Arkansas Horses Recovering from Brutal Beatings

Nearly three months after they were selected from among several other horses and viciously beaten, two Arkansas Quarter Horses, three-year-old buckskin filly Quarter Horse Puddin' and five-year-old sorrel mare Fat Girl, are alive but remain seriously injured. The horses were attacked Aug. 6 in the town of Guy, while owner Patrice Swan was gone for 90 minutes helping a neighbor with a horse.


Fat Girl, the sorrel mare, received significant right shoulder and corneal damage, skull and occipital bone fractures, and probable nasal cavity and jaw injuries.

The two were brutally beaten with unknown blunt objects wielded with tremendous force, probably baseball bats or ax handles, by unidentified at-large attackers. Click here for photographs of the horses' injuries.

Puddin's injuries to her left scapula and the resulting nerve damage are so extensive they require a surgery called a scapular notch resection/nerve decompression estimated at nearly $2,000 by veterinarians at Oklahoma State University (OSU) at Stillwater.

Fat Girl has significant right shoulder and corneal damage, skull and occipital bone fractures, and probable nasal cavity and jaw injuries. Both horses bled copiously from their noses for eight hours following the attack, Swan said. Neither horse is believed to be rideable again. Because of the muscle atrophy and extent of the internal damage, both horses have tremendous difficulty walking.

Swan said one veterinarian who initially treated the horses suspected severe nerve damage as the cause of their significant muscle atrophy. Fat Girl is not expected to require surgery, but her torn shoulder tendons and ligaments will require significant time to heal. "Her shoulder was popped out at almost a right angle from where it should be," said Swan.

Swan also said the vet ruled out horse-to-horse, horse-to-fence or horse-to-barn contact as the cause of the horses' injuries because there are no skin markings consistent with those types of contact and because both horses sustained to same injuries to their front and hindquarters.

"This is not a random act," said Swan's attorney, Cheryl Vogelpohl, of Perryville, Ark. "It was (done by) someone who know the horses and the barn. Someone had to put a halter on these horses, while someone else beat them."

An investigation into the case is going nowhere, Vogelpohl said. "The police chief says he has no leads. Animal cruelty is only a misdemeanor in Arkansas; it carries up to a year in a county jail and a $1,000 fine."

"It seems absurd to think some would do this," said Dustin Devine, DVM, OSU/Stillwater, who has seen the horses.

Swan currently lacks sufficient funding to comply with OSU's requirement for a 50% down payment at the time of the operation. But she says if a $500 commitment comes through promised, she's on her way to Stillwater.
Horse Rescue Network (, which has followed Puddin's and Fat Girl's story, has established a fund for donations. PayPal donations can be sent to, made directly on the Horse Rescue Network's web site or sent to Swan at 332 Highway 25 North, Greenbrier, AR 72058.

About the Author

Meg Cicciarella

Meg Cicciarella is a freelance journalist who lives and writes in Homer, on Alaska's banana belt, the Kenai Peninsula. Her articles have appeared in local, regional, and national newspapers and magazines.

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