Local horse trainer Michael Nugent stands accused of abusing the horse, named Addi.
"He's charged with maliciously beating a horse with a shovel. I've got him charged with a Class I felony," said Steve Berube of Harnett County Animal Control.
This case is disturbing, even for a veteran animal control officer.
"It's really sad. I almost cry every time I see this horse walk, to know that someone could abuse an animal like that," Berube said.
The animal control officer said Addi was not only beaten, but improperly restrained.
The horse's owner, Tonya Reilly, said it is sometimes painful for her to visit Addi.
"When I come down here I cry quite a bit," she said.
Reilly said Addi has pockets of excess fluid and scar tissue where she was beaten, leaving her body disfigured. She is not expected to make a full recovery.
Despite what the horse has endured, Reilly said Addi has not lost her trust of people.
Nugent also faces a misdemeanor charge of abusing another horse. He has two court dates scheduled next week.