Dan Ryan horse improving at local rescue after fears animal would need to be euthanized, officials say

Chicago man who calls himself 'Dreadhead Cowboy' says he rode the horse down the expressway as a protest

ByLeah Hope and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team via WLS logo
Sunday, September 27, 2020
EMBED <>More Videos

Chopper 7HD was over the scene as the Dreadhead Cowboy rode his horse on the Dan Ryan Expressway Monday afternoon.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Nunu, the famous Dan Ryan horse is said to be improving, according to city officials.

The horse is recovering after its owner Adam Hollingsworth, also known as the "Dreadhead Cowboy," rode the animal down the expressway Monday during the evening rush hour. Hollingsworth said the ride was in protest to bring attention to "Kids Lives Matter."

The highway horseman was then arrested and the horse was taken into police custody after the stunt.

SPECIAL REPORT: Man rides horse down Dan Ryan Expressway

Initial reports said Nunu was in critical condition and was unable to stand for more than five to 10 minutes, according to Chicago Animal Care and Control officials.

Now days later, it seems she is doing better.

Alderman Raymond Lopez said the horse is responding well to IV fluids. She also received a teeth cleaning, as well as new padded shoes.

He said when she first arrived in CACC care, she collapsed twice.

Hollingsworth is facing aggravated animal cruelty charges, among others, but denies the allegations.

"I love Nunu... She is one of my newer horses. I've had her about three months and we've grown a bond," he said during a press conference Thursday. "A bond like, she's one of my kids."

While he acknowledges he may have ridden his horse too long, he denies any cruelty on his part and is looking to get Nunu back.

"It was very upsetting knowing that I love my horse," he said. "When I was hearing everything and I couldn't say nothing, and I had to stand there and just listen to all the lies that have been told on me."

As of Thursday, Nunu was moved to a suburban farm where she is said to be getting specialized medical treatment, however officials say she can never be ridden again.

Lopez said Hollingsworth has at least four other horses in Dyer, Indiana, however CACC does not have jurisdiction and therefore cannot inspect the condition of those horses. The alderman also said he has an ordinance that would prohibit farm animals in the city which he hopes can address the increase of people having horses in the city.

Hollingsworth was released from jail Wednesday after his bail was set at $25,000.

In court a prosecutor told the judge that Hollingsworth whipped the horse when it slowed and it was injured from an ill-fitting saddle and running miles on concrete.

RELATED: Chicago's Dreadhead Cowboy's bond set; horse in critical condition, may be euthanized: state

The horse can never be ridden again and may be euthanized, the prosecutor said.

The horse was also said to be extremely dehydrated, overheated and suffered cuts and sores, the prosecutor told the court.

The public defender noted Hollingsworth's work as an activist, but the judge said treatment of the horse has nothing to do with protest.

Hollingsworth is expected to appear again in court on Sept. 30.