Mona Lisa

A beautiful thoroughbred horse named Mona Lisa now has a second chance at life due to the kind act of a 15-year-old Good Samaritan we’ll call Sam. Mona Lisa was a former racing horse who was not very successful on the track so she bounced through various owners. She spent months tied to a tree injuring three of her legs, thought most likely from barbed wire. This was definitely not the life this horse was meant to live. Mona Lisa belonged to an acquaintance of Sam’s family who was not taking care of her leg injuries properly. Rather than taking the horse to a vet, the owner decided to shoot her. When Sam learned of the owner’s plans, he intervened by stepping in front of the horse. Sam ended up taking Mona Lisa home with him. He tried to care for her wounds but the injuries had progressed too far. Due to years of neglect and lack of medicine, Mona Lisa suffered from a severe case of proud flesh on her three injured legs.

All it took was one little boy to notice and step up to give Mona Lisa the love and support she needed. Sam couldn’t control the horse’s wounds and rather than giving up on her like the previous owner, he contacted RVR Horse Rescue (RVR) in Riverview, Florida.

Upon examining Mona Lisa, RVR was able to make a diagnosis of the horse’s situation. The wounds required surgical debridement of the proud flesh tissue. Further debridement through use of daily, topical medications was required to allow the skin to close and heal properly. The wounds initially had to be cleaned, medicated and re-bandaged multiple times per day. According to her vet, Dr. Gold, Mona Lisa’s rehabilitation was intensive. The daily cost of medications and bandages needed to properly take care of Mona Lisa and prevent the need for further surgery was immense. RVR reached out to the Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF) for financial support and to share Mona Lisa’s story. ISF was happy to help.

Dr. Gold surgically debrided the wounds and prescribed a treatment plan for RVR to follow. Thanks to the medical staff and five teams of two volunteers covering the treatment plan seven days per week, Mona Lisa’s healing has been significant. An update from RVR stated, “The wounds have shrunk by at least 2/3. Mona has gained weight and her coat is healthy and shiny. Her prognosis remains excellent. Though scarring is expected, Dr. Gold feels her wounds will eventually close.”

Now Mona Lisa has the freedom to run around without the bandages or irritating wounds holding her back. She’s been living with a Rehab Herd of 8 horses and 2 donkeys. Mona Lisa has even bonded with another Thoroughbred mare named Sadie. “It was a wonderful sight for all of us at RVR the first time we saw her running with her tail held high,” Kelly Ford of RVR Horse Rescue commented.

Mona Lisa will remain at RVR for the remainder of her treatment plan. Once healed, she will have a second shot at life with a horse trainer who officially adopted her in February of 2015. Mona Lisa’s new owner formed an instant bond with her and has been involved with her healing process. 



Written by Whitney Norton

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