Stolen horse found in Dayton to be reunited with owner almost 10 years after theft

Stolen horse found in Dayton to be reunited with owner almost 10 years after theft

31 July 2012


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

For more information, contact: Stolen Horse International PO Box 1341, Shelby, NC 28151 704-484-2165, Cell: 704-472-4314 Email:

Stolen horse found in Dayton to be reunited with owner almost 10 years after theft


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Horse theft is a crime that is alive and thriving in the U.S. today with thousands of horses missing each year. With the help of volunteers through Stolen Horse International, aka, many horses are recovered and there is hope for victims like Michelle Pool, even almost 10 years after her horse was stolen.

Pool filed a report in March of 2003 for Opie, her spotted American Saddlebred horse stolen from her father’s pasture on Highway 181 in San Antonio, Texas. Shortly after she reported her stolen horse to Stolen Horse International, his webpage was put on the website at, and NetPosse Alerts were sent to thousands who sent them to thousands. But Opie was not anywhere in sight. As the years passed, Pool never quit thinking of Opie and wondering what happened to him.

“We got Sultan’s Modern Opus (nickname "Opie") when he was just a new foal of 16 months. He came to live with us in Red Oak outside of Dallas, and we began loving him from day one,” says Pool. “I still remember having to explain [Opie's theft] to two small children and a teen who wholeheartedly wanted to connect with something with amazing loving hearts that the world was not a nice place as I wanted them to believe so desperately.”

After almost ten years, she and her children do not have to wonder anymore!  On Monday, July 30, 2012, a tipster called Stolen Horse International around noon to report an ad they’d seen on Craigslist. With an interest in possibly buying the horse they had searched the website first to see if he was one of the horses listed. While they didn't expect to see him ... He was there!

After receiving the wonderful news, the first thing Debi Metcalfe, President and founder of the nonprofit organization, had to do was find Michelle Pool! Pool’s contact information on the website had not been updated in years. Many data screens and phone calls later, Pool  was located in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Pool says this about that initial phone call: “I was in shock and part of me did not believe it at first because I had been let down so many times. Debi said she was sure it was him.”

With Pool on the phone, Metcalfe sent her pictures of Opie from the ad via email and heard her gasp as the pictures came into view.

 “Oh my God! I never thought I’d see him again!” Pool cried. “Look! It is really him!” she exclaimed to her children who were sitting with her at the computer.

After talking with Pool, Metcalfe organized her notes and notified the Dayton County Sheriff’s Office while Pool called the Bexar County Sheriff’s office. Hours later, Metcalfe called the TSCRA Ranger who was assigned to the case and gave him the particulars as it had unfolded Monday. With his interest piqued at the prospect of returning a horse to its family more than nine years after its theft, last night he and a Dayton County Deputy went to the residence where Opie was known to be and seized the horse.

“I talked with Debi all day and she helped me find the right authorities and made calls on her own from her own connections to get me help not in a week BUT TONIGHT!” declared Pool.

All is not well that ends well because the painful journey taken by this family for almost 10 years can never be erased. Being able to show her children that there are good people in the world and that Opie will be home soon is helping to restore her faith in people. Pool concludes with the following thoughts, “Opie was picked up by Jimmy Belt (TSCRA) and Missy Watson (Dayton County Sheriff’s Office) this evening and I will see him, kiss his face and blow in his nose soon. The shattered dreams I had are being put back piece by piece and glued together all with the help of two AMAZING people … the tipster DeAnna and Debi with Stolen Horse International – THANK YOU!”

Stolen Horse International would like to thank everyone who played a part in this miracle. "We never give up and we never underestimate the power of one,” says Metcalfe. “This is truly one of the miracles we love to see and are so thankful we get to share this moment with Michelle. It has been a good day.”

Stolen Horse International is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. SHI was founded in 1998 by Debi Metcalfe after she and her family spent nearly a year trying to locate Idaho, their spotted racking horse mare. Idaho was recovered when a flyer they had posted at a convenience store resulted in the tip that led them to their horse in another state.

Read August 1, 2012 update here:

Please call Stolen Horse International for pictures and updates to this story.

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Debi Metcalfe

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Contact Info.

PO Box 1341, Shelby, NC 28151

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