The MMSC Adoption Process

Please note: The adoption process has several steps. Steps 1-5 must be completed in their entirety before any potential adopter may ride and adopt a horse from the MMSC.

Step 1: Submit Application Fee

If you are completing the application online, please submit a $25 processing fee. If you are downloading the application to complete it by hand, please submit a $30 processing fee. NOTE: Your application fee MUST be received before the MMSC staff can process your application. We receive many applications and it takes time to process and submit them for approval. Therefore, we can only serve those individuals who have demonstrated their commitment to adopting a horse from the MMSC by submitting an application fee.


Step 2: Submit an Adoption Application

Once you have submitted your application fee above, your journey to adopting a horse from the Maker's Mark Secretariat Center begins with completing an adoption application. Click the button below to access the application online, or download it to fill out by hand (see example). Applications completed online will be submitted to the MMSC automatically upon completion, and handwritten applications may be submitted via mail, fax, or email.

Prospective Noble Horse adopters: please note that you cannot be first time horse owners. Moreover, along with the standard adoption application you must also submit the Noble Horse Program Application Addendum.

When completing the online application, you will be asked to upload a photo of yourself holding a photo ID for identity verification purposes. We only need to see your photo and name on the ID - you can cover up any sensitive information, such as your driver's license number or address.

If you are a minor, your parent or guardian MUST complete the Consent Form. Your adoption application will not be processed or approved without it.

Contact the MMSC at with any questions.

Step 3: Submit Photos

The MMSC wants to see where your adopted horse will be living. If you are completing your application online, click the button below to upload photos. If you are completing the application by hand, submit your photos via email (preferred), mail, or fax.

Required photos:

  • Photos of the pastures
  • A close up of the fencing
  • Exterior photo of the barn
  • Interior photo of a stall
  • Interior photo of the barn (barn aisle)

Additional photos may also be included, such as riding photos, photos of your current horses or animals, and photos of the riding areas at the facility.

Step 4: References

The MMSC requires three (3) references as an addendum to your adoption application. These references must be: 1) A non-family member character reference, 2) an equine professional reference such as a trainer or riding instructor, and 3) a veterinarian reference. Send the link to the corresponding reference to be completed. Please note, the reference forms for each type of reference are different, so make sure you send the correct link to each reference!

Click the button below to access each online reference form, or download the form to complete by hand (see example). References completed online will be submitted to the MMSC automatically upon completion, and handwritten references may be submitted via mail, fax, or email. Handwritten references MUST have a handwritten signature.

When completing the online reference form, you will be asked to upload of photo of yourself holding a photo ID for identity verification purposes. We only need to see your photo and name on the ID - you can cover up any sensitive information such as your driver's license number or address.

Please contact the MMSC at with any questions or concerns.

Step 5: Approval

Once the MMSC has received all the pieces of your application, including the required filing fee, your application will be processed by MMSC staff.  If we have no questions, the applications are forwarded to a committee of MMSC Board Members. This committee grants or denies approval status based on the suitability of the applicant as a home for an off-track Thoroughbred from the MMSC. This process can take 3-5 business days.

Once approved, your application will remain active for 3 years. If the information about where the horse is living remains accurate, you may adopt a horse from the MMSC at any time during this period.

Step 6: Visit the MMSC and Choose Your OTTB

All approved adopters of HCRP horses are REQUIRED to travel to the MMSC's campus in Lexington, KY to ride the horses prior to adopting.  The MMSC places a high priority on the match between adopter and horse. We want to ensure that not only does the adopter get along with their horse of choice, but that the horse also is happy with the adopter. This cannot be assessed unless you ride the horse/s. We also frequently find that the horse a potential adopter has come to ride and adopt is not the horse that person ends up adopting. There is simply no substitute for sitting on the horses and feeling the connection between horse and rider.

When planning your visit to the MMSC, please contact the MMSC ahead of time. The MMSC calendar can become very busy. We want to make sure that all adopters visiting will have the time and attention they need to select the right horse. Potential adopters are encouraged to bring their own helmets. The MMSC will provide all tack needed, but you are welcome to bring your own saddle and may ride in that saddle if it fits the horse/s.

After visiting and riding the horses, you may choose to arrange a pre-purchase exam. Pre-purchase exams must be conducted at a time agreed upon by the MMSC staff, and they are the financial responsibility of the approved adopter. If you need a recommendation for a vet for your pre-purchase exam, please contact the MMSC.

Step 7: Negotiate an Adoption Fee and Sign an Adoption Contract

Adoption fees are not final until discussed with the MMSC Director Susanna Thomas. All adoption fees are subject to change at any time prior to the signing of the adoption contract, and they are always negotiable to the right home. The MMSC prefers the adoption fee to be paid by check or cash, as a significant portion of the fee is lost to processing fees when using a credit or debit card.

The adopter and the MMSC director will sign two copies of the adoption contract, and each party will keep an original, fully executed copy of the contract. In the contract, the adopter agrees that the adopted horse will never be raced, will never be bred, and will never be sold at auction or to slaughter. The adopter further agrees to participate in the Track for Life program, detailed below.

Step 8: Transport Your OTTB Home

Once the adoption contract has been signed, you will have 7 days to transport your OTTB to its new home. Beyond that date, the MMSC will charge a daily boarding rate of $30/day until the horse ships out. Adopters are welcome to bring a trailer with them when visiting the MMSC to try horses, and should all go well, may take the adopted horse home on the same day. The MMSC has the right to refuse loading of the horse into a personal trailer if it is deemed unsafe or too small. For recommended commercial transportation, click the button below.

Step 9: Track for Life

The MMSC tracks each of its adopted horses for its lifetime. Each year, adopters are required to submit a Track for Life form before the end of the year. In this form, adopters give a brief update on the horse, including its current place of residence, any injuries or illnesses it suffered in the past year, and any training successes it accomplished. Adopters are also required to submit at least two (2) conformation photos of the horse at this time, showing each side of the horse. Photos of horse and adopter enjoying themselves are nice additions to the standard photos and may be shared with the original owner of the horse and/or posted on our website or social media.

Adopters are permitted to sell their MMSC Graduate at any time after the adoption contract has been signed. However, all adopters first must offer notify the MMSC of their intention to sell and offer the MMSC the right of first refusal.  Moreover, the subsequent purchasers of the horse must sign a Transfer of Adoption Contract with the MMSC. These forms must be completed PRIOR to the new owner taking ownership of the horse in question. In this way, the MMSC will continue to track and monitor its horses with updates every year for the rest of each horse's life.

Additional Information

Mailing address:
Maker's Mark Secretariat Center
4089 Iron Works Parkway
Lexington, KY 40511

Phone: 859-246-3080
Fax: 859-246-3082

Email for adoption applications:
Email for general inquiries:

Please notify the MMSC by phone or email if you have submitted your application via fax and have not received a receipt confirmation from an MMSC staff member.