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Muskegon 4-H saves 8 horses from starvation

Posted at 10:19 PM, Nov 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-14 23:26:27-05

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. -- In August, Nancy Smith got a call from the Muskegon County Sheriff's office about eight horses that were seized from their owner. They were in really bad shape, so malnourished that veterinarians didn't expect any of them to make it.

Now, against all odds, those horses are alive and well.

Nancy's been rescuing horses with her husband out of pocket for decades. She's also the local 4-H leader, and in charge of the Muskegon County Mounted Unit. She didn't have room for eight horses, but also says she couldn't turn them away.

“It makes you very angry, it makes you very disappointed that people don’t tuck away their pride and ask for help,” Smith said.

Nancy enlisted her 4-H kids to help rehabilitate the horses. It's a good thing she did, because without president Ashleigh Ralston, one horse, Chrome, might not have made it.

“We figured, it was going to be his last meal, we might as well make it worth it,” Ralston said.

Ralston stood with the 4-year-old stallion in the rain for three hours to make sure he ate. Chrome kept trying to eat, but couldn't because of a dental issue. Now he's a brand new horse.

But the journey is far from over. Four of the eight horses have been returned to their owners, not with the trainer who they were seized from. Nancy and the 4-H kids are taking care of the other four, which in early spring will become five. One of the horses is pregnant, only adding to the long list of expenses. If you'd like to help donate, the Smiths' have a GoFundMe set up.