Bernville, PA (PressExposure) April 25, 2009 -- It has been nearly 3 weeks since the rescue of Coconut Martini, Theonlyword, Finely Decorated and a non-registered 5 year old mare from a New York killpen, the initial victims of Ernie Paragallo's Center Brook Farm in the rolling hillside near Albany, New York. Since then, the horses are slowly showing visible signs of improvement.
"They're doing pretty well, considering," said Christy Sheidy, co-founder of Another Chance 4 Horses in Bernville, PA as she gently strokes the face of Coconut Martini. "She gives me these strange looks and turns her head as if to tell me to stop staring at her," laughs Sheidy. Scarcely recognizable as the racing thoroughbred once ridden by jockey Richard Migliore in the red and black silks of Paraneck Stables, Coconut Martini has to be carefully and gently brushed, as the open wounds, and long matted lice ridden clumps of hair fall to the ground.
Theonlyword, the chestnut mare has taken a special liking to her young groom and trainer, Selina Seidy. " I found her ticklish spot near her cheek," the young blond haired ten year old laughs, " and when I scratch there, Theonlyword moves her lips in unison and it looks like she is smiling."
The two other skinny, worm loaded horses have now gained weight and are much more energetic. Finely Decorated, the black mare, possibly in foal, is still recovering from strangles, a contagious bacterial disease caused by streptococcus equi. Once in the oral cavity, the bacteria invades the tonsils and colonizes in the lymph nodes. The other 5 -year old unregistered filly, Jennifer believed to be by Danzatame ( per Thrift Jennifer's produce report ) is already showing a "floaty trot and beautiful movement " according to Rick Sheidy, co-founder of the horse rescue. " She has a consistent tilt like her head was put on crooked," Rick explained, " but it is unclear how it occurred and without any medical records and no symptoms so far of any neurological problems, we will just have to wait and confer with our vet."
Paragallo has since been charged with 22 counts of animal cruelty. The owner of the 1996 Derby favorite and fifth-place finisher, Unbridled's Song, the conditions on Pagagallo's breeding farm is in sharp contrast and has shaken the New York State Racing and Wagering Board enough to immediately terminate Paragallo's racing privileges.
The 177 horses remain on the farm under the supervision of the Columbia Greene Humane Society. Their vet is overseeing the dietary and vet needs of all the horses, and all are expected to fully recover within the next four to six months when adopters are already waiting to bring some of these surrendered horses to new homes.