Missing Presumed Stolen


“Missing Presumed Stolen” – that’s what went down on the initial police report Sunday morning after we found the fence cut at our 50-acre grazing pasture. The initial count by the feeding crew kept coming up one short, and a complete search around the property showed no signs of Reynolds, a six-year-old bay gelding. That was our first thought; maybe he was trapped in the brush, maybe he stepped in a hole and needed help. Once the cut fence was discovered, our greatest fear became reality – one of our horses had been stolen.

The police took the initial report, but knowing there was little they could do other than releasing a BOLO (be on the lookout for), we contacted NetPosse.com, also known as Stolen Horse International. Within hours, the pictures and description of Reynolds were on Facebook and a handful of other social media. Through the efforts of NetPosse and others, three Houston TV stations sent their crews, along with the Galveston Daily News. By nightfall, the news had been spread and the reports slowly started coming in.

“We saw a teenager walking a horse down the road.”

“He had long hair and wore a red shirt.”

“He turned down that corner, that’s the last I saw of him.”

After twenty years of keeping rescued horses in this neighborhood, this was the first time anyone had taken one from us. Because of our work with law enforcement, folks know what these horses have gone through. Almost all of them, including Reynolds, came from horrible situations involving starvation and extreme physical abuse. It takes years for some of them to recover.

Reynolds learned to trust humans after we picked him up and the court awarded him to us. Initially he was beyond fearful, but through continued positive reinforcement, he became what is known in the horse world as a “pocket pony.” He would walk up to anybody if he thought a carrot might be involved, or if a good neck scratch might be in the offering. It’s just that kind of trust that ended up with him having a rope wrapped around his neck and pulled through the cut fence line.

We searched for two more days, driving down each street, following up on every lead, handing out flyers to everyone we saw, until one night the phone rang, “I found your horse.”

Within minutes, we had a freaked, sweaty and very nervous Reynolds loaded in the trailer. A bunch of teenagers allegedly “found” him running down the street, a story I still don’t believe. More than likely, the media attention meant that it simply got too hot in the neighborhood for the horse to be kept in hiding.

Reynolds is home now, and safe. It took a couple of days to calm him back down, and more than a couple of carrots for him to know that life is good again.

We haven’t arrested the horse thief yet; that’s coming as we find out more details. Perhaps it gives us a chance to stop a young person from evolving into an adult criminal if they are willing to listen. Stealing doesn’t start with a horse, it started long ago with no one teaching respect for others. If we can offer that, then two lives will have been saved.

  • Gretchen Stallworth

    Thank you for your compassion for horses, for not giving up, and for saving this equine from a horrible fate.

    June 24, 2017
  • Stacey McRae

    As a teacher, I am telling you that you are spot on with the complete lack of parenting going on in homes across the country. These “teens” are a bunch of uneducated. savages. I hope you prosecute every one if them.

    June 24, 2017
    • jeanette

      Stacey, good for you, I totally agree with you!

      June 24, 2017
    • Stacey,you are 100% correct.I am fed up with vile out of control brats, and their parents encourage their bad behavior.

      June 24, 2017
  • Walt Evans

    I am equally and perhaps more concerned about your comments (as a teacher) directed at these “uneducated savages”.

    June 24, 2017
    • L Swanton

      Seems to me a teacher is in a good position to actuallyverify what’s going on young people who think nothing of stealing a horse.

      June 24, 2017
    • Michelle Yarber

      Sorry Walt, it’s the truth.

      June 24, 2017
  • jm

    Thank goodness you retrieved the horse. No telling what might have happened if he wasn’t found. As it was, it appears the teens did not know or care how to treat a horse, or he would not have been so upset. I agree there is a lack of respect among not only the young, but adults too. Perhaps it was a boyish prank, albeit not a good one, but it was a bad decision on their part. The main thing here, is the horse is safe. Maybe he boys will turn themselves in, a good thing to do.

    June 24, 2017
  • Belinda Creech

    I think part of the problem is or economy to many one parent homes,or both parents working to make ends meet and no one knows what goes on when they’re not home.

    June 24, 2017
  • Beverly

    With all due respect to everyone’s opinions I feel that the young people do not care. They might come from well off families that do teach them but when they get away from watchful eyes they do the unthinkable because they want to show off or be big shots. They do not have respect for other people’s stuff. At home they are the perfect little people but away from home they become the future thugs. That is called making choices. We have more and more bad choices being made. That is why punishment to the fullest is necessary in this case.

    June 24, 2017
  • Karen Karlonas

    So glad Reynolds is back, we used to have a railroad behind our farm and the horse trailers would come at night to steal horses to bring to market for 500 dollars, now there is a busy 6 lane highway, and safer since it is patrolled. Almost lost our Lady but jumped fence to neighboor, smart equines!

    June 24, 2017
  • Cynthia

    Thank goodness Reynolds was found. Poor horse must be starve. At night he must have been tied to a dark lonely fearful place. And during the daytime these teenagers must be jumping on top of him to get rides.

    June 24, 2017
  • Ken

    The thief or thieves deserve the maximum punishment available under the law. But, unfortunately, they will most likely receive some sort of reduced charge and on top of that a reduced sentence because the judge does not want to traumatize the “little darlings.” Well, maybe some traumatizing is in order so we can have a little less crime, a little more respect for others (animals included), and a little more understanding that negative actions have negative consequences. And while the court is at it, it could also give some consideration to a punishment for the parents of the thieves, although that may take a creative judge. After all, the parents are where the blame ultimately lies; the perps didn’t have the tools to tell them the theft of a horse was not a good idea. Leniency only pushes the problem into the future.

    June 26, 2017
  • Michelle Spears

    Perhaps the thieves AND their parents should do community service by learning to care for the horses from the time a new rescue arrives to the time they are adoptable. Maybe seeing the trauma these horses have been thru will have an impact that will change lives.

    July 2, 2017