Heel & Hoof Horse rescue

To help as many horses in need as possible whatever their age or condition…


our story

I have been around horses for 60 years. I have always had a love for horses. I bought my first horse when I was sixteen after saving my babysitting money. I went down to the slaughter yard and found an old gelding and brought him home. For many years I trained and raced my wonderful Thoroughbreds. Later I raised Thoroughbred foals. I also taught English riding and Horsemanship. In the 1980’s I started rescuing horses from a meat buyer. I would train them and then rehome them. I was also given surrenders from the race track so they could start a new path in their life.

In 2019 a friend suggested we go to the auctions and rescue those who would end up going to a meat buyer and then to slaughter. So many of these wonderful animals have so much more life in them. I have a real soft spot for the old ones. They tend to be gentle, wise and overlooked because of their age. I have a vet assess their age and take care of any medical needs and my farrier does their feet.

My children also have a love for horses. My son Steven presently helps me with the farm and the horses. We have a 74 acre farm near Okotoks with a small barn and a riding ring. There are several different paddocks and a quarantine area for the new rescues.



Adopt a Horse

Foster a Horse

Sponsor a Horse


TO DONATE: Please E-transfer to ruth@heelandhoofhorserescue.ca or Mail a cheque to Heel and Hoof Horse Rescue to: Site 6, Box 82, RR 1 Okotoks, Ab. T1S 1A1

PLEASE NOTE: At this time I am unable to give a receipt for tax purposes. Also, I would like to thank you in advance for your donation, and assure you that all monies donated goes to the purchase and care of these deserving horses.



Meet Lady

We rescued Lady from an auction, where the only other bidder was the meat buyer! Lady’s feet when she first came home were a grown out mess! When we first got Lady we didn’t know if she was broke or had any handling. So we worked with her to assess her. Turns out she’s a great kid’s horse!

The last image you can see One happy Lady at her new home where she takes care of the kids.

Meet Ebony

At the auction she was terrified. The only other bidder was the meat buyer. When she came home she charged us. We stood our ground and showed her that day, and every day since, that we won’t hurt her.

It took some time to build her trust, but now she’s in our pocket, literally, looking for attention and treats. We determined she was ridden before but severely abused and because of this, she’s staying here so we can work with her more.

She’s enjoys being worked with now.

Meet Axle

Axle is another auction rescue that would have gone to slaughter. He’s very high energy but willing to learn.

Axle’s feet were in horrible condition

We use the ball, tossing it back and forth over and under him, to help him get used to movement around him so he won’t spook with any sudden or unexpected movement. Another method of desensitizing we used was to wave a flag around him.

Turns out Axle loves the trails. He wasn’t too fond of the arena even though he was well behaved. Here’s a photo of when we took him for a 5 hour trail ride in Bragg Creek.

He has been re-homed as a trail/ pasture pet.

Meet Oki

Oki was found online and he would have ended up in Auction as he has a hunters hip. This is the week we got him.

We recently discovered he was only 2.5 years old when we got him.

When we first got him he was untouchable. We gave him food three times a day, and worked with gaining his trust. Now, he’s about 3.5 and he loves attention and treats. He will always be a permanent resident in his new home.

we would love to hear from you

contact us

Ruth McDonald

Site 6, Box 82, RR 1
Okotoks, Ab. T1S 1A1

Phone: 403 938 6801

Email: ruth@heelandhoofhorserescue.ca