Stolen Horse Group Marks 10 Years of Theft Education, Prevention

"The Year of the Stolen Horse," an event organized by Stolen Horse International Inc., commemorates a decade of fighting horse theft and is designed to bring expanded theft prevention and recovery services to the horse industry.

Stolen Horse International provides education and resources for horse owners worldwide. It was created in 1998 after founder Debi Metcalfe and her family spent nearly a year trying to locate their gaited Paint mare, Idaho, after she was stolen from their property.

"Any time a horse is stolen, we've learned time is of the essence in recovering that horse," said Metcalfe. To that end, Stolen Horse International sends "Idaho Alerts," similar to Amber Alerts for missing children, via its Web site These alerts go out to a global e-mail network to notify recipients of each confirmed missing or stolen horse.

"We've made a number of changes in conjunction with our 'Year of the Stolen Horse' campaign, including instituting a new network of contracted volunteer case managers at the local level, and developing a database-driven system, scheduled to launch by the end of 2008, to automate many of our processes," Metcalfe said. "By automating, we'll be able to spend more of our time and resources on theft-prevention awareness, education, and outreach to horse owners, many of whom don't think theft can happen to them."

While the fundraising and awareness event was originally intended to run until Sept. 26, 2008, Metcalfe indicated that organizers might extend its timeframe.

"Our goal was to raise $12,000; approaching our one-year deadline, we've only raised about half that, due to the economic downturn," Metcalfe said.

SHI has been involved in the recovery of more than 300 horses since 1998.

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Lisa Kemp

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