Since the early 2000s, I have volunteered with Stolen Horse International, Inc., known worldwide as NetPosse. Not only did I spend a decade processing reports, I have utilized the resources I learned from its founder, Debi Metcalfe, and all of the experiences with victims in more than one situation.
Volunteering with NetPosse taught me so many valuable lessons about protecting my horses from theft, keeping them from becoming missing, and preparing for natural disasters, among other things.
However, I haven’t just been a volunteer. I have also been a victim of tack theft, and I have had my horses missing, and I have had civil situations. While not all had the desired outcome, those that did were because of the NetPosse resources and experiences. The two that stand out the most are discovering the history of a horse I bought at auction and a horse I almost lost in a bad trade.
The first I will mention is a long story that I will condense. Upon purchasing a highly trained Arabian gelding that my daughter named Captain at auction, I searched the NetPosse database, as a couple of listings could have been him. I was happy for my family that he didn’t match any. However, I noticed certain traits that had me curious about his history. I discovered a lip tattoo, which means he was once raced. Tracing that with the Arabian Jockey Club gave me a registered name, birth date, birth place, and a place to start tracing his origins.
I was only able to discover part of his history, and after speaking to a former owner, I posted his story on NetPosse.com. That story led to another family finding the horse they once loved but had to sell due to the mother’s health issues. Because of NetPosse, I learned where this beautiful horse came from, and two of his previous owners were happy to have the closure they did not know they needed.
In the other situation, I was going through a challenging personal situation. I allowed someone to talk me into trading my quarter horse gelding for their registered paint mare. It was not disclosed that this mare was a terrible cribber, and I was not set up to deal with this vice.
She was a great mare, and I am not a fan of mares; however, after a few months, her bad habits became health concerns. Another person I knew in the horse world offered to take her where she was better set up to keep the mare from cribbing.
The agreement was that she would pay me a nominal amount since I expected her to incur the costs of rehab once she sold another horse. This never happened.
It was another long story, but her former owners wanted her back, and I wanted my quarter horse. I had learned he was not in good shape, but only from lack of care. Not because he had issues like this mare.
I was tied up at work the day this happened and could not meet to pick up my gelding. The woman with the paint mare said she would get my gelding back to me. Unfortunately, she lied. She had no intention of returning my horse, and I discovered that she had done nothing for this mare as promised. I was devastated that I had allowed these people to scam me, but I was more concerned for my horse. I was told she was barrel-racing him with an injury.
I felt terrible and wondered how this could happen to me when I had helped so many victims of similar situations through NetPosse. But I took the steps to legally and safely recover my horse because of all I had learned over years of working on these cases.
I reached out to my contacts and kept tabs on the woman and the horse. I contacted her ex-boyfriend when I learned her living situation had fallen apart, and she was selling all the horses. I talked him into letting me get my horse off his property. I wrote out a release stating that I was taking my horse back. It was NOT a bill of sale. Once again, that woman had neglected a horse and lied about its care. Within two months, my horse was at a healthy weight. Still, most importantly, because of my experience with NetPosse, he was safe at home again.
The most valuable lesson a horse owner can learn is “do not think it can’t happen to you.” With all my experiences and knowledge, I am not immune to becoming a victim. But, as in these situations, and if I ever am again, I have a much higher chance of a successful outcome because of NetPosse.
This non-profit organization is the longest-standing of its kind and has the outreach and tools like none other. Please support this fantastic non-profit. Donations go directly to the programs and resources, not salaries or lavish expenses. NetPosse is all about Bringing Horses Home!
Hug your horses this holiday season, and remember those still praying for a Christmas miracle!