Equestrian’s Horse Disappears...

fotorcreatedMissing a pet causes the same grief and worry of losing a family member. Only people with pets can understand the connection owners have with their furry friends. Owners go to great lengths until the animal is found. Maintaining hope is the only way to make it through the difficult time and it helps to have people who share that same love for animals to be at your side.

Susan Crawford recently went through that same experience. Crawford is a dedicated member of the League of Maryland Horsemen equestrian club. She and her 10-year-old horse, Play Doh, have spent countless hours together riding through the beautiful Pennsylvania landscape. It appeared nothing could separate the two loving companions from traversing the landscape together until the unexpected happened.

#12 – It Was Just Like Any Other Ride

001-11-it-was-just-like-any-other-ride-894208On May 27, 2016, Crawford and Play Doh were taking a typical ride with a through Patapsco State Park, a recreation area stretching 32 miles along the Patapsco River totaling 14,000 acres of land south and west of Baltimore, Maryland. Crawford, an experienced rider, had no idea what would happen next in #10.

#11 – Play Doh Slips And Falls Down Steep Bank

002-10-play-doh-slips-and-falls-down-steep-894243Play Doh was making his way through some difficult terrain and somehow lost his footing. The poor horse slipped and slid down a very steep bank and tossed Crawford off the saddle and to the ground in the process. “We slipped down and I slid off of him,” Crawford told WJZ in an interview. “Then he took off…” Find out where he went in #9.

#10 – Play Doh Vanished Into The Woods

003-9-play-doh-vanished-into-the-woods-894238Understandably, Crawford was shaken up from the fall but realized she had incurred no physical damage. Because Play Doh was spooked, he vanished and was nowhere to be found. “We were close to the tunnel on the tracks,” Crawford told the Baltimore Sun. “He ran along the tracks toward a parking lot and a couple say him head right up into the woods.”

#9 – Search Party Was Formed

004-8-search-party-was-formed-4e196e65fd631bbd4d74f24b25fe057aA search party was assembled to search the wilderness for the missing horse. Volunteers from the Howard County Police and Maryland State Police, along with mountain bikers, hikers, and members of Crawford’s equestrian club searched the woods and covered as much ground as they possibly could. Discover how Crawford felt about losing her friend in #7.

#8 – Crawford Was Trapped In A Nightmare

005-7-crawford-was-trapped-in-a-nightmare-894236Crawford described the situation as “like being trapped in a nightmare.” She could not understand how a large horse could simply vanish given his extremely visible tack and saddle and lime-green holster. “I tried to come to terms with the worst case scenarios – he was hurt, he had been taken, he had been hit by a car.” Crawford had one last ditch effort to finding her trusty steed in #6.

#7 – “Where Is Play Doh?” Facebook Page Created

006-6-where-is-play-doh-facebook-page-creat-894234Crawford turned to social media, a popular place for people to post about missing pets. She uploaded photos and descriptions to the Facebook page “Where is Play Doh?” After practically no time at all, the page took off and quickly garnered nearly 10,000 likes and drew the attention of her local news station.

#6 – In the Search For The Long Haul

007-5-in-the-search-for-the-long-haul-a97a22de986d4b492ba77b42f2868f61With the help of her equestrian group, hundreds of posters were hung in the area and the League of Maryland Horsemen became a base camp for the search party. After much fret and worry, Crawford gained some hope after she received a call from a stranger claiming to have seen Play Doh in the area. She rushed to the scene with the hopes of being reunited with her missing friend.

#5 – No Luck, But The Search Must Go On

008-4-no-luck-but-the-search-must-go-on-2e5cbba310ccc2b7630b4c8698d99ecf“We got there, and it wasn’t him,” she disappointingly told CBS Baltimore. The clock was running against them and they began to lose hope. After two more weeks had passed, three hikers noticed a missing horse poster at the beginning of the trail and stumbled upon an animal matching Play Doh’s description.

#4 – Could It Be Play Doh?

009-3-could-it-be-play-doh-9126fd503dd0da26c943a89d2b5a92daThe poor animal’s gear was tangled around his leg with the saddle cockeyed. The hikers, David Sugar, Emily Perryman, and Vlad Konstantinov had not heard the news of a missing horse in the area and remembered joking about the situation when they saw the poster asking, “How do you lose a horse?” The group contacted Crawford’s equestrian club who made their way to the scene. Find out if it was Play Doh in #2.

#3 – The Search Is Over!

010-2-the-search-is-over-2fe7088dbd9ed8de4ebd6c34780a336cPlay Doh had been found and Crawford was overjoyed. The celebration would have to wait until Play Doh could be analyzed for any serious injuries. The rescue party loaded the stallion onto the trailer and made their way back to camp. Visibly, Play Doh had sustained some minor lacerations, a deep cut, and a long face. Find out if Play Doh was okay in #1.

#2 – Play Doh Is Cleared For Duty!

011-1-play-doh-is-cleared-for-duty-b0c608206e62686277d7bd56257afc6aAside from that, Play Doh just appeared to miss his human. He underwent some much-needed treatment. “He kind of put his head on my shoulder, and he was like, ‘Oh, thank god. Mom found me,” Crawford told CBS Baltimore. Three months later, Play Doh was reunited with his rescuers and Crawford could not be happier to have received so much support from friends and strangers alike to find him.

#1 – Susan Crawford Is So Thankful

012-susan-crawford-is-so-thankful-8d00476328afb42106195c3dbd374c8fPlay Doh was able to make a full recovery and has enjoyed multiple rides with his equestrian friend named Jasmine through Spring Valley in an event organized by the National Association of Competitive Mounted Orienteering. The two horses enjoyed a nice bath in the river to escape the summer heat.

Today, Crawford is a staunch supporter of social media when it comes to lost pets. Word spread quickly and she cannot thank the people who hiked, flew drones, cooked, and searched for Play Doh. “Play Doh thoroughly enjoyed his chiropractic session. He looked so relaxed afterwards.” The public support she received undoubtedly led to her reunion.

By October 2016, Play Doh was passing an endurance-riding course with flying colors and even completed the track at Canter for the Cause at Pimlico. The track is famous in the equestrian world and has landed Play Doh among the ranks of such famous horses as Seabiscuit, Secretariat, and American Pharoah. Play Doh is back and ready for action.

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