Occasionally, someone rescues a neglected horse. But in Licking County this week, volunteers from the Mystery Lane Farm rescued an entire herd.
In this case, the animals weren't just thin, but also very small.
Kelly Carder lifted the newest member of her extended family and hugged him close on Thursday.
"He's like my little dog," she laughed. "Being able to hold one like this is pretty special."
Special and unusual, since it's not every day you can pick up a horse.
In this case, the horse is miniature, less than 25 pounds, and just 3 weeks old.
He and his mother, whom Carder also adopted, were part of a herd of 40 miniature horses.
Last Sunday, their owner died.
The Buckeye Lake Humane Society asked the horse rescuers at Mystery Lane Farm in Thornville for help.
Volunteers, Carder and Cindi Brown loaded all 40 animals into three horse trailers and brought them to the rescue farm.
"They were all turned out together in one big pasture. There wasn't a whole lot of grass left. Mostly weeds," Carder said.
Brown pointed to protruding hip bones on Parker, an 11-year-old stallion.
"This should be rounded and it's not," Brown said. "You should not see any of this, or the ribs."
She picked up a brush and began to stroke the horse, and said that when they brought Parker to the farm, he was too weak to stand. So he rested in a sling.
But after two days of munching on alfalfa hay and mineral salt, he's strong enough to stand on his own again.
"It makes me really sad. It breaks my heart. But (I’m) glad to know that we've had a lot of people step up to take care of them all," Brown said.
A veterinarian volunteered to check on the horses.
The humane society and the miniature horse association put out the word on social media that 40 miniature horses needed adoption.
Within 72 hours, most were spoken for.
Calls came in from as far as Florida and California.
Kelly says with enough food and love, all the horses should recover quickly.
"Let them have good quiet, friendly, happy lives again," she said.
All but one miniature horse has been adopted. Most will become pets.
Mystery Lane Farm is accepting donations to pay for the food for these animals, and also has some standard size horses that need good homes.
Click here for more information.
Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for more information.