10 On Your Side Success: Rowdy the horse nursed back to health

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — In June, 10 On Your Side introduced you to a horse in need, named Rowdy.

Rowdy found a home in greener pastures, and has since thrived.

Five months later, Rowdy put on some much needed pounds!

As a matter of fact, a lot of pounds, thanks to tender loving care. There was a big community effort to save Rowdy through a GoFundMe page and generosity. 

Rowdy has two stories, a before and after. 

To appreciate where Rowdy is, with 350 more pounds mostly in the midsection, you have to know where he’s been

“He is so fat we had to cut back on his food,” said Jillian Ellis with a laugh as she brought out Rowdy on Monday.  

That weight is a lot different than the emaciated looking horse in a photograph from March 29. 

You could see the outlines of 11 ribs. You can’t see that now.

Back in June, 10 On Your Side found Rowdy’s owner and connected him to Jackie Dunbar over the phone. 

He said to her, “I understand you are still concerned about my horse. I’m going to let you have it for $2,500.”  Dunbar returned with, “we will figure it out.”

Dunbar, with tremendous generosity and care to save Rowdy, came up from a first agreed upon sale price of $500. She did so to make sure Rowdy’s future was secure. 

Dubar bought Rowdy to give him a better home at Sharon Golesh’s East Coast Equestrian Training Center, where the wind whistles across the 100 acres of horse paradise. 

There’s lots of land and lots of new horse friends for Rowdy. 

Dunbar talks to Rowdy as if he is one of her children, and in many ways he is.

“How are you? You got friends here. You got friends. You are nice and chubby. We got your teeth straightened out,” Dunbar told Rowdy. 

Looking at Rowdy, Dunbar said, “He’s able to be ridden. He is happy. He has a friend. He’s got this other horse friend. You take Rowdy out, and the other horse gets upset. It is really cute.”

Dunbar says at first Rowdy stood in the corner until they got rid of the worms inside of him. 

After the worms were taken care of, “He was ravenous. Everything we gave him, he’d eat. Everyone was pitching in. We were feeding him carrots, feeding him apples,  It was really great.”

Rowdy gained weight and strength. A picture shows Rowdy lying on the stall floor, which is unusual for him. “He wasn’t able to lay down and rest because getting back up took too much of a struggle.” 

There’s no doubt, thanks to Dunbar and company, that Rowdy is stronger, faster, and seems happier. He was the only horse in the pen with his former owner. Now Rowdy is a new horse.

Interestingly, Dunbar talks about how Rowdy, like all horses, wants a job. It’s kind of an odd thing to say, but with Rowdy it’s true. On Saturday, Rowdy’s job is with Santa Claus taking pictures with children.

Waverly Woods is helping organize the East Coast Fall Festival. “Rowdy is going to be with Santa from 1-3 p.m. where kids can come and get pictures with Santa and Rowdy our rescue love bug will be here too.”

Dunbar sums it up this way, “Rowdy is just a happy guy. You know he is healthy.”

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