This is the letter that Debi Metcalfe sent to every horse-related email address she could find back from 1997-1998. Little did she know that the letter would reach people around the world, many of which join her in the search for Idaho. Many were searching for horses of their own. More and more people came together to help each other by sharing emails and posting information on websites, message boards, and list groups. This letter started something that not even the Metcalfes saw coming, the beginning of Stolen Horse International.
We hope you enjoy this time in Stolen Horse International history.
My husband's horse, Idaho, was stolen in September. It is early Sunday morning and once again I am at this computer looking for more horse lovers to help us in our search if you will. Trying to find a stolen horse is like trying to find a "needle in a haystack", and we all know that is practically impossible. We know the odds of ever seeing this horse again but we just can't give up yet. She was in our family for 8 years! She would be very easy to spot because of her unusual color. She is a double registered, tri-color spotted racking mare. We ask ourselves every day why we keep trying. All we know is that something inside us will not let us quit.
Since Idaho was taken on 9/26/97 from Shelby, NC I have been investigating horse thievery on my own. We do have a detective who is working very hard on this also.
There were six horses stolen in other counties that surround us around the same times as ours. I only know this because of my hard work. The law does not communicate with each other across county lines too much. The thieves know this I am sure because they have not stolen more than one horse from each county. All horses stolen are within a 40-50 mile radius of each other. I have talked with many of the people who have had horses stolen.
All but one are like us, just a family with pleasure horses, no known connections with the world of horse trading and sales. In one case a young girl found a man in the pasture with her horse, ran to her mom, the man walked to his car, mom got the license. The man had a bucket, lead rope, and halter in his hand. You ask what can he do with a car? Cell Phones! He gets the horse and calls for the trailer. That is what is happening. Who would suspect a car? Nothing was done to this man because he did not do anything but trespass. Does it take a rocket scientist to figure out his intention?
In another case, a man visiting his mother helped the thieves because the horses got out and ran down a dirt road ahead of the truck and trailer. Unknowingly Mr. Hill helped put the extra horses back into another man's pasture and watched them load another one. His son petted one of the horses on the trailer. He was shocked to find out what was really happening. Now here is a man that talked to the thieves for a long time. He knows they use a cell phone. He can identify them and the truck and trailer but the police will not even put known thieves pictures in front of him. There were two horses stolen from that pasture.
For all of the rest of the thefts, there has only been one, hand-picked from 2-7 horses in the same pasture. In our case, the two TWH's would have been easy to catch but the one they took was almost impossible. We know what they are driving and the tips come in every week but we just about have to catch them in action to do anything to the thieves.
We are concentrating on where the horse went. Here's where you could help if you would. I know you may be far from us, maybe even across the US, but this horse could be anywhere. Recently one was found here that lived in CA! So you see there is not a place that is not a possibility.
We have contacted many horse traders, auctioneers, feed stores (although not many because we do not have addresses), sale barns, etc. Equine Trader, Stable Mates, and Horse Preview have information published about her and in some cases a story on horse thievery. We have been to many sales and put black and white flyers on windshields. We use to do color in the beginning but that was very expensive and we ran out of money. We are trying to find someone somewhere who has a color copier that will let us do the flyers at their cost. This horse is so unusual that color is really the only way to go.
Could you forward this information to other people that you know who are around horses in any way? Do you have any suggestions on things we can do? Do you know anyone who would be willing to print color copies for us at their cost? Do you know traders, auctioneers, etc., and their e-mail addresses or regular addresses? Do you know anyone who works with the slaughterhouses? (Yes we know about that possibility too.) Do you know of any publications that would be willing to run a picture, story, etc. for free or for very little cost?
Can you think of anything else? I know this is a lot to ask of total strangers. If you have ever had a horse stolen then you know the importance of getting information out as far and wide as you can. The net is a good way to get the info to many people.
To those people who choose to help in some way, THANK YOU FROM THE ENTIRE FAMILY.
email@example.com (October 1997)
Contact Info: call Harold Metcalfe at 704-484-XXXX or Sean xxxxx at the Cleveland Co.Sherriffs Dept.704-484-4888 in Shelby, NC.
Idaho has distinctive markings that will make him easier to identify. For more information and pictures of Idaho please see http://www.horse-previews.com/stolenhorses/idaho.html" (This page is no longer available.)
Idaho with Debi and Harold Metcalfe in 1998.