MORRISONVILLE - When Karen L. Newton learns of a horse in need, she's always ready and willing to help.
Most recently, Newton - owner of the horse boarding and riding lesson business Tamarack Stables - learned of one such horse that had been neglected by owners who "simply couldn't afford to take care of her," Newton said.
"She was given to a good family, but the husband couldn't work anymore and couldn't afford her food," explained Newton. "The people were actually not abusive to her ... but they weren't feeding her. She was awfully thin."
Newton was put in touch with the family by one of the horse's former owners, and it was arranged for "Taylor" to be surrendered into Newton's care a little more than a month ago.
"These people gave her up willingly, but they should have given her up months ago," Newton said.
When Newton arrived to pick up Taylor, she could tell the animal was malnourished.
"It wasn't until we got her home and took a closer look at her that we realized just how skinny she was," said Newton.
Other than being slightly dehydrated and lethargic when she first took her in, Newton said Taylor's extremely low weight had not yet created any other health concerns. Taylor, who is a thoroughbred, should weigh somewhere around 1,200 pounds, said Newton. When Taylor stepped on the scales, she weighed only 974 pounds.
"She was in pretty rough shape," Newton said. "I honestly don't think she would have made it through the winter if she had stayed where she was."
Dr. Olivia Cashman, with Eagle's Nest Veterinary Hospital in Plattsburgh, agreed. Cashman was called upon by Newton to examine Taylor and was taken back by the animal's state of severe emaciation.
"You could see every rib, her backbone, pelvic bone. There wasn't a very good covering of flesh over those areas," recalled Cashman. "And, it's all because she hadn't had proper nutrition in so long."
"She's very lucky Karen took her in when she did," added Cashman.
Since being under Newton's care, Taylor's weight is up to approximately 1,033 pounds. Though promising, Taylor still has a long road ahead, said Cashman.
"It's probably going to take a while for her to get back to a good health," said Cashman. "You don't want her to gain weight too fast. A steady progression to a proper weight is better."
Cashman estimated it will be at least "a couple months" until Taylor is at the right weight for her breed and in stable physical condition.
"She still has a couple hundred pounds to go," Cashman said.
The most important thing, Newton said, is that Taylor is already showing signs of improvement.
"After she started getting food in her system, she started perking right up and acting like a normal horse," Newton said. "Now, she's purring with the other horses and whinnying - acting like she should."
"Knowing that she's doing a lot better and that she's going to be okay makes me feel good," she added.
(Editor's Note: Newton added that Taylor's road to recovery may also be a road to new family as she has received interest from a girl interested in adopting her. We'll keep our readers posted on what Taylor's future has in store.)