It's been about six weeks since Dustee, a 6-year-old gelding, became spooked while being ridden at an endurance competitive riding event and ran off into the wilds of the Pillsbury State Forest in Pillager.
And his owners desperately want their horse back.
The horse, missing since just before 8 a.m. Aug. 31, is owned by Vanessa Reichert, 20, Richmond, and her parents, Charles and Lynn Reichert, owners of Whispering Winds Arabians.
Vanessa has owned the horse since before the gelding was born. She was riding the horse in the Charity Cup, an endurance competitive racing event, held Aug. 31 in Pillsbury State Forest in Pillager when the horse became spooked and threw her off.
No caption was contained in the photo file
She was more than a mile from the horse campground at the park down a trail when it happened, said her mother, Lynn. Dustee stepped on Vanessa's leg and would have stepped on her head or shoulders if she hadn't let go of his reins, she told her mother.
The horse took off through the woods. The Reicherts have returned to the state forest a few times each week to search for the horse but haven't seen any sign of him. Pillsbury State Forest encompasses nearly 15,000 acres.
The Reicherts have put up signs throughout the community and a few callers have told them they have spotted their horse. Last weekend a caller said he saw Dustee between Motley and County Road 1 so they searched that area but still didn't find him.
If Dustee is found dead, the Reicherts still want to find his body. As with all of their deceased horses, they want to keep a horseshoe and lock of his tail to make a memorial.
"We don't know what to think," said Lynn Reichert, of what happened to their horse. She said another horse was once missing and found alive in Pillsbury State Forest after it had gone missing for a month. "We're not familiar with the area so it's hard to know where to look."
The DNR and Cass County Sheriff's Department have assisted in the search for the horse.
The horse is described as brown with a black mane and tail and has four white "socks" on each foot with a white mark between his eyes. He is 16 hands tall. He could still be wearing a black endurance saddle with a royal blue fly mask, blue bridle and blue horn bags on the back part of the saddle. He also wore a breast collar and a cool pad underneath the saddle.
The Reicherts are offering a $500 reward.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the Reicherts at (320)597-3312 or call the Cass County Sheriff's Department at (218)547-1424.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.