Wild Horse and Burro Adoptions in Cross Plains

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When most people adopt animals, they go to a local shelter to pick out a cuddly dog or cat. But folks who find their way down Couts-Carr Road in Cross Plains, Tennessee, to Paula and Randall Carr’s ranch are likely to return home with something a little larger. (Watch a video of their animals here.)

Randall and Paula Carr, Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center, Cross Plains, TN

For more than 30 years, the couple has operated Carr’s Wild Horse and Burro Center, partnering with both the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to facilitate the adoption of wild horses and burros relocated from out West. Over the years, the Carrs have placed more than 20,000 animals, and with numbers that high, it’s no wonder their work earned them a place in the Western States Wild Horse and Burro Expo Hall of Fame in 2005.

The Carrs hold annual equine adoption events at their northern Middle Tennessee ranch and manage adoptions at satellite sites throughout the Southeast and Midwest. The biggest event is held each fall when the FWS brings about 200 animals to the Carrs’ ranch from Nevada’s Sheldon-Hart Wildlife Refuge, where there is an overabundance of wild horses and burros.


CarrÕs Horse & Burro Center

In addition, every month the Carrs and their wranglers haul and set up corral panels, chutes and water troughs at satellite locations where they help the BLM sort, halter, handle and place another 150-200 wild equines. Moving the animals from the West to homes in the East helps prevent overpopulation in areas where resources can get scarce.

All sorts of people, from mom-and-pop homesteaders to celebrities such as musicians Bill Monroe and members of The Oak Ridge Boys, and even famed fashion designer Oleg Cassini, have adopted through the Carrs.

What sort of adoption appeal do these wild equines have? “People feel they’re getting a little piece of the Old West,” Paula says.

“Plus, no one has taught these horses anything, so no one has messed them up,” Randall adds.

“You are really getting a pure animal to train just the way you want,” Paula continues.


CarrÕs Horse & Burro Center

American wild horses, also known as mustangs, are crossbred animals descended from horses brought to North America by Spaniards in the 15th century, as well as from domesticated horses brought to the West by American settlers in the 1800s. The horses that escaped or were abandoned became feral and still breed prolifically in Western states.

Paula finds the hardy little burros particularly appealing and believes they are a bit smarter than horses. Clients new to equine adoption and training often prefer them because, she says, “they don’t feel so intimidated with the smaller burro as compared to the bigger horse.” These small donkeys, natives of Africa, were also introduced to North America by the Spaniards, who used them as pack animals. They are comically long-eared, bristly and sure-footed, and adapt well to hot, dry climates.

Adopt Wild Burros at Carr's Ranch in Tennessee

Adoptions aren’t the only events on the Carrs’ busy calendar. As chairwoman of the Robertson County Farm Bureau Women, Paula works to educate the public about farm life. She works with the organization’s Farm City Days program, bringing hundreds of non-farm kids out to the country to experience a taste of rural life. In 2006, Farm Bureau Women named her the No. 1 Farm Bureau Woman in the state.

Paula also serves as board of directors president of the Mustang Heritage Foundation, which sponsors Extreme Mustang Makeover events held all over the country. The Makeover matches 100 trainers, amateurs and professionals, with 100 mustangs and gives them 100 days to train the horses and prepare for a showcase competition and adoption event.

amazing to see how much people learn about the animals and how close they get to them,” Paula says. “You might even see a big old cowboy cry when he sees the horse he trained get adopted.”

Adopt an Animal

Find Carr’s Wild Horse and Burro Center at 4844 Couts-Carr Road in Cross Plains, or on the Web at www.carrranch.com. Call Paula and Randall at (615) 654-2180 to find out more about upcoming adoption events.


  1. Charlotte Jones

    December 29, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I just seen your advrertisement in our one of our local paper’s, so i jumped online to learn more about your organization. I think it is a WONDERFUL thing you do Mr. and Mrs. Carr. Horses are a passion of mine and have been my entire life. We have two at the present that we love and care for with all our heart’s. I would certainly enjoy visiting your ranch oneday!! I’m not certain where exactly you are located, we live in middle Tn.[Belvidere,Tn.] Anyway, thank you for all the kind and hard work you do into helping these great horses. I will stay in touch online,and hopefully beable to meet you and all your stock oneday SOON!!!

  2. Jamie Wenning

    January 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I just love what you guys do for these amazing animals. i have adopted a few mustangs, my dad got me started on mustangs he always brought me to the cross plains facility. He has been adopting them for years now they really are unbelievable. You could not ask for a better partner then a wild horse that you have worked with and have gained their trust. it really is a beautiful relationship to have. thank you for letting the people experience them. Are you still having adoptions in cross plain if so i would love to come to another.

  3. Jessy Yancey

    February 15, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Matthew, I’m not sure if the Carrs will get your message from our website. You can contact them directly at carranch.com. Thanks!

  4. Kimberly Fisher

    March 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I think about a month ago me and my fiance’ went to cross plains and we adopted 2 wild mustangs. Let me tell you something. Just within that month of us having them and letting them get to know us and depend on us, their trust that they have given us is so remarkable. It makes you feel amazing inside that they give you that trust. The horse that I have taken up with & i guess you could say that she has done the same with me because she follows me around the field when I’m out with her. I go out everyday and give her my attention. I am so glad that I found these folks to get these horses from because they are so remarkable & I wouldn’t trade them for anything else.

  5. johnny &n shari richardson

    March 10, 2011 at 6:15 am

    we are interested in adopting a burro. could you tell me what is required of me. how much fenced in area do i need etc. look forward to hearing from you. thank you

  6. chantelle marie

    June 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    I am interested in adopting a mustang with the paint color. I have had several horses growing up ranging from thoroughbreds to quarters to mixed breeds. I have got to experiance training and riding a mustang named rose who won third place in pole bending. The lady she belonged to recently sold her so now I am out to purchase my own beautiful and spirited mustang that I will hopefully be riding at MTSU where I will be in college at studying horse science. Your adoption agency was highly recomended to me .

    • Jessy Yancey

      June 15, 2012 at 9:31 am

      Hi Chantelle,

      Call Paula and Randall at (615) 654-2180 to find out more about upcoming adoption events, or visit http://www.carrranch.com. Thanks!

      Jessy Yancey
      editor, Tennessee Home & Farm

  7. Kristi Caudill

    July 17, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Dear Randall and Paula Carr
    You have never met me nor did I ever get the pleasure of meeting you both but i was married to one of your former employees, Kevin Caudill of Eubank, Ky. He has talked so highly of you both and has told me so many many stories about you and what you do and how he loved working for you. we took a ride one day and we drove over to where he worked and he showed me the old cabin he said he stayed in. we took a few pictures and I must say as we drove away Kevin got a tear in his eye. You both, as a couple, truely made an impact on Kevins life. Kevin is not in good health these daysand I just want to let you both know what wonderful people you must be to always put a smile on Kevins face when he talks of you and the ranch and Cross Plains, Tn. Thank You.

    God Bless,
    Kristi Caudill

  8. Stephanie

    September 30, 2012 at 8:46 am

    I would like to adopt a horse. I have 42 acres + A stall to put her in,lots of green grass, good feed, Strategy< and good quality hay, Timothy Orchard.


    • Jessy Yancey

      October 1, 2012 at 9:07 am

      Hi Stephanie,

      To find out more about upcoming adoption events, please call Carr Ranch at (615) 654-2180 or visit http://www.carrranch.com. Thanks!

      Jessy Yancey
      Tennessee Home & Farm magazine

  9. Destiny Fisher

    June 17, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I would love to buy one of your wild horses! How much are they and were are you located at?

    • Rachel Bertone

      June 18, 2014 at 9:16 am

      Hi Destiny,

      Thanks for your comment! For more information on Carr’s Wild Horse and Burro Center, please contact them directly at 615-654-2180. Hope this helps!

      Rachel Bertone
      editor, Tennessee Home and Farm

  10. Leonatummins

    December 13, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    Yes I am looking for hores that are on crossplains farm you can adoption.

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