Mini Horse Neglected for Years, Found with Overgrown 12-Inch Hooves

For seven years, this miniature horse lived in a barn devoid of attention, love and care. He didn’t even have a name. The abused horse wasn’t allowed to run in a pasture or perform other horse-like behaviors.

In December, 2014 a call was received at the Ohio SPCA about this mini horse and the deplorable conditions he was living in. When two Ohio SPCA animal cruelty investigators responded to the call and visited the property in Morgan County, Ohio they were stunned. The mini horse could barley walk due to the overgrowth of his hooves which were in the form of spirals on all four legs.

Thankfully, Fabio’s owner agreed to surrender him to Ohio SPCA. Teresa Landon, Director of the Ohio SPCA  told Care2 this mini horse’s owner “…was going to have a backhoe brought in and shoot Fabio. It was immediately evident that his hooves had not been trimmed in many years. He was able to walk very slowly to the horse trailer. It was very difficult for him, as his hooves would hit one another, as he tried to lift his feet to make progress” said Landon.



All in all, about 15 pounds of hooves had to be gradually removed from the little fellow, with the longest being 12 inches. Ohio SPCA consulted expert farriers from Kentucky to devise an appropriate treatment plan. They were advised to initially cut off half of the length of the mis-formed hooves and give Fabio a week or so to get used to the change.  Then another 50 percent was removed, again with more time for the mini horse to adjust.  Eventually all overgrowth was removed.

After X-rays were performed, the SPCA learned there is permanent damage to Fabio’s hooves. Dr. Christopher Beinlich of Woodland Run Veterinary Clinic explained “You can see the hoof is completely grown in a spiral.  And as you follow the bones down, they’re nice and in alignment. When you get to the coffin bone or the foot bone, which is inside the hoof, it is tilted. It’s almost comparable to us walking on the outside of our ankles,” he said.


As Landon said “If it’s painful to look at, we can only imagine how it felt.”

Normally, horse’s hooves should be trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks. Because of Fabio’s structural damage, his will require trimming every 4 to 5 weeks. Several more months of corrective trimming will be necessary before Fabio can be considered for adoption.

“When investigators rescued him, you could see the fear in his eyes,” Landon told Care2. “The fear is gone now, and Fabio is learning that human hands can be kind and loving. This sweet little mini will make a great companion for someone.”

When Fabio is ready for adoption he will only be allowed to become a pet, as the bone damage to his hooves prevents him from being ridden. Aside from companions, mini horses make great service animals.  Many are trained to assist the the blind and other people with disabilities.

*Animal cruelty charges are being considered by the Morgan County Prosecutor. Hopefully the person who so severely neglected Fabio will face the law and receive the maximum penalty.


*Edit 02/06/2015: This post previously featured a call to action which has now been removed.


Susan Griffiths
Susan Griffiths3 years ago

Can we have an update on the 'consideration' of charges. I think most of us who have read and commented on this article want to know if these people have been charged and have they been found guilty and what penalty did they receive. UPDATE PLW EASE.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Dana Kingsley
Dana K3 years ago

Nothing to 'consider' -do the right thing - why do laws allow people to get away with any cruelty at all towards animals?

Catherine Haessig

Lock the owner up & never allow them to own any pet in there lifetime.

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran4 years ago


Karen Boyd
K B4 years ago

What do you mean "animal cruelty charges are being considered"? I don't understand - if that's not animal cruelty what is? Is this person being allowed to own other animals? SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!!!!!!

Paulinha Russell
Paulinha Russell4 years ago

Poor baby

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H4 years ago

It finally sunk in to me that this is Ohio we are talking about. The state that killed wildlife because of the crazy idiot owner who set them free with good ol' boy Jack Hanna giving the orders to shoot to kill. Afterwards there was debate on whether the remaining animals should be returned to the idiots wife.

What is this states thinking? When is it going to take abuse seriously? There is no doubt.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H4 years ago

I read the article title and was sure it would be a slight exageration. But when I opened the article and saw the picture I got sick to my stomach. How can anyone allow that the happen to any animal. I agree with Marilyn G. "the owner agreed"? That should not have been a concern. Get the animal out of the abusive situation. "Considering charges"? What is there to consider? The proof is in the picture; just do it and throw the owners butt in jail.

Lisa Zarafonetis
Lisa Zarafonetis4 years ago

This piece of sh!t CRETIN should be beaten within a 1/2 inch of his life !!! :{