BELVIDERE (WIFR) -- A horse starved to the point of being just skin and bones is on the road to recovery after nearly a month at a rehab facility in Boone County.
He was a horse with no name but since arriving at Lora Bertell's farm in Belvidere a month ago, he’s been given a new name and a second chance at life.
"Phoenix Rising, very appropriate for him because he is just doing an amazing job coming from nothing into this amazing horse that he's already becoming," says Lora Bertell, the owner of Bertell Farms, a horse rescue facility in Belvidere.
In March Bertell worked with Boone County Animal Services to take in the 15 year old horse that had been neglected by its owner.
“It’s very rewarding because this horse was close to death and now I think he’s an amazing horse, he's filled in a lot over this top line, it was very sunken in,” Bertell explains.
Muscles have started to return thanks to Bertell and her farm hands. Phoenix has gained about 100 pounds since arriving at the arm; every day he eats 18 pounds of grain along with hay and other supplements.
“He'll come and trot around and flirt with the girls," Bertell explains about the horse’s improved behavior.
This was one of the worst cases of neglect Bertell says she's ever seen; she's been rehabilitating neglected horses for 6 years. She adds, this case will always be dear to her heart.
"It's the best feeling ever. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever done,” Bertell says.
Phoenix still needs to put on 250 more pounds, and he will need to be fed separately from other horses the rest of his life. He’s about 15; the goal is to find a new owner who can keep that in mind when caring for him. Bertell plans to bring him to Cherry Valley Feed on May 10 for a fundraiser for Northern Illinois Horse Rescues.
To learn more about her rescue facility: http://www.bertellfarms.org/