President’s Message

To our friends, supporters and those who want to learn more about us:

Susan Wagner & Gandalf
Susan Wagner & Gandalf, Co-founders of Equine Advocates

Equine Advocates is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) equine protection organization that I founded in 1996 after rescuing my first horse from slaughter. His name was Gandalf. Since that time, we have rescued thousands of equines, including horses, ponies, donkeys and mules from slaughter, abuse and neglect. We have grown significantly over the years with our small but energetic and compassionate staff. We have done a great deal, but there is still much to be accomplished.

In 2004, we established Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary, a 140-acre facility in upstate New York from which we now operate. The opening of this wonderful sanctuary was bittersweet, as Gandalf died one year earlier. While he did not make it to the sanctuary, he is here with us every day in spirit and continues to inspire all of us, along with the other wonderful equines we have gotten to know over the years.

Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary has truly become a haven for horses. It is an equine village where horses get to live out their lives in a natural environment that allows them to socialize with each other. The 80+ equines who reside here receive lots of TLC. Most were slaughter-bound and/or came from abusive situations and have surely earned their retirement here at the sanctuary.

In 2006, we proudly opened the doors to our Humane Education Center where we welcome groups and individuals of all ages. Visitors come from many different parts of the country to learn about equine issues, responsible horse guardianship, humane horse handling, natural horsemanship, and many other important subjects that affect the welfare of our equine friends. We welcome students into our Ed Center for our freshly crafted Humane Education program where students learn how to compassionately care for horses and all animals. We always stress the importance of people taking responsibility for the equines under their care and that they ensure a safe and kind existence during their lives and a peaceful, dignified experience in death. Slaughter is simply not an option.

Our Humane Education Programs are continually expanding. We offer tours and present lectures and classes on a variety of equine-related subjects and issues. We have held Symposiums on Equine Cruelty for law enforcement where experts discussed how to recognize abuse/neglect cases and how to effectively enforce the cruelty laws. We produced our first children’s book for young children, entitled, Do Horses Sleep Standing Up? Written by our Development Director, Karen Wagner, this book features many of the horses who live at the sanctuary. Purchase a copy.

In our outdoor arena right outside the Education Center, we hold lecture demonstrations and also allow visitors, especially young children, to meet some of our more gentle horses. Dolly and Queen often get to greet our visitors. Photo at right is Dolly with some members of a Girl Scout troop.

In 2013, The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), the only globally-recognized organization providing standards for identifying legitimate animal sanctuaries, awarded Accredited status to Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary.  In 2014, Equine Advocates was one of only 42 organizations to be awarded Accredited status by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA). Equine Advocates was also accredited by the American Sanctuary Association (ASA) in 2019. We were very honored to receive these important recognitions.

Equine Advocates is also an award-winning organization, honored by the New York State Humane Association and the Thoroughbred Charities of America for excellence in equine protection and rescue work, including numerous multi-horse rescue operations. Since our inception, we have focused both on horse rescue and advocacy, exposing the cruel horse slaughter and pregnant mares’ urine (PMU) industries and other forms of equine abuse. Since 2006, Humane Equine Education has become a very important focus of this organization as we target horse owners and young people, in particular, because they are the future horse owners of America.

We have originated and participated in many televised and print undercover investigations that have taken us across the U.S. and to Canada to expose horse slaughter auctions, horse slaughterhouses, the tragic fate of most camp horses, the abusive treatment of many mules, buggy horses and work horses by some Amish farmers, the miserable lives of PMU mares who are continually impregnated and turned into 4-legged drug machines to produce the drugs, Premarin, PremPro and Premphase, the cruel urban carriage horse trade and other informative reports exposing equine abuse and other forms of exploitation.

Please explore our website for a more complete understanding of who we are and why we are committed to the work that we feel so passionately about doing. If you are not yet a supporter of Equine Advocates, we hope you will consider becoming one. There are many ways that you can contribute and make tax-deductible donations. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions and/or if you are interested and want more information about any of our programs, including horse sponsorship, education, visitors open days and tours.

Please visit Who We Are for more information about our our staff, our Board of Directors and our financials.

Thank you for taking the time to visit our site. We hope that you, too, will become an equine advocate and become pro-active in opposing horse slaughter and reporting incidents of equine abuse and neglect to your local authorities. For those of you who have the privilege of having a horse, being a kind and responsible guardian and caretaker is one of the best things you can do.


Susan Wagner

Mules at Equine Advocates