Equine Rescue

Horse Imprisoned In Stall For Years Learns To Trust Man Who Set Him Free

Source:  the dodo

By Rhona Melsky

The first step he took out of his stall was the hardest.

Monty, a horse locked away in a filthy stall for years, did not seem to understand what was going on. He was hesitant and frightened about coming out of his makeshift prison, where the only attention he received was when his owner threw in some hay, food and water. His only friends were the flies that circled and landed on his gaunt frame.


Monty locked in his stall  (Michelle Forster)

When his rescuer, Travis Underwood, first saw Monty, he didn’t know what to expect when he opened the gate.


(Travis Underwood)

Monty was one among many horses and dogs found on a 10-acre property in Scottsdale, Arizona, in the summer of 2014. Trisha Houlihan, founder and executive director of Saving Paws Rescue, AZ of Phoenix, had been alerted about neglected dogs on the property, Michelle Forster, a volunteer with the organization, told The Dodo.


(Photo: Michelle Forster)

The woman who owned the property, known only as Donna, had been left with animals after her husband died in the summer of 2014 after a long illness, and everything at the property went into disarray. “Her husband kept her isolated,” Forster said.

According to Forster, Donna’s husband had been breeding German shepherds and owned roughly 21 horses. The widow reached out because she needed homes for two of the dogs who had been severely neglected. When Forster did a courtesy call to check on the dogs and take photos, she had no idea she would find an animal hoarding situation in the process. However, the animals did have food, water and shelter, as required by Arizona law.

Due to the horrible conditions, Houlihan accompanied Forster on a subsequent visit to document the animals. She reached out to Underwood, a longtime volunteer with Saving Paws, for his assistance.


Travis gains Monty’s trust (Lisa Cramton)

Initially, Donna wanted to sell the horses, mainly Arabians and quarter horses. “But the market was saturated at the time,” Forster said. “Everyone was trying to get her to understand that the horses didn’t have the value that she originally thought.”

The horses had been badly bitten by flies, and they had not received any general care. They were not let out of their stalls, had not been exercised, and were denied hoof care, vet care and basic grooming. Although some of the horses were worth money on paper, most were not marketable because they had not been trained and were in bad condition.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

5 replies »

  1. These animals are far luckier than a lot – they at the very least got food & water! What a shame this woman didn’t reach out before – for her sake & the horses(& mule)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As with the beautiful horse Monty, one step at a time is the only way we can make progress … and that’s so true for any of us who fight daily for wild horses and burros and for all animals.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmmm. This horse and these living conditions look far better than many boarding stables provide. The horse was not confined to a stall but had a stall with clean, dry run, airflow, shade, other horses nearby, and isn’t “gaunt” but is an Arabian of normal body type. He appears to have perhaps once had an injury on his left front leg which may make him unrideable. He may also be a pedigreed stallion, so not allowed free exercise with other horses (a common practice).

    I think we all must be more responsible about pointing fingers and using the “a” word. Based only on what I read here, it appears this woman was not involved in managing the animals before her husband’s death, then had to deal with possibly a long illness and grief none of us can comprehend. It is perhaps a miracle the animals are in a good a shape as they seem to be here, but it does indicate some degree of plan was in place or at least resources to keep them fed and cared for.

    If any blame is to be placed, let’s put it where it belongs – on the husband who acquired and bred these animals without leaving in place a comprehensive plan for what to do (and who would legally be allowed to do it) “in the event” of an untimely death.

    Everyone reading this and this article, who also owns animals, should take this as an object lesson and write up a plan for your own animals. I did long ago because it is my responsibility to care for those I love, even if I can’t do it myself.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It sure is a nice place and I assuming before the husband got sick, everything was well taken care of. Glad there are still hero’s out there who could help.


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