Always Wanted to Rescue a Horse, but Can't Do it Alone?

Scroll Down for our Current Horse Rescue Team Opportunities. Donate to Get Involved. Participate, Spectate, or Follow Along Online!

Always Wanted to Rescue a Horse, but Can't Do it Alone?  image




Scroll Down for our Current Horse Rescue Team Opportunities. Donate to Get Involved. Participate, Spectate, or Follow Along Online!

Pony Up Rescue Collective

Help Horses * Help People

Welcome to Pony Up Rescue, a grassroots non-profit in an exciting stage of development.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you already know how good it feels to hug a horse. They mirror our energy, look to us for guidance but require trust, forgive easily, and their only demand is that we be in the present moment with them. To save a horse from the slaughter pipeline is all of that plus seeing them rediscover the will to live. It is magical to be part of their individual journeys, and I hope you will join me- not just by donating, but by visiting, following along online, and sharing in their newfound affection, joy, and contentment.

Pony Up's collective-style rescue program saves, rehabilitates, and trains slaughter-bound horses for adoption and therapeutic programming. Currently, we have six rescues in various stages of rehab and training. They rely on “rescue teams” of sponsors and donors to sustain them. Our goal is to increase access to these horses, particularly for those who are traditionally excluded from the benefits of horse experience. We strive to do the utmost good with every dollar donated, and to share with you the process and progress.

We operate as a 501(c)(3) through 501 fiscal sponsorship from our parent foundation, Chappy & Friends, out of Roseview Farm in Tivoli, NY. Don’t be shy! Visit, volunteer, ask for photos, and please consider a sustaining monthly donation.


Kelsey Merrow, founder


We know that many people wish they could rescue horses, but aren't equipped to do so alone. Pony Up Rescue offers personalized, team-style horse rescue, one horse at a time, while providing logistical and training support. The model is one of collaborative rescue, wherein each horse or pony is supported by a “rescue team” that is encouraged to get involved, hands-on, in a variety of ways. Each horse or pony that Pony Up rescues is supported for one year by a dedicated team of donors. The "Rescue Team" members commit to at least $10 per month.


HELP HORSES... Firstly, we need sustainers and sponsors to support our current rescues through their rehabilitation and training process at the current facility. Please consider a recurring contribution. 100% of donations go to benefit the horses.

Pony Up is also in search of a 2-horse bumper pull trailer to network the rescue horses. Fully tax-deductible.


HELP PEOPLE... Secondly, we aim to serve the community and pursue related grant funding as an independent 501(c)(3). This entails both registering as our own non-profit (we currently have 501 fiscal sponsorship) and securing a partner facility out of which to run community programming.

Pony Up’s long-term goal is to create year-round equine opportunities for people who need them using rescued horses, and to increase access to the therapeutic benefits of horses. There is much to be done, but we have all of the energy, ability, and commitment to get there, with your support.


We currently have six rescues in rehabilitation and training, each of them getting friendlier, happier, and more adoptable with each passing day. All of them love visitors, and Pearl and Potato are ready for children of their own to free-lease them (a potential step towards adoption).

  • TEAM PENNY - Rescue In Progress - Needs Supporters!

13.0hh aged dark bay pony mare. In need of immediate medical attention. Sold at auction to a kill buyer and given a week at a bail out.

  • TEAM MOOMIN (formerly Willow) - Needs Supporters!

One of our two October rescues is a 2.5-year-old, 14.0hh (and growing) gray leopard appaloosa mare. She was a neglect case from North Carolina who was severely underweight and terribly wormy, but also kind and gentle.

Recent Photos:

Moomin joined the herd in Tivoli, NY after an angel donor paid her bail and initial quarantine fees. She needs supporters to donate monthly toward her ongoing daily rehabilitation and training so that she can be an adoptable riding pony. Every bit helps!


14.2hh, 11-yr-old dappled bay Morgan cross gelding. Suspected driving pony. Auctioned in Ohio and bought by a kill buyer.

Recent Photos:

Rescued in August, Gus turned out to have advanced high ringbone in the right front pastern, a painful degenerative arthritic condition. The first vet suggested euthanasia, but the second opinion vet pointed out that the joint was already 75% fused and recommended giving him a chance. (If fused completely, the pain will potentially clear up and Gus could be sound enough to ride and be adopted.) Post-Depo Medrol joint injection, dental care, vaccinations, deworming, farrier care and diet adjustment, Gus is already serviceably sound and improving steadily! A friendly, willing fellow, he is doing groundwork and [very] light longeing, and is slated for new radiographs in February, 2024.

Gus loves visitors, being groomed, led, and eating treats. Reach out to schedule a visit!

  • TEAM GERTRUDE- No Longer Available

Heartbreakingly, Gertrude passed away on her eighth day of quarantine at the bailout from which she was rescued. Despite antibiotics, steroids, and pain medication, she was unable to overcome severe pneumonia in her emaciated condition. Donor funds have been moved to Team Augustus.


13.3hh, 11-yr-old vision-impaired chestnut Quarter Pony gelding. Former Amish cart pony sold at auction to a kill buyer.

Recent Photos:

Sweet Potato, our foundation pony, is now “legally” blind. When he was rescued, his double cataracts rendered him completely blind in the left eye and partially blind in the right. We fundraised for cataract surgery that took place at Cornell in February, 2023. The procedure seemed to have restored his vision until infection and glaucoma developed. In April, the left eye had to be removed. Subsequently, the right eye cataract matured, blocking his remaining vision completely but for a few shadows. Potato is athletic, trusting, brave and in good spirits, as well as beautifully trained on the flat. Potato would make a wonderful dressage pony, and is looking for a child of his own.

Potato is seeking a dressage or WTC rider of his own. He loves visitors, snacks, and hugs. Reach out if you would like to visit!


13.0hh, 11-yr-old chestnut pony mare, breed unknown. Neglected, sick, starving, injured and sold at auction to one kill buyer in West Virginia, then another in Ohio.

Recent Photos:

Against all odds, Pearl is well underway to being not only an adoptable kids pony, but potentially a little show pony. Deemed unhandled by the bailout where she had been given a week’s reprieve, she began quarantine with a lung infection, a newly blinded right eye, emaciated and wormy. Under saddle since June, Pearl now has her canter leads and is on her way to becoming a competitive sport pony of some kind. Eager to please, affectionate, hard-working and soft in the bridle, she is available for free lease to the right child / home.

Pearl is seeking a child of her own, and loves visits, being groomed and handled. Please reach out if you would like to take part!


15.1 1/2hh, late teenage sooty buckskin Quarter Horse cross gelding. Beautifully-trained ranch horse in need of managed care. Sold at auction, location unknown, to a Kansas-based kill pen.

Recent Photos:

Oliver was rescued in June 2023 by an individual sponsor who decided to put him in the hands of Pony up until such time as he is adopted. Easy to ride and a perfect gentleman, Ollie was chosen to be a light trail riding horse. It took time to unravel his comprehensive issues, but he was ultimately diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease driving low-level laminitis. With the Cushing’s under control with medication, he is now rehabbing from the laminitis in the hopes that ultimately he can be a lovely low level lesson or therapeutic horse.

Previously quite shy, Oliver has come to love visitors, cookies, and being groomed. You are welcome to come spend time with him. Get in touch!

Support a Local, Grassroots Non-Profit

Pony Up Rescue is small, energized, flexible and transparent. With roots in Connecticut and New York, we are dedicated to collaboration with other local non-profits, rescues and educators, and believe that engaging the community is the best path to progress. Kelsey’s background in hands-on, comprehensive horsemanship in both the competitive and recreational riding worlds is the basis for the Pony Up Rescue framework, built on community, therapy, equity, and education, and steeped in a great love for horses. Pony Up Rescue takes your support seriously and welcomes your feedback and involvement.

About Kelsey

Raised in the hunter/jumper world, Kelsey received a comprehensive and varied equine education and has ridden professionally for 20 years. With life-long experience, a compassionate approach to both horse and rider, and a passion for horse rescue, she founded Pony Up in 2022.

Who are these slaughter-bound horses?

Generally speaking, rescue horses tend to fall into three categories: elderly ones needing a soft landing and sanctuary; unhandled or green youngsters and prospects; and sick, malnourished, and/or injured riding horses needing rehabilitation and refreshers. They include all manner of riding horses from ranch dispersals, estates, and families who can no longer care for them; Amish driving standardbreds; ponies; Belgians; Bureau of Land Management mustangs; broodmares; and youngsters. Some have been mistreated, others neglected, some are tossed away because they can't do a particular job (though they are suited to many others). A surprising number of them are sound, loving, and rideable.

Save Lives by Bringing Rescues into the Mainstream

Rescue horses get a bad rap. Most horse rescues are unaffiliated with lesson and show barns, and rescue horses are unsurprisingly stigmatized. There is little awareness of how many sound, useful, loving horses are routed to slaughterhouses. We need programs that integrate rescue horses into the mainstream, that recognize their unique value and potential as teachers, prospects, pleasure and competition horses. Such programming helps to staunch the flow of horses to slaughter.