A pregnant horse that went missing from a farm near Entwistle, Alta., in September was returned on Christmas Eve.
Molly, a six-year-old Clydesdale, was found near her owner’s home when she was on her way to visit her daughter.
Cindy Thomas and her husband had spent 40 minutes on the road when she received a text message.
“I made her send me a picture because I wasn’t quite sure if I was ready to turn around,” she said.
“We had maybe given up a little bit, we were a bit reserved on our reactions.”
When she received confirmation it was in fact Molly, the decision to turn around and head back to their home near Entwistle was an easy one.
“She sent us a picture and we saw it was her, and I just started crying and made the husband turn around and we floored it home,” she said.
During the three months that Molly was missing, Thomas believes someone had her in their possession.
“I’m pretty sure someone had her. There were a lot of discrepancies with who she was before she left, and who she is now.”
Thomas said the horse’s general health is in “really good shape for being gone as long as she was,” and because of that, “there’s no way she could have been in the wild.”
But there are changes in the horse, according to Thomas.
“I think she’s probably been through a lot this last little bit. She’s going to take a bit of time to recoup, but she’s well on her way. She’s getting spoiled rotten.
“She’s got a few issues with her feet, but overall, she looks really good.”
Molly is still going to have her babies come March.
“She’s still in foal, she’s still got her babies coming,” Thomas said.
Thomas said she thinks that if someone had Molly, they began to feel bad after seeing all of the attention the missing horse was receiving.
“I was in their face a lot,” she said. “We pushed her pictures — strangers pushed her pictures — and we were looking for her constantly.
“Maybe they realized it wasn’t fair and it’s a good time of year to give her back.”
There was a GoFundMe account created for a reward for Molly’s return, and it had garnered $1,275 in funds. However, the money was returned to its donors six weeks ago.
“We hadn’t really given up, but I was a little bit resigned that we weren’t really going to need it,” Thomas said.
Initially, when Molly went missing, Thomas’ worst fear crept in: that the horse had been taken for use in the horse meat industry in Japan, where the meat is considered a delicacy.
She explained that in Canada, “people are turning to raising horses solely for that purpose.”
This fear, however, later disappeared.
“The more I learned, the more I realized that maybe Molly wasn’t the perfect candidate for that because she was in foal,” Thomas said. “They probably would have just kept her here until she had the babies.”
Through the months of her absence, Thomas did see a silver lining: all those who wanted to help.
“The strangers that came to our aid, the searching and the sharing and the posters worldwide that people were putting out, that was all really amazing.”
Thomas said she is happy to spend time with the horse, and that she cancelled her trip to Calgary when her horse was found.
“I stayed home with my baby,” she said.
Molly’s whereabouts may never come to light, but Thomas said she doesn’t mind.
“I’m just at the point where I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. I’m just so thrilled she’s home and it’s over.”