When Hurricane Michael made landfall in 2018, countless homes and entire towns were devastated. The Florida Panhandle was faced with a humanitarian crisis, and thousands of people and animals were left stranded. The area has since started a long road to recovery, but the aftereffects of that major storm are still seen today. One of those tragic tales is about a rescue horse named Monty.
Hurricane Michael changed Monty's life, but thanks to a dedicated teenager and her family at West Coast Morgans, he's well on his way to a better life.
Monty was one of 18 horses owned by an elderly couple in Ocala, FL. He was kept outside 24/7 and endured only minimal interactions with humans. He wasn't trained, and he lived mostly wild with his herd. But when the sky darkened and the hurricane's rain continued to fall, the pasture where he lived quickly flooded. He and the other horses retreated to a small patch of dry land. That's where they stayed for weeks after the storm ended.
When the water didn't recede and the horses weren't removed, neighbors contacted the Marion County Animal Rescue Center for help. Rescuers guided the horses through the floodwaters and transported them to their small facility for displaced animals. At this point, a high school student, Rachael Winograd, learned about what was happening to these Morgan horses. As a dedicated equestrian, Rachael was spearheading an equine rescue and rehabilitation project for school. She went to visit the displaced horses and immediately decided to adopt a sweet Morgan horse named Pumpkin. Rachael's family owns the beautiful West Coast Morgans farm near Tampa, and together they rehabbed the rescue and quickly found her a new home. With Pumpkin's success, Rachael then went back to the pen.
She fell in love with a horse named Monty, and she knew she had to help.
Rachael took a chance and adopted Monty. He was skinny, malnourished, his mane and tail were reduced to dirty dreads, his hooves overgrown, and the poor horse was full of parasites. She knew this wasn't going to be as smooth an experience as she had with Pumpkin. But she also knew she could provide him with his best shot at a good life.
With almost zero experience with humans, Monty had to learn basic behaviors before it would be safe for him at the barn. He was then transferred to a second hand equine rehabilitation facility. There he was gelded and learned basic behavioral skills in order to be handled regularly and be willing to be taught more tasks. After six weeks, Monty was finally ready to move in with the West Coast Morgans family.
With patience, and a lot of love, the team at West Coast Morgans gradually brought Monty back from the brink. They treated his veterinary needs and started his training, and now this rescue horse is ready to take on the best part of his life.
West Coast Morgans is hoping to find the perfect adopter to give Monty the life he deserves.
They describe him as a "sweet and spunky" 14'2''hh Morgan horse with a lot of potential. He can be handled, put in cross ties, and is well behaved for the vet and farrier. They recommend an experienced horseman to continue his training and get him ready for the saddle.
West Coast Morgans is open to inquiries and is asking for a $500 donation for Monty that will go toward continuing their rescue efforts. There are two more horses from Monty's original herd still in need of help.
Contact West Coast Morgans if you're interested in meeting Monty!
If interested, please call (813) 920-9870 or email [email protected]