24 April 2017
These are just a few of the recovered/closed cases that the dedicated and passionate volunteers have had a part in. All of these owners have been able to see their horse again.
Horses do disappear-it can be for the very simple reason that they are horses-they jump fences; pull back, get away, and disappear into thin air (or so it seems); they get into trouble-falling into ditches, wells, ravines, etc., getting caught in thickets and brush, stuck in sheds; and just generally finding ways to immobilize themselves in odd spots. Or it can be 'user error' or more commonly referred to as - people screw-ups. These can be a variety of things: Board bill wasn't paid on time/or at all for several months (trainer, farrier, vet); 'handshake' agreement to keep the horse because______ (and owner was sick, left town, had baby, had to work, was deployed) and horse was given away or sold without knowledge or permission; horse disappears out of pasture-somebody says something about ATVs chasing horses, fireworks, dogs, wildlife; and so on. If there's a reason for a horse disappearing, our volunteers have probably heard it. Sometimes it is true, sometimes it isn't-a good bit of the time somebody wants to say the horse was 'stolen' when in fact it was their own fault for not drawing up the proper paperwork and/or going out to check on the horse to make sure it was being properly cared for. That's why it's called 'user error'.
And then we have criminal activity-which includes theft, shooting, stabbing, vandalism (cutting off manes and tails as well as disfigurement or intentional actions meant to make the horse unuseable, salable, or valuable), and any other acts of violence such as shooting with guns (including paint ball, bb, and pellet guns), arrows or bolts), slingshots, or other missiles. By far the most common is theft. The Texas Rangers report that they receive at least one report of horse theft every day. We know they are out there-although we do not handle that many. Where do they go? Hard to say. Some options are: sales to private individuals far enough away who just want a nice looking horse, 'flippers'-individuals who buy/sell horses from one place to the next constantly, auction pens-where the buyers could be private buyers, rescues, or the dreaded kill buyers. It is very difficult to say. With the interstate system, horses are loaded and hauled hundreds of miles in a night with forged papers across state lines and even borders. A horse that disappears in South Carolina might be found in Pennsylvania or New Jersey. Or then again, two taken together will be split up in Louisana with one going to Texas and the other bound for Mexico.
This is why every recovery is important-and why we celebrate!