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Trail Ride2Equine Division at MARS of Illinois

Rescue & Training Program

Murphysboro, IL & Marion, IL

We are proud to offer horse training and rescue services to the southern Illinois area! There are so many animals in need of assistance, we always operate at maximum capacity, with a waiting list to bring new horses into the program. Our mission is to reduce the number of homeless horses by providing educational services to the public, and training services to horse owners. Here are just some of the ways we help horses in need.

  • Accept horses into our rescue program as space permits, and provide any and all care they need
  • Enroll the horses in the rescue program in our training classes to provide exercise and training for them prior to adoption
  • Provide horse care and training classes to the public in an effort to educate the public in humane training methods and proper horsemanship
  • Provide private training services to horse owners that are experiencing issues with their horse that would otherwise force them to give up their horse
  • Raising funds to expand our barn to accommodate more horses that are in need of rescue

In order to provide all of the things that a horse rescue needs, we operate at cost. Caring for these large animals brings in many expenses that often exceed what adoption donations will cover. Please consider making a contribution towards horse rescue (click here). SAVING LIVES- NOW, THAT'S SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF!

On August 25th, we were able to assist with a hit-by-car case, involving a Palomino gelding who got out of his pasture and wandered onto a highway and was struck. His injuries were not life-threatening (thank goodness, even though we don't know how he got away with only minor trauma). His owner was not able to be located, so we transported him to an emergency vet appointment, and brough him back to our rescue and training facility, where he hung out until the next evening, when he was reunited with his owner.

"The horse that was hit by a car has been returned to his owner. The horse was spooked by a storm on Sunday night, and got out of his pasture. He traveled approximately 2 miles through the woods and ended up on the highway, where he was struck by a vehicle. After emergency care at the vet clinic, he was cared for by our staff, until this evening when he was returned to his owner. The owner, who was 75, has had him since she was 45 years old, MAKING HIM A WHOPPING 32 YEARS OLD. His pasture has been secured, and we have offered our assistance to the owner if ever needed.
This is a much better ending to the story than we had anticipated. Thank you all for reading!"
-Equine Division- MARS Of Illinois Facebook page

Mac w SaddleMac and Hank

Mac Under Saddle9/10/11: Mac and Hank are two Quarter horses that were rescued from southern IL, where their owner was not caring for them. Mac and Hank, along with a variety of other farm animals (goats, sheep, chickens) were found running at large along a busy road. Animal control was called in, gathered the horses and got them into a trailer.  According to the county that Mac and Hank were found in, horses that were not reclaimed by their owners had to go to the auction so the county could recoup some of the cost of their care by selling them. Thankfully, the animal control officer contacted us, and we were able to make accommodations to help them. We are so thankful for this, and both Mac and Hank were able to find loving homes.


If you would like to make a donation via PayPal to help the animals in our program,


Every gift provides a lot for an animal that had nothing.

Thank you for your support!

Fiona and Jack2

Dogs and cats are not the only animals that are suffering from abuse or neglect. Many larger animals are in desperate need of
assistance across the country. Due to economic hardship, many animals are not being cared for because their owners are not able to provide adequate food, shelter and care. The horses in our rehabilitation/adoption program have been removed from situations where they have been neglected or abused.  


We have dedicated team members, along with amazing volunteers that work very hard to 'restore' these wonderful animals so that they can find loving, forever homes where they will get the life that they deserve.

Grooming Cookie

All of the horses in our program receive routine grooming, 24/7 access to hay and fresh water, and receive Nutrena horse feed based on individual needs. While in our program, the horses are put through our comprehensive training program, which focuses on trust and confidence building exercises through groundwork and riding. Our program also offers instructional classes to other trainers and riders in the area that are interested in learning new training styles and to better communicate with their horses.
Adoption fees for the horses  and ponies in our program are based on the level of training that they have received, and the amount of time they have been in our program.
Our horses and ponies are kept up to date on vaccinations (E/W/T and Flu/Rhino), coggins, vet exams, and hoof trimming. They are all microchipped prior to adoption, and sent home with medical records.
Fiona in Class


Manners, Groundwork and Basic Horse Care



How much CAN a horse carry?



Glory's Story

Many special animals come through our program every year, but occasionally, we have a case that goes straight to our hearts- Glory's is one of those cases.

Glory is a 9 year old Paint/Quarter Horse cross rescued from southern IL, where she was living in a small enclosure filled with mud. There was no grass to graze on, no shelter from the weather. The pen was so small that even though there was a small round bale for the horses, because she was the 'omega', or the 'underdog', she was not allowed by the other 5 horses to get any of the food. The competition for food between the horses was even more aggressive because there was not enough for all of them. They were all wasting away to nothing, and their owners did not recognize the severity of the situation.


Thankfully, with the assistance of other concerned rescuers, we were able to remove all of the horses from this situation. Glory was the most affected. Because of her sweet nature, she won everyone's heart that met her. She spent her time grazing and re-learning how to 'be a horse'. Despite her condition, she was very trusting of our staff and volunteers who worked very hard to ensure that she made a full recovery and found an amazing family. The photo on the left was the day Glory arrived at our barn, and the photo to the right is after just 4 weeks in our program, and receiving a proper diet, grooming and exercise.Once she was deemed healthy, she was adopted by a wonderful family with 3 children who Glory loves very much.


There are many other horses like Glory out there that are in need of assistance. If you would like to adopt a rescued horse or pony, please fill out an online adoption application today!



Barbie is a 26 year old Quarter horse mare. She was rescued from southern IL, where her owners were not caring for her. She was nothing but skin and bones, and the sparkle in her eyes had faded. She stood with her head low, gazing up at us with a pleading expression on her face. We loaded her in the trailer and never looked back. She has a birth defect that caused a malformation in her nasal passage, and because of lack of nutrition, she developed a heart murmur, and lost sight in her right eye. Despite these things, Barbie made a full recovery, and is spending her time with the people that love her very much, right here at MARS! The first photo is the day she came to us. The second is at week 17 in our program. Barbie has truly been a wonderful horse to work with. Since her recovery, she has helped teach children how to groom horses, and treat them kindly, and been used in MARS equine program and taugh children's riding classes.

Barbie wk1Barbie wk17