An American charity has released images of a stallion brought into its care with grotesquely overgrown hooves.
Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Maryland said two emaciated horses – a full-sized stallion and a miniature stallion – were removed from a stall piled high with manure.
At the scene where the horses were impounded, the group’s executive director, Erin Ochoa, told the grey stallion: “Today your life changes.”
The pair are now receiving rehabilitative care.
The nonprofit group said a miniature mare had to be euthanized on the property. She was found to have ruptured ligaments, causing irreparable fetlock dislocation, it said.
The surviving pair were described as being in critical condition, with the worst hoof neglect the veterinarian and farrier had seen.
“The hooves on two of the horses were so long – over 3 feet – that the horses could barely move without being at risk of getting tangled in their own hooves,” it said in a statement.
In order to transport them safely to the charity’s base, the vet and farrier worked together to sedate the horses and lay them down so they could remove portions of their hooves.
The state of the horses on the property were revealed when a citizen called the Humane Society of Washington County with concerns about the welfare of pet pigeons.
It is standard practice during welfare inspections to check all animals on the property, which is how the horses were discovered.
The investigation is ongoing.
Days End said it had rescued more than 3000 horses in its 26-year history.
These were the worst, most extreme cases of hoof neglect the organization had ever seen, it said.
The group, which has 78 horses in its care, estimates that critical rehabilitative care for the pair is likely to cost up to $US2400 a month each. It appealed for donations and support for the duo.
All donations are tax deductible. To donate, go to www.defhr.org.