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Safe Harbor Sanctuary - Cottontown, Tennessee

"We are proud to be the first rescue of our kind in Tennessee.”

With a training facility located in Cottontown, Tennessee, Safe Harbor Sanctuary has been a group effort from start to finish. Started by a group of concerned animal advocates, it now functions through a foster farm system of over 20 locations throughout middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky.

“At the time of our inception, there was not one single rescue that provided retirement and respite care to animals in need, while also working on rehabilitation, training and adoption to those that are able to have a full life in a new home. We are proud to be the first rescue of our kind in Tennessee,” states Elizabeth, Safe Harbor team member.

Safe Harbor usually receives their animals in three forms: neglect and abuse cases in partnership with local agencies, owners’ surrenders, and Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds that enter into Safe Harbor’s “After the Track Program”. Each of these horses requires a different approach to rehabilitation. Neglect and abuse cases often require months of intensive physical and emotional rehabilitation, while ex-racehorses receive 90 days of “downtime” where they just get to enjoy being a horse in a pasture. Regardless, all horses receive the necessary veterinary and dental care upon arrival to ensure they get the best start on their new life.

Many of the foster families involved with Safe Harbor are experienced horsemen and women and Safe Harbor also utilizes professional trainer, Jessica Lyons, at the Cottontown facility. For especially challenging horses, a trainer works for 30-60 days to instill a positive foundation for the horse. Even horses that may be unrideable get lessons on what Safe Harbor calls, “Equine Good Citizen” training. This consists of teaching them to lead, load on a trailer and stand for the vet and farrier. “These skills are essential for any horse, regardless of whether they can be ridden or not,” explains Elizabeth.

Safe Harbor is the only Global Federation of Animal Rescues Accredited rescue in the state of Tennessee and they work hard to uphold those standards. “This signifies to donors and supporters that donations are put to the best possible uses for the animals in our care, and that our standards of rehabilitation, training and placement are the best that they can possible be,” says Elizabeth. This transparency is important as Safe Harbor functions as a family within the community at large.

This sense of community extends to all that are involved with the work done here. “Our team includes licensed trainers, holistic equine nutritional experts, compassionate volunteers and children; who will become the next generation that carry on this cause,” Elizabeth states. Everyone is involved and works together to create the best possible environment for the animals that find their way to Safe Harbor.

“We have successfully rehomed for than 500 horses and livestock animals to date,” says Elizabeth. But they know that none of this would be possible without the dedication and support of those that believe in them. Use the information below to find out how you can become part of the Safe Harbor family.

Get Involved

Safe Harbor Equine and Livestock Sanctuary

Cottontown, Tennessee




If you are interested in loaning or donating your horse trailer to this particular organization, then check out details of our Horse Trailer Donation and Sharing Program here.  Then, post your comments below to help out!

Also, learn more about horse rescues in these two articles:

Article:  Horses in Danger – The Need for Horse Rescues in the United States

Article:  Rescue Horses – Awesome Potential and How to Help


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