Seven Horses Recovering from Severe Starvation

By: Bryan Anderson Email
By: Bryan Anderson Email

Marianna- Hidden Springs Horse Rescue Founder Melanie Higdon is rehabiliting two new rescues this week.

"They're extremely underfed. This one's in a great state of starvation," said Higdon.

The pair of horses are a part of a group of eight found abandoned on a farm in Bonifay last week.

"There was no hay or grain available for them and it was poorly maintained. There was trash and barbed wire on the ground and broken farm equipment," said Higdon.

It was so bad one had to be euthanized.

"My understanding is that horse, because of its state of starvation, layed down and couldn't get back up, it was just simply too weak," said Higdon.

Higdon said the remaining seven are slowly getting better, but unfortunately she told News Channel 7 this most recent incident is not an isolated one.

"With the economy being so bad, there are so many people that cannot afford to take care of their horses and in many instances they can't find a place to put their horses," said Higdon.

She said to fix the problem, it's going to take an improved economy with more jobs and a bigger emphasis on educating people how to properly care for horses.

"You have to be proactive and you have to find out exactly what you need to do if you choose to get a horse," said Higdon.

The Holmes County Sheriff's Office didn't return our calls Tuesday regarding this case. It's not clear if the horses' owner will face animal abuse charges.

If you'd like to help Hidden Springs Horse Rescue, its website is

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  • by Gale Location: Bonifay on Mar 9, 2012 at 11:24 PM
    Amazing! These oversized rats have been around for thousands of years with no problem feeding themselves. Now all of a sudden they have to be hand fed everyday! They had the run of the whole county to find hay and oats, but no....they want to be hand fed by their human servants. Lazy beasts is what they are.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 10, 2012 at 03:25 PM in reply to Gale
      LOL Gale, lazy beasts. I dont know why people want to keep these critters either, then again, i dont know why people choose to keep certain breeds of agressive dogs either. Hay and oats are a food substitute that people give to them when they are pets, oats are not a natural food source for horses, and hay is given to them when they dont have fresh grass to graze on. The wild mustangs that live out in Montana dont get oats. Even theyre populations have to be managed so they dont over populate and starve to death. So they do round ups and auction some of them to become pets every few years.
  • by Ali Location: Holmes co on Mar 9, 2012 at 06:52 AM
    WHOEVER abandoned these poor horses SHOULD go to Jail!!!! There is no excuse,These helpless animals depended on a human for food,shelter,etc.This is a disgrace.
  • by Susie Location: Alabama on Mar 9, 2012 at 06:02 AM
    OMG just turn the horses out if you can not feed them. At least they could find water and some grazing or someone could find them. Come on, use your brain and give them back to nature.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 10, 2012 at 03:12 PM in reply to Susie
      As if deer crossing the roads are not bad enough when you hit them. Have you ever seen what happens to a car when it hits a moose or even an elk, its not pretty. I would hate to see what would happen if someone hit a horse. I dont think letting horses loose to roam at will is a good idea.
  • by Bruce Location: FL on Mar 7, 2012 at 11:02 AM
    There are a number of horse rescue ranches/centers in NWFL the owner could have called for help instead of leaving these animals to starve to death!! I understand the owner was/is facing hardship, i dont think arresting him/her is going to do anyone any good at this point. Maybe there could be more rescue center awareness advertising done to help put an end to this activity of leaving the animals behind to fend for them selfs.
  • by Laura V Location: PCB on Mar 6, 2012 at 06:16 PM
    Who owns these horses? These type of stories make my blood boil. If and when you realized you couldn't afford them, get help!!!
  • by Anonymous on Mar 6, 2012 at 04:51 PM
    What was he going to do with the horses ? He was out of money and couldn't even feed his family ? Why arrest someone for being poor ? You do what you can and when you can't do any more, you should be arrested ? Thats not right. I guess he could have called a shelter about giving up his horses.Maybe the shelters should post this on the news, Can't feed your animals we will take them. Then when someone calls, go get them.
  • by George Location: Panama City on Mar 6, 2012 at 01:00 PM
    "It's not clear if the horses' owner will face animal abuse charges."! If not why not?
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