Starving horses on road to recovery

Nearly 20 horses are on the road to recovery, less than two weeks after they were rescued from a Rock Island County farm where they were found shockingly thin and underfed.

Some of the worst, like Olive Oil, have come a long way in the past week.

“She is a horse that you call ‘in your pocket.’ She always wants to be right next to you, she loves people now,” said trainer Leslie Hahn.

The difference seven days can make is visible. Hahn estimates Olive Oil put on close to 50 pounds. The rain rot, a skin infection, is less noticeable, and a sparkle is coming back to her eyes. Full health, though, is likely still several months away.

“It’s heartbreaking, it’s disturbing, it makes me angry. There’s no reason for it,” said Leslie Johnston. Johnston adopted “Horse Number Seven” after helping out at Schone’s Farm.

“I found this one that really reminded me of one I used to have when I was little, and so I just decided he had to come home with me,” said Johnston.

Since they were rescued, seven of the horses have been adopted. Johnston says she can feel their gratitude.

“When you handle him, when you do something with him, it’s like he’s grateful. I know that horses don’t have that, but… when I turn him out to go have grass, he’s just so happy to be out eating grass, and he greets me every morning, and he’s just really happy,” said Johnston.

That still leaves nearly a dozen horses at Schone’s Farm, including one with a blind eye and another with a bad leg. Everyone at Schone’s hopes to see them find homes before winter.

“It feels so good to see them improving, and they’re becoming more friendly. They know that they’re not going to be treated bad anymore,” said Hahn.

The investigation into the horses’ previous owner continues. In the meantime, a fundraiser is planned for the rescued horses’ care on November 3, at Schone’s Farm in Milan.

Click here for more news from Rock Island and West Rock Island County

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