A Guide to Finding Your Missing Horse
It can be a devastating experience when your horse goes missing. The fear and worry of not knowing their whereabouts may cause you to feel anxious and overwhelmed.
It’s understandable to feel this way, but it’s good to take a breath and remember that there’s still hope you’ll find your beloved horse. With the right resources and techniques, you can increase your chances of finding your missing horse and reunited with them. In this guide, we’ll walk through the steps you can take to locate your horse and bring them home safely.
First, you may be a horse owner who stumbled across this blog and your horse isn’t missing or you’ve recently found your horse. If that’s the case, it’s always a good idea to take preventive measures if your horse does get lost. Here are some of the best preventive measures to make it easier to find your horse in the event they go missing:
- Microchipping — Microchipping ensures your horse can easily be scanned and identified if they’re found and taken to a veterinarian or animal shelter. Microchipping companies will have a database that includes your contact information, so you can be contacted immediately if your horse is found.
- Branding or freeze marking — Branding or freeze marking your horse gives them a unique identifier that makes it easier for them to be identified and returned to you. When spreading awareness of your lost horse, you can include a picture of the brand or freeze mark so people know that it’s your horse if it’s found.
- Keeping updated photos — Make sure to regularly take quality, updated color photos of your horse. These photos can be invaluable in search efforts.
Taking these preventive measures can give you peace of mind and ensure that you are prepared in the event your horse goes missing.
Immediate Action — First 24 to 48 Hours
As with most lost pets, the first 24 to 48 hours after your horse goes missing are crucial. Time is of the essence, so it’s best to take immediate action. This is because your horse is likely to still be in your nearby vicinity in the first 24 to 48 hours. A domesticated horse may be frightened after escaping and is likely going to stay in areas it knows. Make sure to immediately notify your neighbors to let them know your horse has gotten out. They can help you search and keep an eye out for your horse.
Search the Nearby Area As Soon As Possible
You can start your search in your nearby area. Check neighboring properties, nearby fields, wooded areas and anywhere else your horse may have wandered off to. If you frequently ride your horse in the area, search trails and areas that you and your horse typically walkthrough. Search for tracks or hoof prints that may point you in the right direction. As mentioned, this is a great time to enlist the help of friends, family and neighbors to help you in your search. You’ll be able to cover more ground and you’ll have more eyes searching for your missing horse.
Notify Local Authorities
If your horse goes missing, it’s crucial to notify local authorities as soon as possible. This means calling your local police department and animal control. They will likely want you to file a lost pet report so they have your contact information and a detailed description of your horse on file. If your local police and animal control are aware of the situation, they can keep an eye out, alert the local community and even assist in searching. Along with the police and animal control, you should also contact local animal shelters and vets. They may have some resources of their own to help you. Also, a vet or animal shelter may be the first place someone calls if they find your horse and have no way to contact you. It’s a good idea for the vets and animal shelters to have your case on file too, so they can get a hold of you if this happens.
Engage the Local Equestrian Community
The local equestrian community can be another powerful resource to help you find your lost horse. Reach out to local riding clubs, equestrian organizations and local social media groups dedicated to horses. Make sure to share your horse’s description, photos and other relevant information. If you’re a part of the equestrian community, it’s likely they’ll already be familiar with your horse and will be able to help you find them. Plus, it’s always good to have more people looking out for your horse and covering a larger search area — especially if those people have experience with horses.
Put Up Posters or Flyers
To increase awareness of your missing horse in your local community, it’s a good idea to put up some posters or flyers. Include a clear photo of your horse, their description and your contact information. Make sure to use large signs and big letters to catch the attention of passersby. Also, make sure to hang your posters in high-traffic areas such as local businesses, vets, animal shelters, parks and anywhere with community bulletin boards. Also, it’s a good idea to post them in places that horse owners frequent, such as riding clubs, feed stores and tack shops. The more people who see your posters, the better your chances are of someone identifying your horse.
Understanding Equine Behavior
When conducting your search for your missing horse, don’t forget to keep equine behavior in mind. Many horses will behave in predictable ways when left to their own devices. Some equine behaviors to keep in mind are:
- Horses like to stay near food and water. They may also seek out other horses. Look for areas where food, water and other horses are readily abundant.
- If your horse likes treats, bring food to your search and try to get their attention with it.
- Call out your horse’s name, whistle or use any other familiar noise they respond to. If your horse is nearby, it might run right to you.
- Bring your horse’s buddy on your search. If you’re in a riding club and you often ride your horse alongside other horses, see if your friends will bring their horses along on the search. Your horse may see or hear their friend and come to you.
Organizing a Search Party
One fortunate thing about searching for a horse is that they are big animals and are hard to miss. Organizing a search party to comb nearby areas can greatly increase your chances of spotting your horse and bringing it home. Coordinate search efforts by assigning specific search zones and covering areas as thoroughly as possible. Recruit friends, family and fellow horse owners to assist you. Mark searched areas so you don’t recover ground that was recently searched. By uniting a search party and maximizing your search area, you will hopefully find your horse quickly.
Using Online Tools and Resources
Online tools and social media should always be utilized when searching for a missing horse. Using the right online tools and resources could raise awareness about your missing horse to hundreds or potentially thousands of people in your local area. Post your missing horse on your socials, local Facebook groups, social media groups for riding clubs in your area and any other relevant online platforms or forums.
Also, make sure to take advantage of platforms that are specifically made for lost & found pets. Netposse.com offers a nationwide alert system for lost horses. PawBoost is a free platform for posting lost & found pets with various tools for raising local awareness. Utilizing platforms like these can boost your search efforts to the max.
Persistence and Patience
Finally, it’s important to remember to be persistent and patient in your search efforts. Searching for a missing horse can take time, but you shouldn’t give up hope. Keep searching and keep reaching out. Sometimes it takes days, weeks and even months before a lost horse is found. With persistence and patience, you can increase your chances of a happy reunion and bring your beloved companion home once again.
PawBoost Can Help Find Lost Horses
PawBoost is the best free platform for finding lost pets. Our lost & found pet database is the largest online lost & found pet database in the world. When you make a lost horse listing, it will be posted right to our database. Your listing will also be sent to our alert Rescue Squad through our mobile app, our email subscriber list and our local Facebook pages in your area. You can even use our app’s free template to make physical posters. Check out PawBoost and make your lost horse listing today to increase your chances of a happy reunion!