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‘I’m relieved’: Horses missing near 108 Mile Ranch found safe

The two nine-year-old Fjord crosses back home in Bridge Lake

Two horses who went missing from the Flying Rooster Farm near 108 Mile Ranch last month were found Saturday safe and sound.

Owner Valaurie Wettstein said she got a call Friday from a woman who said her husband was out in a helicopter and noticed some wolves eating something near Tubbs Lake, not far from the farm where the nine-year Fjord-crosses Jack and Jill went missing Dec. 18. The horses had been at the Flying Rooster Farm temporarily to provide winter sleigh rides.

Fearing the worst. Wettstein decided to check out, enlisting a friend who had a drone to take some shots of the area. The footage showed two specks, one of which had the roan colouring of Jack, near a fenceline.

Early Saturday morning, Wettstein, along with her sister and some friends, rode into the area, approaching the potential location from different ends.

“I just had that feeling it was them,” Wettstein told the Free Press.

They saw lots of horse tracks and dung. “We were calling and calling them,” she said. “When I heard my friend call my name frantically I thought something was wrong.”

The snow was knee deep so Wettstein and her sister left their riding horses and waded toward their friend. “It took a half an hour because it was so hard to walk,” she said.

The horses were found near a fence. They had lost a bit of weight, but were in pretty good shape, she said. “I was crying and hugging them,” she said.

The disappearance prompted daily searches by people on horseback, ATVs and on foot, along with drones and a plane. It also attracted attention across Canada and the U.S. 100 Mile RCMP were investigating the possibility the horses had been stolen.

The horses are now back home at the Wettstone Guest Ranch in Bridge Lake. “Can you believe it? I keep pinching myself,” she said. “It’s a relief. I’m mentally and physically exhausted. I keep looking at them out there.

“We went out there looking for a dead animal attack by wolves,” she said. “I’m so happy to have them home. I would take them to my bedroom if I could.”

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