26 Aug 2015

Facebook posts from the horse's mouth

6:41 pm on 26 August 2015

Thousands of horse lovers around the country are taking to social media to reconnect with their old pets, in an effort to discover their fate.

Rebecca Kay set up the "Where is my old pony now?" Facebook page after she sold her mare in 2009 and never heard anything of her again.

Rebecca Kay's horse, Jelly.

Rebecca Kay's horse, Jelly Photo: Supplied

The Facebook page now has 3500 New Zealand users who can post pictures of their old horses in appeal to anyone who might know where they are now.

"It's not just people looking for their old horse - it's people trying to find out information about the horse they have now as well," Ms Kay said.

Page user Sarah Thrasher started as a horse instructor at the YMCA Camp Kaitoke last November.

She noticed one of the seven horses at the camp, Ice, was getting grumpy.

Sarah Thrasher's horse Ice this year.

Sarah Thrasher's horse Ice, this year Photo: Supplied

She tracked down the old purchase agreement with YMCA, but there was no contact number for the previous owner, so she looked to Facebook.

"I put a photo on the Facebook page which is just a photo that I took the other day and a little explanation about him - he looks like a Dalmatian so he is quite recognisable."

Sherryn Anderson replied to Ms Thrasher in a matter of minutes. She recognised Ice from a photo she had of him at the 2003 annual Appaloosa National Show.

She said she matched up his dots between the two pictures to help confirm it was actually him.

Sarah Thrasher's horse Ice in 2003.

Ice, in 2003 Photo: Supplied

Ms Thrasher said the high level dressage training Ice would have gone through to compete explained why he had been so grumpy.

She said Ice's mouth would not have been weathered to children yanking to go left or right, because he had been trained in dressage which involves only a very light and balanced touch.

"If you are bouncing around, you can imagine how that would make his mouth feel."

Lincoln High School student Ellie Brown shed tears when her horse, Navarro, was sold three years ago.

Now aged 15, she said she had always wondered where he ended up.

"I knew about this page for a long time and I thought it was worth a shot to try and find him. I expected to get no luck, but it turns out that the lady who owns him saw the post and said to me how he was! I was thrilled."

Not all posts are as successful though.

Liana Goodall re-homed her horse, Hunter, about two years ago and never received any payment after he was handed over.

"I felt very attached and very close to him, because he was a very successful rehabilitation horse."

Ms Goodall runs the rehabilitation centre Hibiscus Coast Horses and posted on the Facebook page to find out what had happened to Hunter but without any luck.

Liana Goodall's horse, Hunter.

Liana Goodall's horse, Hunter Photo: Supplied

She said it would be good to have more people using the page to help people track down horses and not just to look for their own.

"It's a really good idea and there are some good success stories, but unfortunately I'm not one of them."

Ms Kay said she never expected the page to grow as much as it had - originally it was just her own group of friends.

Just yesterday, she said, she had five Facebook requests from overseas users trying to get an invite to this tight-knit horsey community.