DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Thieves cut through a barbed wire fence to steal two horses from a church camp in southwest Dallas last week.
The horses, Zip and Blaze, were the two most popular among children who take riding lessons at Camp El Har.
Camp staff last saw them Monday evening, when they were let out to pasture. The camp’s equestrian director, Tiffany Gardner, noticed them missing Tuesday, when she opened the gate.
“Eight came and two were missing, and the two that were missing were ones that never hang behind,” said Gardner.
In the farthest, darkest corner of the pasture, camp staff found the barbed wire had been cut on the weakest portion of their fence.
“So, it seemed like they knew what they were doing. They knew the pasture and the property,” said Gardner.
They may also have known the horses. They picked two of the easiest and most obedient.
“The kids; these two are their favorite horses,” said Gardner. “Listening to the kids react to the news was heartbreaking.”
“I was sad. I didn’t want to go to school,” said Katherine Kurylas, 11, who attends camp every Saturday. She admits the loss has been hard to accept.
“’Cause I had a connection with them. Like we were friends. I wasn’t just a person who rode them, we were friends,” she said.
Since the theft, Gardner has moved two privately owned horses off the camp site, leaving the children with only six. There are also signs the thieves may have returned.
Thursday, staff members found someone had opened all the gates.
“Do we suspend the camp? Do we continue and do what we can? Do we wait until summer and rebuild the program then? We don’t really know what we’re going to do,” said Gardner.
As for the kids, they can only assume whoever took their horses didn’t understand.
“I don’t think they understand how, what they mean to us,’ said Kurylas.
The camp staff is working to better secure the property while police investigate. Gardner has also contacted auction houses and posted the news on Facebook, hoping someone may recognize the horses.
A community of horse lovers has responded as well, spreading fliers with the horses’ pictures. NetPosse, a nonprofit that helps locate stolen horses, has issued an alert. You can print a copy of their flier to help spread the word.