A search continues for a pair of horses that went missing from Spruce Hills near 108 Mile Ranch earlier this month, although their owner now fears they may have been stolen.
Valaurie Wettstein said she left the horses - a pair of nine-year-old Fjord crosses - at the Flying Rooster Farm, with plans to use them for sleigh rides this winter. The horses, a roan gelding and caramel-coloured mare, called Jack and Jill, were last seen about 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18. They were reported missing the following morning.
“When they first let me know I didn’t worry much,” said Wettstein, of Wettstone Guest Ranch, adding she expected they were likely roaming nearby and would come back to eat. “Especially in winter. It’s not as if there is lush green grass on the other side.”
For the past week two weeks, Wettstein and several friends have been scouring the area on horseback, covering about 30 kilometres a day. A plane, as well as drones, have flown over the area, while strangers have been out driving or walking the area in hopes of spotting the elusive pair. But after finding no tracks, Wettstein is fearing the worst.
She has contacted the RCMP and BC SPCA. She has also reached out to the B.C. brand inspector, who will give the information to the B.C. and Alberta auction grounds, and plans to contact the only B.C. business certified in butchering horses.
As of Dec. 28, the pair were still missing with no leads as to their whereabouts. Wettstein is now appealing for anyone with thermal-imaging technology who might be able to search for any signs of the horses from the air.
She is offering a reward for the horses’ return, according to her Facebook page.
Jill is described as caramel-coloured with a black and blond mane, while Jack is a roan with a shorter and “messy” black and grey mane, Wettstein said. Both have been branded - with a diamond on top of an upside-down E - on their front left shoulders.
Wettstein said it’s unlikely the pair would have left the other horses and their hay and water.
“After seeing no obvious tracks we are sort of thinking of the idea that someone went out and took them,” she said. “We’ve been riding daily for 20 to 30 km, we’ve covered some ground. A lot of people are aware, which is good.”
She is asking anyone with information on the horses’ whereabouts to call her at 250-706-9369.