That’s sadly how some horses in Maryland became malnourished and almost crippled due to untrimmed hooves.
The story started when a Woodbine, Maryland, rescue organization was called to a mismanaged farm in 2015, according to USA Today. A third party had contacted the Humane Society of Washington County.
What they found horrified them. Horses stood in stalls stuffed with mounds of manure; the excrement reached up to 3 or 4 feet high in places.
The equines themselves were in even worse shape than their living quarters.
They obviously suffered from malnutrition, the bumps of their knobby spines standing out on their backs. But one of the animals was worse off than the others.
The mare suffered from damaged ligaments, the New York Daily News reported. The injury had irreparably damaged the horse’s joints, making recovery impossible, and veterinarians had to euthanize it.
Two other horses were in better shape, but their hooves had grown over 3-feet-long, curling back on themselves. Rescuers had to trim them prior to transportation.
The Humane Society of Washington County soon turned the pair of horses over to Days End Farm Horse Rescue for further treatment.
“Today your life changes,” Erin Ochoa, the nonprofit’s executive director, told one of the horses, according to the New York Daily News.
The group said that this was the worst case of neglect it had ever seen. Given that Days End Farm Horse Rescue had treated more than 2,100 animals over more than 25 years, that was saying something.
Initially, veterinarians hesitated to provide a prognosis for the horses. They had spent a full decade in confinement, and their gaits hobbled by the terrible state of their hooves.
But things ended well, particularly for one of the horses, a white stallion named Quest. About three years later, Days End Farm Horse Rescue posted an update on his condition on Facebook.
“Quest came to Days End in 2015 suffering from severe hoof neglect,” the group wrote. “He was locked in a stall for 10+ years and his hooves grew over 3 feet in length.
“From the moment Quest arrived at DEFHR he never gave up, and in 4 short months, to our amazement, he completed rehabilitation! The horse that couldn’t walk a short time before was now cleared for training!
“His story inspired thousands of people, and in the Fall of 2017 our hearts grew again when Quest found the perfect home and match in his adopter, Jennie,” the post read.
“In one short year, this pair have enjoyed life together with regular trail rides, fun in the dressage ring winning blue ribbons and simply enjoying time with one another.”
Quest even has his own Instagram page, @questigram, where you can keep up with this horse’s happily ever after.
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