Spoiler alert: This story has a happy ending! So keep reading. Last week a horse from the barn where I've been riding was stolen out of the pasture in the middle of the night. This never happens! Or hardly ever happens because, I guess, it did happen to Odie.
At first, his owner thought he'd jumped the fence. He's a big Appaloosa and the fence would be no problem for him. The gate was still locked and everything appeared to be in place. But then it was noticed that a halter and lead rope were missing. And a section of the fence looked like it had been taken down and hastily put back up. The police were called and notices for a stolen horse posted with vets, horse groups and online agencies. Debi at Stolen Horse International came down from North Carolina to help and provided his owner and the barn with much support.
Then weird things started falling into place. A neighbor down the road reported that a saddle had been stolen from their trailer. They knew who it was - an acquaintance had come to "buy" a saddle about 10:30 p.m. and then left promising to come back in the morning to pay. He called in the morning and asked to borrow their trailer. They said no and upon looking at the trailer realized he had come during the night and stolen their tack. And then had the nerve to call and ask to borrow their trailer!!! They called his family member who they knew and said if the tack wasn't back in half an hour the police would be called. It was returned.
Other people called the number listed on the flyer and reported that they'd seen the horse on a certain highway. The feed store called and said someone had called looking for medicine to drug a horse. Red flags everywhere!
Then a farrier was called to come help move a horse who had "thrown a shoe" in the highway 10 miles from home. He was suspicious but moved the horse. He, of course, could tell the horse hadn't thrown a shoe but had been ridden down a paved road, hard, until he couldn't walk. He was almost dead.
When the farrier returned home - the people assured him they'd owned the horse for years - he mentioned the odd situation to a few friends who had seen the flyers. The police were called. The horse was returned to his owner - very hurt and in need of lots of vet care, but he will hopefully make a full recovery.
Can you believe this? Thank the good Lord for stupid thieves! Turns out it was a mother and son team (both meth heads) who had already been busted for their meth lab. Not only did they steal a horse, they almost killed him. His feet were completely worn down.
Top picture: Odie eating an apple one day about two weeks ago after a successful day of YMCA horse camp. Bottom picture: Odie in recovery. See, I told you it had a happy ending? At least for Odie. The general consensus at the barn is that the thieves deserve what punishment they would have had 100 years ago. Hanging.