One of the first blog posts I wrote over 2 years ago was about NetPosse.com. This organization is dedicated to recovering lost or stolen animals. I am on their mailing list, and just yesterday I received an email from them. There is a missing horse in Idaho. The information provided is as follows:
Near Almo, ID
NetPosse ID # : 3388
Description: City of Rock Endurance Ride in Almo, Idaho separated from rider/owner near Box Top trail and Stripe Rock. Fully tacked with black saddle, red saddle pack, black halter/bridle. Dark bay with white diamond on forehead, left white foot, 10 years old, 15.3 hands. Has lumps on both back lower legs from splint bone surgery. Has mark on right hip from being kicked by a horse – missing hair in shape of horseshoe.
Date Lost: 6/14/2020
This type of situation is exactly why ID MyHorse Emergency Identification Tags were created. She is in danger, and her owners must be extremely worried. The mare escaped while fully tacked, which is a likely scenario in this situation. She is at great risk of becoming entangled in vegetation or the bridle.
If Xena had an ID Tag attached to her saddle or woven into her mane, that would not prevent her from becoming lost or entangled. However, at least if someone found her they would immediately know to whom she belonged. I am certain that her owners have done everything possible to spread the word about their missing mare. Sadly, communication is a challenge when cellular service is spotty or potential rescuers are back-country camping.
I can’t imagine how stressful this must be for her worried owners.
Peace of Mind
When Alan and I camped at Winding River Resort a year ago in Grand Lake, Colorado, we had tags woven into the manes of our horses. We made several trips over Trail Ridge Road to visit Estes Park. We felt much calmer about leaving our horses unattended in their pens all day while we were enjoying ourselves on the other side of the Continental Divide. Our concern was not just about them getting loose. If they hurt themselves, passersby would immediately be able to contact us and initiate veterinary care.
I sincerely hope Xena’s owners have a happy ending to this nightmare. Perhaps someone reading this blog will play a role in her recovery. If you know anything, please reach out to NetPosse.com.
Would a rescuer know how to contact you if your horse became lost? If you had an accident on the trail, would First Responders have all of the critical information they need to quickly and appropriately treat you? Be proactive and take all of the precautions you can to ensure a happy ending. ID MyHorse Emergency Identification tags and Medical Alert Tags will ship for free in June.
ADDENDUM: What are my motivations for writing this? Am I capitalizing on someone else’s misfortune?
I was afraid, when I initially wrote this post, that some people would blast me for “capitalizing on someone else’s misfortune.” Sure enough, in record time, a comment was made to that effect. For sure, anyone who knows me would know I would never do that. However, you folks in cyberspace have no clue about my integrity or motivations. So let me tell you what motivated me to write this post…
Let’s start by talking about NetPosse. It is a national organization, with a national website, dedicated to reuniting owners with lost animals. I don’t know if it is for-profit or strictly volunteer. I don’t really care, because I don’t doubt their motivations. They provide a valuable service in my opinion. I receive their emails for two reasons.
One, I am a horse owner, animal lover, and veterinarian… all of which combine to make me rather passionate about my animals. If I lost one of them, I’d want folks to keep an eye open. I’d be worried sick and I’d want my precious buddy to be returned to me in one piece. So I get their alerts as a fellow horse and dog owner. It is the same principle as an AMBER alert. The more folks who hear about it, the better the chances of recovery.
Two, I happen to have a product that I believe might, in some cases, be valuable in some of these situations. I receive more alerts about horses stolen out of their pastures than lost on the trail. That is not an application for my product. I created my product because of Reason #1. If I was on the trail and my horse and I became separated, what then? If he ended up back at the trailer without me and without any identification, what then? Before I met Alan, I rode a lot by myself. What if I was unconscious on the trail and had absolutely no identification or emergency information on my person? What then?
Am I capitalizing on someone else’s misfortune?
Consider the periodic news reports in the dead of summer about kids left in hot cars. After every incident, there are stories and suggestions about how to prevent that from happening again. Are people who make alarms and gadgets that remind absent-minded parents to get their kid capitalizing on someone’s tragedy? Is the publicity that follows such a tragic death a horrible thing, or does it perhaps prompt folks to figure out ways to make sure it doesn’t happen to them? Do you think parents who lost a child want other folks to get the message, or do you think they feel “taken advantage of”?
The negative comment I received said I stated that my product could prevent Xena from being lost in the woods of Idaho. I never said that. I said my product could be an asset in a situation like that. If I had a choice of having a lost animal with identification or without identification, you’d better believe I’d choose WITH.
A good idea but no thanks…
Alan and I both wear hit air vests and helmets when we ride. Most folks don’t. We’re fine with that… those are choices you get to make in a free world. I have yet to have a person who sees my horse and rider tags state that it is a bad idea! Everyone thinks it is a great idea. However, not everyone wants or needs one. I get that! You can think it is a good idea and choose not to use it. No problem!
I posted this blog because there is a family out there in dire straits worrying about a beloved horse lost in the woods. Perhaps someone will read the blog and be part of the rescue efforts. If Xena were my horse, I’d want the information spread far and wide. Perhaps someone else will read the blog and choose to add an additional level of protection to their animal… and maybe someday it will pay dividends. If just one horse makes it home sooner, it’s worth it. If just one rider gets quicker or better medical care, it’s worth it.
So that was my motivation…
UPDATE AS OF JUNE 26th
I have not been able to get Xena and her owner, Kim, out of my mind all week. I cannot imagine how awful it would be to have your horse lost in the woods, all tacked up and at risk of all kinds of harm. Not able to wonder any longer, I reached out to her yesterday. She has still not found her mare. Kim did not attend this endurance ride with the intention of camping all week, so she has been making it up as she goes along. She has to leave the area in two days. Can you imagine having to leave your horse lost in the woods?
Here is the additional information I learned:
Xena is lost in the City of Rocks Park, between the Box Top and Beef Jell-O trails. As of this update, she has been lost for 10 days. This is the Endurance ride where horse and rider were separated… it gives you some idea of the terrain.
GPS would be great, but not easily accomplished
This incident has made me revisit something I have looked at in the past with respect to ID MyHorse Emergency Identification Tags. CLEARLY, having a tag on this mare isn’t the answer to FINDING her, only for IDENTIFYING her if, and when, she is found. I have wondered about putting GPS chips in the tags. The problem is, most require a monthly subscription. Additionally, battery life is an issue. A friend of mine has a GPS tracker for her dog. She tells me, “It would work great if I only knew when he was going to run away so I could have the battery charged!” Lastly, trail riding terrain varies a great deal. Mountains and other variable topography impact the actual tracking distance.
I haven’t found a viable option for adding GPS capabilities to the tags. But how I wish it were easily doable. If anyone knows of any viable options, please share! My heart hurts for this owner and horse.
Please disseminate this new information. If you, or anyone you know, are heading to Idaho, please tell them about Xena. Otherwise, prayers are always good…
UPDATE AS OF JUNE 28th– STILL MISSING
Xena’s owner had to return home today without her horse. The Idaho group of Backcountry Horseman of America has been notified. There is one sheriff for the county where the mare is lost, as it is a sparsely populated area. They are aware of the missing horse as well. They have tried drones 4 times, but the area is too wooded to see through the trees. If anyone has any suggestions or ideas, speak up. Otherwise, please keep praying…