The initial post on Jeanne Morency’s Facebook page read: “There is a loose horse, “Buzz,” south of Middleburg. … he most likely still has his saddle but no bridle … please call Robert Monk (his owner) and/or Lindsay Kelley (who cares for him at Kinross) … he apparently can be difficult to catch … please do not chase him. Thank you!”

What started as a leisurely trail ride with a small group of friends a couple of Saturday mornings ago at Broad Hollow turned into a community-wide search effort for the wandering equine. I asked Robert, what made Buzz trot off? “A horse fly!”

As is the order of tacking up a horse, the saddle goes on first, then the bridle. One of those nasty stinging machines was circling Buzz’s gleaming coat a bit too eagerly, and Buzz, equally as eager to avoid the inevitable, backed up the split-second Robert dropped the halter to bridle him. With a swift turn of the hoof, off he went.

The search began immediately, and within minutes the previous post on Facebook was read and shared, friends on horse and foot gathered in the area. Groups as many as 20 on horseback searched for him over the weekend. After wearing a muzzle all summer, this robustly built, full-blooded bay Percheron, described as an “easy keeper,” found himself in salad land, staying far enough away and deep in the lush greenery to elude capture. “He is hard to catch, and he just didn’t want to be caught,” Robert lamented. “Can you blame him?”

A drone was generously used in the search but to no avail. Trackers on foot found hoof prints near the edge of a stream, but then nothing. Over 650 people had “liked” or read the post by Sunday evening, and dozens forwarded it to others. Friends of friends offered help and posted well wishes for a happy and safe return. Even people the Monks did not know were posting “prayers for a safe return!” 

Funny how sometimes the most minor thing, well, not that small, will give you away. Post it on Facebook, the world will see it. Monday evening, Buzz finally sauntered onto a property, miles away from Broad Hollow and across Hwy 50, and recognized as not just another horse that had wandered through a broken fence. A videotape of him had been posted online, and within minutes his location was determined. With the saddle still hanging under his belly (stirrups long gone), he was caught with a bucket of grain and little fanfare. After three long days of heart-wrenching worry, Lindsay brought him back home with not a scratch, just a tender spot on his belly.

That night Jill Monk posted on her Facebook page: “Buzz has been found and he is on his way home!!! Thank you everyone for offers of help and your concern! Thank you so much to everyone for all the help searching! This boy ended up miles and miles away from the meet, across 50, and beyond! … What an incredibly awesome small community we live in to have this horse arrive back home safe and sound after no sightings for 60 hours!” One can only wonder where he traveled and the wildlife he may have encountered. 

A friend posted: “Buzz is no worse for the wear and is in better shape than when he left! He was not stressed whatsoever and was more like ‘oh hey, what are you doing here?’ when I caught him. What an adventure!” 

With a collective sigh of relief, hundreds of words of joy and relief began to pour in: “Awesome!!” “Halleluha!” “what a wonderful story to watch from afar – a community like no other” “So relieved!” “Great news!” “So happy he is ok!” “Wonderful news!” “You all were in our prayers – great news!” “Best news all day!” “So happy this had a happy ending!” “So happy he was found. Sounds like he doesn’t lack confidence.” “Thank goodness he is home and ok!”… 

In closing, Jill posted: From Robert and me, our “Prayers answered … sending all our love and deepest gratitude … Thank you all! … it took a village, our whole fantastic community and friends’ best wishes and prayers. THANK YOU ALL!”

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