Saved from the slaughterhouse and raised to be a star – for one courageous horse in Eastover it happened in a matter of months.

Three months ago Carumba was on the road headed to a slaughterhouse in Illinois when she was literally stopped in her tracks, rescued, bought right off the trailer and brought to a farm in Eastover. Raquel Hamilton tells WIS’ Angie Goff, “She has had absolutely everything that she could have go against her.”

With the help of the American Saddlebred Association, Hamilton has rescued dozens of horses.

Upon her arrival, Carumba’s condition was grim. She had a severe respiratory infection, she rejected grain and treats and attention from people. Her front legs were swollen – the result of more than a decade of pulling buggies for the Amish people.

After weeks of rehab in an isolated ring, Carumba did more than recover. Raquel says, “She’s a showoff.”

Carumba embarked on a ride no one saw coming. This past weekend Carumba competed in her first-ever horse show. Raquel says, “We really didn’t know what to expect.”

The once-malnourished mare, saved from the slaughterhouse, kicked up her heels and strutted her stuff. Raquel says, “She just fell into place she loved it.”

And the crowd and the judges must have fell in love with her. Carumba, ridden by Christine Harrelson, won first place.

To Raquel, “It was incredible.”

“I really want to see more of these rescues placed in programs like this. They have their heart in the right place and these horses deserve a fighting chance.”