Four malnourished horses were rescued in Princeton from an owner who could no longer afford feed them.
Peaches was on the brink of starvation when she was surrendered by a man in Princeton on Feb. 15.
She weighed 500 pounds when B.C. Interior Horse Rescue got her, but is supposed to weight more than double that based on her size.
Peaches now wears a sweater when outside because she is so underweight that bones can be clearly seen under her skin.
The other horses rescued were also starving – they weighed only between 700 and 800 pounds.
“They want to constantly eat, but we can’t overfeed them. We have to wait for everything to adjust back to normal,” said Levi Huston from the organization.
The four horses were in the worst shape she has ever seen, but are expected to make a full recovery.
Peaches and another horse may be pregnant, but it’s not easy to tell because they are so skinny, Huston said.
A veterinarian is examining the horses this week to see if they are expecting.
The horses are aggressive with their food because they’re used to not being given enough.
“They want to fight over it because they want as much food as they can,” Huston said.
The four horses now have use of a contraption that releases small amounts of food at a time so they can eat all day without gorging themselves.
The exact ages of the horses aren’t known, but Huston predicts they’re around eight to nine years old.
The man who surrendered them did the right thing by giving them up, but should have brought them to the rescue organization much sooner, she said.
The owner was going through hard times financially and couldn’t afford to look after them, she added.
“A lot of times people don’t realize how expensive it is to feed a horse.”
It can cost around $300 to properly look after a healthy horse, and that doesn’t include medical issues that pop up, Huston said.
People often buy horses in bad shape from auctions not realizing how much money they need to care for them.
Vet bills can easily add up over time, especially if someone owns more than one horse, Huston said.
The rescue organization has seen a recent increase in the number of abused animals brought in.
Seven extremely malnourished horses were rescued last week, adding to the existing herd of eight and a family of llamas.
The B.C. Interior Horse Rescue Society has had calls from Princeton residents thanking them for taking in the horses.
The organization is need of donations because of health care and feeding costs. Around $650 is spent each week on food.