After three weeks on the run, owner is being reunited with lost horse.
SENLAC, Sask. – Joshua Middleton and girlfriend Alison Whitehouse came to the Middleton farm for a visit three weeks ago and never expected a turn for the worst.
The couple came from Calgary to the farm where parents Doug and Becky Middleton still reside. Whitehouse decided to bring her nine-year-old quarterhorse, Sarge, along for the trip to tour the scenic prairie land near Senlac. As a vet tech, Whitehouse brought all the essentials she needed for Sarge, including blankets and stock panels for housing the horse.
On the morning of Oct. 5, Whitehouse realized Sarge had disappeared during the night. The stock panels had been knocked over and based on the evidence left behind, the Middetons suspected moose had done the damage, spooking Sarge to the point he fled the scene.
The biggest concern with the missing equine was he still had a blanket on him. This could be dangerous because it could get hung up on broken trees, entangling the animal so he would not be able to feed or water. Whitehouse had been looking with help from the Middletons for 10 hours before reaching out for online help.
Whitehouse’s friend of 10 years, Adrienne Wolf, took to Facebook instantly. With cash rewards offered, the posts had started to be shared amongst horse enthusiasts all over Saskatchewan. Whitehouse was doing all that she could near Senlac to find her beloved horse, enlisting the help from a crop dusting pilot and a friend with a drone. It is estimated she put in close to 100 hours looking for her four-legged hooved friend.
“There was a huge amount of support from Senlac and the surrounding communities. We had people looking from all over the area. Alison would even go to Unity and Macklin and talk to the local guys to make sure they knew about Sarge,” said Wolf.
On Oct. 26, Becky was just finishing lunch at the Senlac Café when she received a call from Mark Headrick, who lives east of Senlac. He happened to see a horse rolling around in the ditch not far from his home and called Becky right away.
“I dropped everything in that moment and drove to where Mark said he was. He was holding Sarge by the blanket to make sure he was not going anywhere else when I got there,” said Becky.
Before long, other Senlac farmers came to the aid of the horse. Ken Murrell came with grain and a rope and Jim Cooper had stopped to help, informing the rescuers that his son, Ash, was not far behind with a trailer. The horse was loaded up into the Cooper’s trailer until Middleton’s husband, Doug, was able to retrieve the animal and safely transport it back to their farm.
Wolf said “Sarge is in really good shape considering he has been on the run for 21 days. The Middletons had secured him well once they got him home. Doug even added more boards to make sure he doesn’t go anywhere else.”
Sarge was still wearing his blanket, in perfect condition. The only scratch on him was a small scar on his nose. Wolf said she was impressed with how kind everyone was during this ordeal. The Coopers, who run a large herd of horses, were checking on a regular basis to make sure Sarge didn’t end up coming home with them. Whitehouse came back on Oct. 27 to pick up her companion, thankful for everyone who helped in bringing Sarge home.
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