A special show and auction at the University of Minnesota Equine Center helped a group of horses that were rescued from a farm in the north metro find new homes over the weekend.
A FOX 9 investigation helped alert animal humane officers to the East Bethel farm owned by Lowell Friday, where 17 malnourished horses were removed as Friday was accused of mistreatment. Some were so skinny, their ribs were showing. Many had lice and parasites, and many had never been trained.
Many of the horses were near death when they were rescued, and veterinarians at the University of Minnesota nursed them back to health so they could be considered for adoption. So far, 12 of Friday's former horses have already been placed in new homes or foster care.
For a few of the horses, help came too late -- but many have gotten a second chance, including five that were chosen to take part in the Trainer's Challenge with 15 other previously-mistreated horses.
The horses were placed with a trainer and then competed against each other for a $9,000 prize, but the real goal isn't winning money -- and trainers like Brooke Teske, who trained one of the horses taken from Friday's farm, say that's certainly not why she takes the reins on these untrained horses. Instead, it's all about finding them good homes.
The auction was a silent one, and all bidders were pre-screened.
Friday is facing 35 counts of animal cruelty, and is due in court in November. He has denied any wrongdoing and plans to fight the charges.