BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio -- Two underweight horses at a Hueston Woods State Park riding stable are recovering and should be ready to ride next spring, according to a state veterinarian.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio Department of Natural Resources investigated the condition of horses at Three Bar C Riding Stable after photographs of the horses surfaced on social media.
The vet also found their owner, Mark Chenoweth, appeared to be taking good care of the animals and gave them penicillin to help them overcome an illness they developed two weeks after he bought them from a slaughter sale in July.
The disease, a Streptococcus equi infection called "the Strangles," frequently causes animals to have trouble swallowing and eating. The veterinarian said penicillin is the preferred treatment.
"During the time of recovery from the Strangles, both horses had difficulty eating which aggravated their existing poor condition," Dr. R.D. Carey wrote.
By Friday, they were eating hay, and Carey wrote other horses under Chenoweth's care appeared to be in "excellent body condition and doing well."
Neither animal was used for trail rides while they recovered, Chenoweth told WCPO media partner the Journal-News.
Carey said Chenoweth knows how to care for horses and expected the two underweight horses would continue to improve. Both animals are about 25 to 30 years old; Carey said a horse used for public riding is "normally up in years."
"If Mr. Chenoweth provides the same riding services next year for Hueston Woods State Park, people need to understand that in addition to sufficient nutrition, a horse needs to be exercised and worked to develop muscle mass and exhibit an appealing appearance," Carey wrote.
Other horses brought to Hueston Woods in the past have appeared to be in better shape after a few months of being ridden than when they were first brought to the park, Carey wrote.
The stable is getting ready to shut down for the winter, and Chenoweth told the Journal-News he would be moving the horses to another pasture for the off season.