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Copyright © 2004 Galveston County Daily News

Once broken, Marco trots path to recovery

By Alicia Gooden
The Daily News

Published January 04, 2004

Seven months ago it was hard to tell that Marco was the progeny of a stellar line of Arabian horses.

He was a shell, hardly able to stand or eat.

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw him,” said Randy Thorsen, whose family recently adopted Marco. “I knew Marco when he was healthy. He used to do tricks.”

By the time Marco was rescued by Habitat for Horses in May, he was so starved that the once dark, glossy coat had turned dull and lifeless.

“He looked extremely old, and he was so skinny that you could almost see through him,” said Jerry Finch, founder of Habitat for Horses, a nonprofit rescue organization.

At the age of 16, Marco should’ve weighed 900 pounds. Instead he weighed 608.

The road to recovery, started as soon as the horse was taken to Habitat for Horses’ rehabilitative team.

At almost 300 pounds underweight, it was crucial that Marco be able to chew the food.

“His mouth was in poor shape,” said Darren Smith, the dental technician who worked on Marco’s teeth.

Smith said Marco’s upper teeth protruded over the lower teeth, causing the horse severe pain.

“It was hard for him to chew his food,” said Smith.

Smith said he worked for 45 minutes on Marco’s mouth, giving him a bite realignment. Horses chew in a circular motion, grinding their food. It was crucial to cut down the incisors so Marco’s teeth could meet properly.

While other rescued horses healed in weeks, it took Marco longer because of the severity of his problems, said Finch.

“It took him six weeks to gain 100 pounds,” he said.

By the time Marco left the rescue service, he weighed 880 pounds.

Beet pulp was part of a special diet to get his digestive system used to regular food.

“We had to rebuild his insides,” said Finch.

Marco’s trust and faith in man also had to be rebuilt.

Out on a spacious pasture in Santa Fe, Marco rests now, enjoying his new family and an old friend.

Randy and Glennia Thorsen, their two children, and Misty are a part of the emotional healing Marco has come to love.

Misty is a horse Marco used to share a stall with years ago.

The reunion has been happy.

“He’s doing great,” said Randy Thorsen. “We wanted to give him a place to rest and retire.

“You couldn’t tell he had been so sick by looking at him now. He has his spirit and life back.”