Still no sign of missing Freeland horse, searchers report
September 4, 2009 · Updated 4:55 PM
There’s still no sign of Rebel.
“There hasn’t been anything,” Megan Caravan of Freeland said Friday. “We don’t know what to do next. Wait, I guess.”
The chocolate-brown Rocky Mountain horse owned by Caravan’s Freeland family bolted and ran off more than a week ago as her 18-year-old son, Jesse, and two friends were preparing for a horseback ride in the Kettles Park Trail System next to Fort Ebey State Park west of Coupeville.
The horse has been missing ever since. Even the promise of a reward has brought no response.
“We still go out every day, go through the trails and talk to people,” Caravan said. “We put some signs around.”
Besides combing several miles of trails in the Kettles Park area, the family has contacted auction houses and large-animal veterinarians throughout the area, without success.
“We’ve kind of exhausted our ideas,” Caravan said.
Her son and his friends were heading out from the parking area near the intersection of Highway 20 and Libby Road in the northeast corner of the trail system about 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28.
They were approaching the entrance to Ladders Trail when Rebel’s western-style saddle loosened and began to slip.
Caravan dismounted to secure the tack. The horse tossed his head, and hit a tree branch. Spooked, Rebel bolted, yanking the reins from Jesse Caravan’s hand, and ran off down the trail.
Caravan’s companions gave chase, but lost the track at a divide in the pathway.
Throughout the weekend, others joined the search, including members of the Island County Chapter of Backcountry Horsemen of Washington, other horse enthusiasts and a number of people on foot.
“There’s been a wonderful amount of support,” Caravan said.
Rebel, an 8-year-old gelding, has white-stocking markings on three legs, a white mark on his forehead and light-colored mane and tail. He stands about 14.1 hands, or 56 inches from the ground following a vertical line along his front leg.
When he disappeared, Rebel was still wearing the well-used saddle and saddle blanket. He was also wearing a head stall with silver coins with holes drilled in them, and a blue halter under his bridle.
There has been no sign of any of the tack equipment. And there have been no indications of a horse smashing its way off-trail and through the forest.
Rebel is owned by Megan Caravan’s father, Mike Morley, who lives on five acres along Highway 525 in Freeland. Morley has had Rebel for about six years, and also owns another horse, Caravan said.
She said she and other family members would continue the search.
“I’ve even been checking a lot of back yards,” she said. “I’m getting pretty good at going up to people’s houses.”
Caravan can be reached at 360-929-4491, or call Diane Morley at 321-4028, or Lindsey Vanwetter at 360-348-7009.