Missing Horse Confounds Plainfield
Scott and Courtney Walker and "Beamer" help search for Margaret Cassedy's lost horse. (Connie Walker photograph)
Connie Walker's horse, Otis, who has been helping search for a lost horse named DJ. (Connie Walker photograph)
Plainfield — Friends and neighbors are rallying to aid a Plainfield woman as she searches for her horse, which went missing during a snowstorm last week.
Margaret Cassedy said her horse DJ was spooked by a plow on Thursday and broke through his electric fence at Cassedy’s Route 12A home.
Although a neighbor caught up with DJ, a 16-year-old dark brown quarter horse, later in the day, he couldn’t be corralled, and Cassedy hasn’t seen him since.
“It’s like his trail went poof,” she said.
Cassedy, 62, has owned DJ for 10 years. She suffers from asthma and doesn’t own a four-wheel drive vehicle, making it difficult for her to search on her own. She wasn’t home when the horse broke loose and only found out later in the day.
While the whole ordeal has been difficult, Cassedy said she’s grateful for the community that has sprung up to search for DJ, including a group of about a dozen people who turned out on Saturday.
Searchers have come on foot, snowshoe, snowmobile, cross-country skis and, of course, horseback.
“I feel kind of helpless, and I’m so grateful that there are people who get it, they understand, because they’re friends and neighbors or they’re fellow horse people or any combination thereof,” said Cassedy. “It’s an affirmation of the essence of living in a small town.
“The reality is that I’ve been out in the woods some, but I have asthma, so I can’t really do a lot of stomping. So other people have been doing the stomping for me.”
One of the searchers who Cassedy called “instrumental” was her neighbor and fellow horse enthusiast Connie Walker, who found DJ about a mile up Freeman Hill shortly after he escaped.
“He was really freaked out and I was not able to put the halter on him. He just kept bolting off,” Walker said. “ ... We just haven’t had any luck at all, and there’s been so many people out and about (searching). ... I don’t know, it’s just a mystery.”
Like Cassedy, Walker said that the outpouring of concern has been comforting.
“It was only zero (degrees) out and it was in the middle of a snowstorm, and ... it was just nice to have so many concerned neighbors,” she said.
Police and others have followed tracks at different points in the week, but those suspected to be DJ’s were quickly covered over by blowing snow, and others were never confirmed to be DJ’s.
Walker said hiring a helicopter to scan the woods was considered, but that one operator said the recent snow cover on the trees would make it difficult to see anything. The idea may be reconsidered if conditions change, she said.
Walker said there are free-running streams that DJ could be drinking from and he could be eating conifer leaves. Cassedy said he was healthy with “great flesh” and a “great coat” when he bolted.
Still, Cassedy said she has come to terms with the fact that DJ might not survive.
“It’s not that horses never go missing, but everything just kind of conspired to converge at once for bad weather, scared horse, confusion, a variety of things,” Cassedy said. “I’ve had horses get loose before, but to have it happen like this and for him to be gone so long ... It wouldn’t be so much of a concern if it was warm weather. ... So I have accepted that he may not be found and he may not be found alive, but horses and animals in general can surprise you.”
Cassedy and Walker said that while they’re grateful for the help and there may be another search this weekend, they’re now hoping for new sightings.
Anybody who has seen a loose horse matching DJ’s description can contact Cassedy at email@example.com.
DJ is 15.3 hands at the withers (just over five feet), dark brown and solidly built.
Maggie Cassidy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3220.
Connie Walker's horse, Otis, who is helping search for Margaret Cassedy's lost horse DJ, is pictured in a photo above. An earlier version of the online photo caption misidentified Walker's horse.