Lesson Horse Retirement Program

The Painted Bar Stables Lesson Horse Retirement Program helps provide lifelong care for former lesson horses that have earned their right to greener pastures. These are the horses who have served over 1,000 riders throughout their careers and have won the hearts and minds of thousands more.

You don't throw a whole life away just because it's banged up a little.


Sponsor a Horse

Help us support these retired lesson horses by sponsoring a horse today!


Monthly Sponsors of $150 receive:

  • a personalized packet about their selected horse
  • photos and updates throughout the year
  • the opportunity to spend time with the horse in person
  • mention on our website for the month they are sponsoring

6 Month Sponsors of $800 will also receive:

  • Painted Bar Stables "sponsor" t-shirt and hat
  • a photo shoot with A.C. Jacobs

Full Year Sponsors of $1,500 will also recieve:

  • Painted Bar Stables gear for four people
  • a banner in our indoor arena with a photo from your photo shoot

Sponsorships make great gifts to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions, and we can mail a packet directly to the recipient of your choice.

Adopt a Horse

Help us give a horse a Dream Home!
Price: free with application


Our lesson horses work hard and when it's time to retire they deserve the best home possible where they can play with a person of their own as they age gracefully.

If you are looking for a safe, well trained and fantastic horse who NEEDS you, look into adopting instead of retiring.

To adopt a horse, please fill out the applications for adoptions at the link listed below their photos. We will be taking applications and meeting with qualified applicants to introduce to their horse of choice.

Once you are chosen we will deliver your horse to you.


  • This is a No-Sale Adoption Contract.
  • The horse must live with you for the rest of their lives, whether or not they are sound to ride.
  • Weight limits may be placed on riding some of the horses.

Small Business Sponsorships

Sponsorships are also an excellent opportunity for local businesses. With over 2,000 riders coming through our arena doors per year, the photos and banners bring attention to your business and provide you the opportunity to reach out to our tourists and regulars while establishing yourself as a friend of all horses.

Horses Available for Adoption





Horses Available for Sponsorship

Spock the Mule

Spock is a mule that was used in our trail programs and endurance programs for a number of years. He was our official "Half Assed Trail Horse" and was always a source of entertainment and joy on the trails.

Unforunately his arthrtis in his hocks has progressed that he is not really able to ride anymore. He really loves working and getting attention so he's really bummed to not be able to go back to work.



Paying it Forward

The horses that make up the herd of the Lesson Horse Retirement Program are seasoned veterans used to working with the general public. They are safe, kind and forgiving: the perfect candidates for working with a variety of individuals, including marginalized groups, to develop life long skills.

A key component of the Lesson Horse Retirement Program is to transition the horses from riding programs to working on the ground with at risk and marginalized groups. Key populations that program targets include:

At-Risk Teens


Indivduals with Disabilities

Urban Youth


The Life of a Horse in the Program

  • Lesson horses who have served their communities are accepted into the program.
  • The herd of retired horses are maintained by the Painted Bar Stables at the Elkins Horse Park location during the warmer months, living in large field turnout in appropriate social groups with ample grass and forage.
  • During the winter months, the retired herd is brought to the Painted Bar Stables headquarters to be stabled for the winter.

The Plight of Elderly Lesson Horses

As horses age, they no longer are able to carry riders. As time goes on they become weaker, develop chronic arthritis or perhaps suffer injuries that leave them unable to work as riding horses.

Lesson horses are the saints of the equestrian way of life. These are the horses that carried every single rider through their first ride and then through their patience and forgiving nature instructed us how to be firm and friendly while staying balanced and supple.

The elderly lesson horse is the horse that has truly paid its dues. Lesson horses that are past their prime no longer have the monetary value they did in their prime. Their worth is now defined by how many people they made smile and laugh and were loved by in return. A Painted Bar Stables horse in particular can make well over 1,000 people fall in love with riding over the course of their career. By the time they have reached retirement, they have earned their rights to a large field, a constant supply of hay, and the comfort of knowledgeable care.

Often commercial stables are unable to keep elderly horses that are unsuitable for riding programs. This is not because of lack of love for these horses, but because it becomes financially unfeasible to require the other horses in the stables to work harder to support those unable to work.

Basic maintenance of a retired horse (just the basic farrier, vet and feed costs) a single horse will cost an average of $158.50. However, when you look at the impact of the horse on the entire budget, each horse will cost a stables between $300 - $500 per month. These expenses include the cost of the land, taxes, insurance, employees, maintenance, veterinary bills, supplements and feed expenses.

As a result, lesson horses often are sold to novice riders. Many of these novice riders love and cherish these beginner friendly horses until the end of their lives; but often these wonderful and patient horses get passed on over and over again as riders out grow them and they become increasingly lame and unsuitable for riding.

Horses Adopted in the Past

Miss Zan O'Lena

Miss Zan O'Lena

Lena came to us from Oakwood Manor and Nicky Kurty where she not only placed in the top 10 in nationwide Barrel Racing championships, but foaled futurity winners and taught lessons. She continued her teaching career here teaching more advanced lessons on finess and guiding the trails.

In 2014, Lena started limping on her left gind leg. After X-Rays at the Cornell University Equine Hospital, it was clear that her hock joint was fusing. The hock joint is a complicated joint consisting of multiple joints within it. While the lower joints typically fuse in older horses without much complication, Lena's upper joints were fusing causing her to have a "peg leg" movement.

While her hock does not hurt her, and it is just a mechanical lameness, as time has passed it has gotten to the point that she can no longer be ridden for more than a short bareback trail ride.

Cat D9 Dozer


Dozer is in search of a little kid! Preferably age 7 or younger!!!

Dozer is one of the safest horses I have ever met. He's stoic, kind and protective of his rider. He has taught well over 1,000 children how to feel safe around horses and have confidence. He deserves to be in love.

Dozer's hips have been getting sore of late and arthritis is really kicking in. We don't want to use him for our trail rides and lessons anymore because it just makes him even more sore to have adults and tons of kids riding him all of the time.

However, he would LOVE to be a young child's jungle gym. He may never be the horse they learn to gallop on, but he would be the perfect mount for a little boy or girl who wants to be INDEPENDENT around a horse.


Tourmaline Crystal

Crystal bareback

Barn Name: Crystal
Date of Birth: May 6, 2002
Breed: Registered APHA Paint
Color: Solid Black
Sex: Mare
Height: 15.3hh

Crystal is one of those special lesson horses that could be ridden and loved by everyone. She was always our choice for children on the trail, even though she is so big. Adults gravitated to her because of her sleek appearance and humble personality. She is kind, patient and willing to please.

In late 2013 Crystal started to do a little "hop" during her upward transitions into the trot. We initially thought it was her back that was causing her issues so she recieved a number of chiropractic adjustments, particularly in her hips. However, as time passed the "hop" came back, as did a limp in her hind left leg.

We took Crystal to Cornell University Equine Hopsital where X-Rays showed that she had an arthritic fracture in her hock. Arthritis had built up a bone spur which had broken off and was floating in the joint. As a result, some days Crystal is 100% a-okay and enjoys a nice walk out on trail; however, other days the chip floats around and iritates the joint causing her to be lame.

Crystal is also one of our best broodmares that we have ever owned. Her babies have been not only particularly gorgeous and well built, but incredibly sane, calm and easily trainable.

Adoption Application: https://goo.gl/forms/4awiJXgGD9JWCTfz1

Panda Paws

Crystal bareback

Panda was one of our MOST requested trail horse at Painted Bar Stables. He's admired for his willingness, smooth canter, responsiveness and his fantastic neck rein. He's a ton of fun and an absolute pleasure to hit the trails with.

He's a trail master extraordinaire taking riders of all levels out on adventures. Panda will go through any obstacle: crossing water, mud, fallen logs, roads, tractors, cars, cows and pretty much anything you put in front of him. He's not a dead head, but he's brave and obedient. He will go first or fall in line - though he does prefer to be in the front half of the line.

Panda was adopted by local farrier Chad Mothersell for his daughter's first riding horse. Panda really hit the jackpot not just getting a girl of his own, but a professional horseman and personal farrier of his own too!

Mack's Lit Up

Mack's Lit Up

Mack is a Tennessee Walking Horse gelding who has served as a lesson and trail horse for 7 years. He was always a favorite of gentlemen because of his stylish appearance and smooth gaits. He is one of our best trail horses because of his ability to keep up with the more advanced riders or slow down to go slowly for first time riders.

He is a sensitive guy who has a lot of quirk. He's a top dog in the field, but always willing to work with people and not boss them around.

Mack started limping in his right hind leg in 2015. Two visits to Cornell University's Equine Animal Hospital told us that he has significant arthritic changes in multiple joints that may be the root of his problems. Though he is still sound on his good days and is VERY happy when we take him out for a nice bareback trail ride, his limp comes and goes and he can no longer take out trail rides and lessons reliably.

Click photo for more information.

Adoption Application: http://tinyurl.com/mackadoption




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4093 Lake Street (Rte. 79) Burdett, NY 14818
[email protected]