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The owners of a seven-year-old part-bred Irish Draught gelding called Shay have appealed for help to find their horse after he was stolen from their farm near Stamford, in Lincolnshire, last week.

Shay was last seen at 10pm on 6 August but had disappeared from the field when his owners went to check on their three horses at 6am the following morning.
The other two horses, who had been freeze marked, were left alone.

The 17hh bay gelding is described as “very good-natured and trusting”, with a white blaze, a black mane around 8in in length and a full long black tail. Both knees are “broken” and have white scars from a fall on the road.

Anna Brown, the national secretary of UK Horsewatch, an organisation that locates stolen horses and counsels crime victims, told HHO of her fears that Shay may already have been taken out of the country.

“He is a big horse to hide and we have had no sightings of him yet,” she said.

“The owners are distraught by their loss. I often have to deal with devastated owners after a horse is stolen, and it is never easy. But when a grown man breaks down, it really hits home the ordeal they are suffering. We really want to get this horse back to them.”

UK Horsewatch have been monitoring a worrying rise in the number of equine thefts this year and are appealing for increased vigilance from the public. Twenty-six horses, ponies and donkeys were taken in 2002, but this year’s tally has already exceeded it by 10, with 19 stolen since the start of June.

“It is getting back to the worrying statistics we faced in the mid to late Nineties,” said Anna. “I believe the introduction of horse passports on the 1 January may be partially responsible, with thieves taking horses before the restrictions come into effect.”

If you have any information about Shay, please contact UK Horsewatch (tel: 07973 905256).