A to Z horses – Idaho the Initiator

Missing for nearly a full year, Idaho has become one of the most famous lost-and-found stories of the horse world.

The beloved spotted racking horse mare, belonging to North Carolina’s Harold and Debi Metcalfe, recently met her 27th birthday.

On September 26, 1997, however, Idaho suddenly went missing from the Metcalfes’ own pasture. Apparently, the fence was cut, and hoof prints led to tire tracks. Idaho was stolen.

Immediately, Idaho’s owners began spreading the word.

The Metcalfes printed and posted flyers, sent faxes, circulated emails, and created web messages. They talked with police officers, equine auctioneers, horse marketers, trainers and anyone else who might possibly have clues to Idaho’s whereabouts.

Fifty-one weeks later, Idaho was located and returned home.

During her absence from the Metcalfes, Idaho may have had as many as five different owners. No wonder she nickered to see them, once she was finally found in Tennessee.

Soon afterwards, Debi Metcalfe began Stolen Horse International/Net Posse, a non-profit organization aimed at helping horse owners find their missing equines.

The group has grown into an award-winning horse search and rescue organization and expanded its efforts to include horse trailers and other related missing items as well.  Metcalfe travels nationwide to speak to equestrian groups about horse theft prevention, equine identification, and how to recover missing horses.

Today, when a horse is reported missing, Net Posse issues an Idaho Alert (named for the group’s pioneer poster pony, so to speak).

“Thousands of horses are missing or stolen each year,” Metcalfe said. “When a horse is missing, time is of the essence.”

Net Posse posts photos, descriptions, and other details online that may lead to identification and recovery of missing horses. The posts are circulated through various social networking sites, instantaneously alerting the horse world and placing countless potential witnesses on alert.

Metcalfe has authored a book titled Horse Theft: Been There - Done That, to educate horse owners about equine theft and prevention.

Way to go, Idaho!

Click here to search Net Posse's active reports on missing horses.

Related Items:

Last year’s A to Z post: Ideal Independence

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Idaho photos provided by Debi Metcalfe
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  1. Horse thieves - there's a reason they used to hang them.

  2. What a life story! Idaho sure has been through a lot. So glad they found her again. :)




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