A horse is on the loose in rural Millstadt, but no one seems to know who its owner is, nor has anyone been able to catch it.
The horse has been sighted at least four or five times in the past three weeks, running around the area of Otten Road and Wagner Road. The dark-brown animal appears to be a stallion and is young, rambunctious and apparently healthy, according to David Sickinger.
Sickinger saw the horse grazing in his front yard around 1:45 p.m. July 25.
He and a neighbor managed to lure the horse toward them with a handful of grass, Sickinger said, and they even petted the horse for a bit. Sickinger had a strap he planned to use to bridle the horse, but he said better judgment took over and he decided the horse was too wild to control even if he could wrangle it.
Sickinger told a St. Clair County sheriff’s deputy the horse might belong to a neighbor. There are several horse farms in the area, but none came forward as the owner, Sickinger said.
Moments after Sickinger started petting the horse, a truck drove by and the horse followed after it. No one would see the horse until more than a week later.
On Wednesday, area resident Aranza Lee spotted the horse in a soybean field near Imbs Station and Wagner roads, less than a mile from Sickinger’s home. She captured a video of the horse running freely through the field and shared it to the Millstadt News Facebook page. By Thursday afternoon, the post had more than 400 shares, but no one had come forward as the owner.
“I mean, how weird is that?” said Sara Yoch of Smithton, a self-described horse-lover.
Lt. Alan Haake of the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department said the department has received several reports over the past three weeks about the missing horse, but he said no one has come forward as the owner, nor has anyone been able to catch it.
Yoch was out at the intersection of Otten and Wagner roads Thursday afternoon with a bucket of feed and a lead, looking for the horse. She said she was out in the same area Wednesday for about four hours, but didn’t have any luck.
She warned area residents to avoid approaching the horse if they aren’t familiar with how horses behave, and to slow down when driving through the area. Yoch said a horse standing in a road on a dark night can cause serious damage to a vehicle and hurt the driver, as well as the horse, of course.
It’s possible the horse was dumped, according to Stephanie Goepfert, a member of the Lincoln Trail Riders in O’Fallon. It can easily cost more than $500 a month to care for a horse, Goepfert said, and it’s possible the owner could not afford to keep it.
On its own, the horse could get sick or injured, Goepfert added.
“They can survive for a period of time in the wilderness, but if they’re a domesticated animal, they’re relying on a certain diet. It can be bad for them,” Goepfert said.
They can survive for a period of time in the wilderness, but if they’re a domesticated animal, they’re relying on a certain diet. It can be bad for them.
Stephanie Goepfert, member of the Lincoln Trail Riders in O’Fallon
The most recent sign of the horse was a bedded-down area next to a creek near where the horse was spotted on Tuesday, Lee said.
There was no sign of the horse as of Thursday afternoon, though several groups were planning to head out and search for it.
Anyone who spots the horse can call the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department at 618-207-4374.