LA GRANGE, KY (WAVE) – 13 horses that were rescued from a Trimble County farm that belongs to Marlena Robinson are recovering at a farm in Oldham County.
They are at Windy Meadows Equestrian Center, all in stable condition. The manager of the farm, Clarke Vesty says they were just eager to eat when they arrived. They were allegedly underfed under Robinson's care.
"It was going to be a death sentence," Vesty said. "You should be able to feel the ribs and never see them."
Vesty says the horses were basically just skin and bones when they arrived under Windy Meadow's care.
"You can see you can see it sticks out, her back bone sticks out and you can see her skin," Vesty said. "She's got terrible dermatitis."
Vesty says the horse business makes you tough but the condition the horses were in made it hard for him to look.
"When I first saw them, the one that looked pretty good—well they didn't look good—but those were the ones standing up, the ones laying down dead…it was gross," Vesty said.
He pries open one pony's mouth. Its teeth are deformed, the top row of teeth ragged.
"It's probably from eating rocks and dirt," Vesty explained.
The former owner of these underfed horses now faces 97 counts of animal cruelty. In Kentucky, that's a misdemeanor.
"Horse capital of the world and we are last in laws, bottom of the pile," Vesty said.
For years, the owner of the farm, Ellie Troutman, has rallied to change the laws.
"I guess where we can start is, that it has a greater penalty to it, instead of trying to write necessarily new laws, is to try to get a felony conviction in these things," Troutman said in a phone call.
As for the horses at the farm, they continue to recover from the injuries they have collected.
"There's no way of knowing what happened," Vesty explained, as he pointed out two scars on a horse's leg. He said she had two abscesses and had to have them drained. "We shaved that leg, keeping her real clean and putting ointment on them
and it's doing well."
Windy Meadows Horse Farm is just a temporary home for these horses, Vesty says they are waiting on court rulings to determine the future of the horses. However, he says he hopes they will all eventually find good forever homes.