Reflecting on Equine Welfare: ASPCA's Commitment During Adopt a Horse Month

May 24, 2024

a horse walking around a corrale

By Matt Bershadker, President & CEO of ASPCA

The ASPCA’s History is Rooted in Equine Welfare

In 1866, Henry Bergh stopped a horse from being beaten by its owner and that act of kindness sparked a movement that would shape the course of animal welfare, including the founding of the ASPCA.

Among its earliest endeavors, the ASPCA prioritized the protection of urban working horses, recognizing their indispensable role in the fabric of daily life. In the bustling streets of New York City, equines were steadfast companions and essential workers. The ASPCA's early efforts focused on preventing cruelty and ensuring a safer environment for these equines. Initiatives included installing fountains for horses, rescuing them from perilous situations and operating an equine ambulance service for carriage horses. The organization's inaugural seal, unveiled in 1867, depicted an angel of mercy shielding a fallen carthorse—a poignant symbol of the ASPCA’s founding and enduring dedication to equines. 

Since its inception, the ASPCA has remained steadfast in its advocacy for equine welfare, forging an unbreakable bond between humans and horses that continues to thrive and evolve.

A Professional & Personal Passion

Matt Bershadker with a horse

Our commitment to equine welfare is not just professional—it's personal. Many of our staff members share a passion for these magnificent creatures, whether as proud horse owners, hopeful future horse owners or admirers of their beauty and grace.

Our team members eagerly await Adopt a Horse Month (AHM) each May because it represents more than just a campaign—it's a testament to the power of collaboration, compassion and community.

Now in its fourth year, AHM serves as a vital platform for connecting potential adopters with horses in need of loving homes. Through our online adoption platform,, we connect potential adopters with horses in need, fostering relationships that last a lifetime. Together, the ASPCA, equine shelters, rescue groups and partners nationwide strive to amplify the message of adoption, knowing that every horse deserves a loving home.

The ASPCA’s Right Horse Adoption Partners care for equines of varying breeds, ages and backgrounds as they transition from one home or career to the next. They work closely with each adopter throughout the adoption process to ensure strong matches for both the horse and the adopter. Our Industry Partners continue to amplify the tireless work of equine adoption organizations nationwide, granting broader exposure to their audiences. As just one example, once again, the ASPCA is grateful to Zoetis Equine for their donation of 1,500 doses of CORE EQ INNOVATOR® vaccine to Right Horse Adoption Partners and the horses in their care. 

Taking Action Together

a woman feeding a horse an apple

AHM extends beyond adoption—we encourage everyone to get involved in whatever way they can, whether it's through volunteering, spreading awareness on social media or simply having conversations about equine adoption with friends and family. 

Last year, 400 horses found homes during Adopt a Horse Month, thanks to the collective efforts of equine shelters, rescues and supporters nationwide.

Every action, no matter how small, makes a difference in the lives of these incredible animals.

Embracing Hope for the Future

Looking ahead, with the support of partners and communities, we are optimistic about creating a future where every horse is cherished and loved. Together, let's embrace the power of partnership and pave the way for a world where every horse has the chance to live a happy, healthy life.