Stillwater News Press

Local News

August 20, 2012

Woman finds wandering horse near Cushing; hopes to find owner

CUSHING, Okla. — Vicki Guilfoil had an unexpected turn of events as she traveled to work recently.

“I was driving to work and this (horse) was walking down the side of the road looking for his buddies,” she said.

Guilfoil, a federal veterinarian who lives near 19th Street and Battle Ridge Road, directed the horse along fence lines back to her house, where she corralled the sorrel gelding. She informed the Payne County Sheriff’s Office, which is assisting in the search for an owner.

“We’re assuming that the fact that nobody has called the sheriffs, there haven’t been any ads in the paper, nobody around here owns him, which would be a logical assumption, that I think he’s probably lost from the (Glencoe) fire,” Guilfoil said.

A wildfire near East Richmond and Union roads advanced northeast toward Glencoe Aug. 4, burning 2,000 acres and destroying 10 houses. When she discovered the horse,  Guilfoil said he was heading south on Battle Ridge Road. She said she believes he is in too good of shape to have been let go purposefully and that an owner may have cut fences to spare  animals from the fire.

After checking with neighbors within a 4-mile range and having no luck, the sheriff’s department is required to take further steps, according to Payne County Sheriff R.B. Hauf.

“In the event that we are unable to locate an owner, we have to publish it in the paper and if nobody then claims the horse, we have to take it to the nearest sale barn,” Hauf said.

Guilfoil worries about the repercussions of the horse’s possible sale.

“They’ll sell him at a horse sale ... he’s a gelding, he may be registered but there’s no way to prove it, we don’t know what he can do,” Guilfoil said. “He’ll go to one of the local slaughter buyers. There’s no doubt in my mind about that.”

While she’s not against slaughtering, she said, she doesn’t want that to happen to someone’s pet.

With a proper description, she hopes someone will recognize the horse.

“He’s sorrel, which is red,” she said. “He’s got a blaze. He’s got a big bony knot over his left eye.”

She estimates the quarter horse is approximately 6 years old.

“It looked like he was wearing a halter because there were rub marks behind his ear but other than that, he’s in fairly good body condition,” Guilfoil said. “He’s not thin at all.”

Veterinarians give horses a rating for body condition.

“Between 5 and 7 is really a good place for a horse to be,” Guilfoil said.

She rates this horse at a 7.

“He’s gentle,” Guilfoil said. “He’s very well mannered.”

Hauf couldn’t confirm the amount of time between the first published legal notice and the horse’s sale. He said this scenario does not happen often.

“Most of the owners of livestock will end up calling us saying ‘we’re missing a horse or a cow or whatever’ and we’ve already got the information about where those are at and who has them, so it’s not that common that we don’t find an owner and have to take them to the sale,” Hauf said.

If someone has information on the whereabouts of the horse’s owner, they can call the Payne County Sheriff’s Office at 372-4522.

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