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Four Corners Equine Rescue, a nonprofit organization in Flora Vista, took charge of the four stallions and two mares, and will now need help with the costs for their care and rehabilitation.

The horses’ plight would have not been known had a complaint over the horses at the resident’s property not been made to the New Mexico Livestock Board.

Debbie Coburn, the organization’s director, said the horses, whose ages she estimated to range from 10 to about 21, were without sufficient food or shelter.

“It’s a hoarding situation,” Coburn said. “The place had trash, barbed wire, pipe, broken stuff — basically five acres of junk. Two were kept in a pen piled so high with manure the beams of the awning scraped their backs.”

With the help of DeLaws Lindsay and other rescue volunteers, the horses were taken to Lindsay’s Bloomfield home and horse stables where the rescue hopes to start the long, uncertain process of rehabilitating them. The long-term goal is to place them in good homes.

But that process could take about a year, and the initial costs will be in the thousands of dollars, Coburn said.

The four stallions have visible bite marks and other scars, protruding ribs and backbones, and worn hooves — all clear signs of neglect, Coburn said.

Lindsay, who is a professional horse trainer and Bloomfield city councilor, said the horses will need to be halter trained and strengthened before they are on the road to recovery.

“The money all starts now,” Lindsay said on Wednesday. “We’ll get them gentled and built up. But right now, people putting a halter on them and telling them what to do is not in their vocabulary.”

Gary Mora, area three supervisor for the Livestock Board, said the case is under investigation and the former owner could face misdemeanor cruelty charges.

“It is officer discretion to charge him with cruelty to animals or educate him,” Mora said by phone on Thursday. “The horses having been relocated is a good thing. What Coburn’s organization does is good. Hopefully, she can place them in homes in the future.”

If prosecuted, the owner could face misdemeanor cruelty charges of $1,000 per animal and/or 365 days in jail, Mora said.

Coburn said she is taking one of the horses — Copper, an older sorrel mare whose hooves are in such bad shape she can’t stand up straight — to a veterinarian today, but is concerned the horse may ultimately have to be put down.

“We’re going to try to get her to stand straight again, but it’s a process,” Coburn said. “She sure dang deserves a good retirement. She’s a kind, gentle horse. ... Unfortunately, the long-term neglect will tell the story.”

HOW TO HELP

debbie@fourcornersequinerescue.org

fourcornersequinerescue.org

James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621 and jfenton@daily-times.com. Follow him @fentondt on Twitter.

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