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Horse Haven rescues two emaciated Arabian horses near death, says it's worst they've seen

Horse Haven of Tennessee said three horses were hundreds of pounds underweight and near death when they found them. One horse didn't make it and the two rescued, Chip and Dale, are being cared for and improving.

Two Arabian horses are fighting for their lives after being found in a horrific state of emaciation in Southeast Tennessee.

Horse Haven of Tennessee said it received a call about three horses that were extremely underweight in a quarantine lot. A group of horse advocates gathered money to release the horses from the lot, and when Horse Haven arrived, they said they witnessed a case a severe emaciation -- with the three horses wasting away and barely clinging to life.

One of the three horses did not make it. Horse Haven said the gray mare had nothing left to give and was too weak to even stand, and when she had laid down she did not stand again.

The two surviving horses were loaded up and rapidly delivered to the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center's ICU.

The two rescued Arabian horses were named Chip, who's a sorrel gelding, and Dale, a bay mare. Both were estimated to be in there 20s.

Both Horse Haven and veterinarians said the horses were possibly in the one of the worst states of frailty they've ever witnessed and likely hadn't eaten in months.

Photo: Horse Haven of Tennessee

Jocelyn Smith, the equine manager at Horse Haven, said Chip weighed 370 pounds and Dale was a heartbreaking 350 pounds -- which is hundreds of pounds underweight. Healthy Arabian horses generally weigh between 800 to 1,000 pounds, according to Smith.

"These are probably the worst horses I've ever seen," Smith said. "The attending veterinarian said if she could give them a score less than 1, she would have because they don't even reach that."

The two also had a number of other health issues. Vets found parasites in the two and Chip had broken his jaw approximately three weeks ago.

The two horses' road to recovery will begin once they are given the medical care they need to survive the coming months. Once they are released from the vet, Horse Haven said they will be searching for a forever home for them while making sure they are able to safely put weight back on again.

Smith said on Wednesday that Dale's health has improved enough that she may be moved to a regular stall soon. Chip is also doing well, and their IV ports have been removed and progress to recovery is happening.

Smith said the re-feeding process will likely take around 6 to 8 months to get them to a healthy weight.

Once a new home is found for Chip and Dale, the two will spend the rest of their days as pets who will naturally help with lawn upkeep. Even though Arabian horses are a strong riding breed, the stress the two have endured at their age means they are no longer capable of being riding horses.

Once Chip and Dale are available for adoption, Horse Haven said it will post a listing to its adoption page here. You can also keep track of their progress on the Horse Haven's blog.

"That's why we do it. That's what fuels us to know that they are safe, happy, that they found a forever home and are going to be okay and never be back in this kind of situation again," Smith said.

If you'd like to donate to help fund Chip and Dale's rescue and recovery, the Horse Haven has set up a donation page here.