Horse hero swims next to a horse he is bringing to shore during Houston's flooding.

Top 9 Horse News Stories of 2016

Your Top Horse News

There may never be another year like 2016. We look to you for inspiration to find the articles you shared and commented on the most. Here are the top horse news stories of 2016 as we reported them.

9.  Settlement in Reining Horse’s Training Death

The owner of the reining horse Bella Gunnabe Gifted reached a $160,000 settlement with the horse's former trainer, Mark Arballo, in connection with the mare's death.

The owner of the reining horse Bella Gunnabe Gifted reached a $160,000 settlement with the horse’s former trainer, Mark Arballo, in connection with the mare’s death.

Arballo pleaded guilty to felony animal cruelty in 2015. He is serving a three-year probation sentence in North Carolina.


8.  Mustangs Starve at Karen Sussman’s Charity: Worker

30+ horses died at the International Society for Protection of Mustang and Burros operated by Karen Sussman in South Dakota.

A non-profit’s employee exposed a South Dakota charity in October after more than 30 horses allegedly died from neglect and starvation. Authorities seized control of more than 800 horses from the International Society for the Protection of Mustang and Burros in Lantry, but the ordeal continues.



7.  Thoroughbreds Mutilated with Acid

Thoroughbreds Mutilated with Acid to Hide Identity by Removing Lip Tattoos

The Pennsylvania SPCA is investigating a case of horse cruelty after three Thoroughbreds were discovered in late November with mutilated upper lips. An unknown person allegedly used acid to remove the three horses’ lip tattoos before selling them at a kill auction. The horses are safe.


6.  Western Milling Knew About Monensin Contamination: FDA

FDA documents obtained by Rate My Horse PRO detail Western Milling’s past violations, including adulterated feed, going back to 2010.

A California feed manufacturer accused of selling monensin-contaminated equine feed, knew about cross contamination issues for years, according to reports from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Tainted horse feed produced by Western Milling, LLC allegedly poisoned 13 horses to death and sickened others since fall 2015.


5.  550+ Seized Mustangs Headed to Auction

550+ Seized Horses Head To Faith Auction, May Face Slaughter

More than 550 mustangs in South Dakota were slated for auction on December 20, but the date was postponed at the last minute. The horses are from the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros in Lantry. Karen Sussman operates the charity, but authorities seized the horses in place in October.

Officials are seeking a court order to transfer ownership of all remaining horses from the nonprofit to a suitable owner. A consortium of concerned groups proposed a deal to take ownership, find the horses homes, and reimburse the counties for any additional expenses.


4.  ‘Paintball’ Mare Lily Dies

John and Tracey Stewart Adopt Lily before her death

A mare that made national headlines in the summer after being adopted by Jon and Tracey Stewart tragically died after making it to her forever home. Lily was covered in paint when she was found at a kill auction seemingly abandoned and in poor condition.

Lily’s original owner said the blind mare was a former children’s lesson horse. She gave the aged mare to a horse trader who was convicted of animal cruelty in connection with Lily’s treatment.


3.  Wild Horses Killed at Madeleine Pickens’ Sanctuary

Madeleine Pickens needs your help finding those responsible for the deaths of at least 12 wild mustangs at her sanctuary.

The Nevada Department of Agriculture is investigating the death of a dozen wild horses on Madeleine Pickens’ land. The perps cut fences and closed the water valves, authorities said, leading to the horses’ deaths. Pickens is offering a $100,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of those responsible.


2. 500+ Horses Saved from Louisiana Flooding

Men save horse by using boat during Louisiana flood August 2016

Catastrophic flooding hit Louisiana in August and was called the worst natural disaster to hit the United States since Hurricane Sandy, according to the Red Cross. Despite the historic water levels, the community pulled together to rescue over 500 horses from the perilous conditions.


1. Hero Saves 25 Horses from Houston Flooding

Horse Trainer Rescues Horses from Texas Rising Floodwaters April 2016

A Texas horse trainer saves 25 horses from drowning in Houston’s raging flood waters. Justin Nelzen said, “when I got there immediately I noticed a horse was caught in a fence and was in danger of drowning.”

Nelzen is our horse hero.


Horse Hero Justin Nelzen Dies at 40