial crises and can no longer afford to care for their horses. Other times, health issues are a factor. Owners are faced with emergency situations where finding homes for their horses becomes an immediate need.

Read More About Judith and Fern

“The history of mankind is carried on the back of the horse.”

You Can Help


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First Light Farm Equine Shelter is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your generous donations are tax deductible.

Licensed Animal Shelter Facility 7 MRSA 3932-A by the Maine Welfare Program.  Lic# F1091

Copyright © 2015. First Light Farm Equine Shelter. All Rights Reserved.

First Light Farm Equine Shelter

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