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Adopt a Horse Program

Ranger on horseEveryone is familiar with the Yellowstone ranger: the hardworking man or woman in uniform who performs myriad duties in the Park year-round. But there is another group of Yellowstone staff you may not know about. Approximately 75 working horses transport many of these rangers and their gear in the Park's front country and backcountry.

One of the most important jobs performed by Yellowstone stock is taking rangers on patrol. Since most of Yellowstone is managed as backcountry, motorized vehicles are not allowed and rangers must cover vast areas of backcountry on foot, skis, or horseback. Even wildlife biologists and researchers rely on stock to access remote areas of the Park.

The work for stock is often tough, putting in long days at high elevation. They carry supplies ranging from firefighting equipment, to search-and-rescue supplies, to trail-building materials.

Unfortunately, Yellowstone's federal appropriations cover only the basics, and are not enough to adequately outfit the number of horses needed by the Park's rangers. The extreme wilderness environment and nature of work requires frequent replacement and turnover of tack and equipment. After food and veterinary care are covered, the leftover resources are spread thin. The horses have old saddles, blankets, and tack that need to be replaced at a faster rate than the current budget allows. Private support can help ensure that the rangers and their stock are better equipped for the important work they perform.

HorsesNow, as part of the Ranger Heritage Initiative, the Yellowstone Park Foundation is offering a special opportunity for you to Adopt a Horse.* Your contribution of any amount to the Adopt a Horse program will help fund the day-to-day care of a Yellowstone horse.

Donors of $250 or more will receive a Ranger Heritage update report each year, reviewing how your donation is benefitting Yellowstone's rangers and the horses on which they rely.

A donation of $2,000 – or around $5.50 per day – will support the cost of keeping a horse for one full year. You, your family, or your riding club can make a big difference for Yellowstone horses and rangers this year.

What will your donation cover? Here is a summary of annual costs per horse:

  • Standard Veterinary Cost $90
    Includes annual vaccines
  • Feed/Mineral $1,275
    Includes pasture for 160 days/year, plus hay, mineral, salt, and grain
  • Shoeing $235
    Includes shoes, nails, and pads, plus associated tools and labor for one year.
  • Equipment $400
    Includes use of riding gear such as saddles, bridles, and blankets for one year

TOTAL per horse, per year = $2,000

There are many horses that will benefit from your symbolic adoption. You can help Yellowstone's hardworking horses at the same time you are assisting its dedicated rangers in protecting, preserving, and enhancing the Park.

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For more information on the Adopt a Horse program, contact Paul Reichert, Projects & Grants Manager, at 406.586.6303 or

* Each horse adoption is symbolic and provides resources Yellowstone urgently needs to better care for its working horses.