You are currently viewing Celebrating 28 Years of Rescuing Equines

Celebrating 28 Years of Rescuing Equines

A message from President & Founder Susan Wagner on our 28th birthday. Equine Advocates was founded on February 27th, 1996.

Dear Friends,

When I drove to Albany from Queens on this day 28 years ago to establish Equine Advocates as a non-profit equine protection organization, I had no idea where that journey would take me. I didn’t know that just eight years later, we would establish what has come to be known as one of the most highly accredited equine sanctuaries in the country.

All I was focused on that day was that I desperately wanted to work to end horse slaughter and rescue as many equines as possible, particularly since I had rescued my very first horse, Gandalf, from that horrific fate three years earlier. It was through his rescue that I learned all about this dirty little secret of the horse industry at that time. Equines were being sent to their deaths in numbers ranging from 100,000 to more than 400,000 annually in U.S., Canadian, and Mexican slaughterhouses. It was a terrible time for horses in this country, but that’s the way it was back in the 1990s.

“That’s Rain Man and me back in 1993. He was just three years old at the time and will turn 34 on April 1st.” -SW

At the same time, I came to the rescue of a Miniature Horse on Staten Island named Rain Man, whose owner was no longer able to keep him. I did not know that Gandalf and Rain Man would become the founding horses of Equine Advocates. While Gandalf sadly passed in 2003, Rain Man will turn 34 on April 1st.

Due to massive public outcry, all horse slaughterhouses that operated in the U.S. closed by 2007. Thanks to the work of many groups, individuals, and lawmakers, and the passage of state horse slaughter bans, including the 1998 Save the Horses California Initiative, the number of equines being shipped live over our borders into Mexico and Canada for slaughter is now at an all-time low.

However, as far as we’re concerned, any number is still too many, and we will not stop until a federal law is passed to completely ban the slaughter of America’s wild and domestic equines for human and animal consumption or any other secondary markets. New York State made history in 2023 when it passed the most stringent anti-horse slaughter legislation in the nation, thus setting the Gold Standard and model for an effective federal bill.

“I like to refer to Gandalf as the ‘co-founder of Equine Advocates,’ since my rescue of him from slaughter in 1993 was the reason I decided to start this organization, which I did just three years later.” – SW

Today, on our 28th birthday, we are celebrating the work we have done and our plans for the future. These plans promise to have a positive impact on protecting horses even further.

Many of you know we acquired additional farmland last year to expand our operation. This week, we will transfer our offices to our new headquarters on that property and make plans to launch a major capital campaign in the near future. We need to raise the necessary funds to build a new rehab center, in addition to barns and fencing to accommodate more horses, and start a wonderful new program to retire Military Working Horses. We also plan to take our Humane Education Program to an even higher level, offering seminars with guest speakers on different aspects of equine health, many of which our horses have benefitted from, including equine podiatry. We want to see horses all across the country benefit from these amazing developments as well, as we share our experiences and make that information available to the public.

It is thanks to people like you who have made the lifesaving work we do for horses possible. Will you join us today and show your support for us on our 28th birthday? As our journey that began in 1996 continues, I hope you will all be along for the ride!  

If you’re feeling generous and would like to give us a birthday gift, we’d love to receive a celebratory donation of $28! Or perhaps $280, $2,800, or any amount you wish to contribute. Every donation helps us meet our mission to advocate for and rescue equines from slaughter and abuse, as well as provide many who have no one to speak for them a safe and loving home.


Thank you so much!


Susan Wagner, President

Read more in our latest email newsletter.