Like Taking Candy


Editor's note: There are three remaining horse slaughterhouses in the US - 2 of them in Texas, where horse theft is most common. Tragically, most stolen horses are never found, but here is one happy ending. Thanks to the concerted efforts of many, and one very valuable organization - Stolen Horse International, founded by Debi Metcalfe, after her horse Idaho was stolen and found one year later - Candy was found.

Houston/Round Rock, Texas - Horse thieving is a flourishing occupation that preys on susceptible owners. But there are ways to combat this sinister business. Now is the time to take steps to avoid becoming a victim. Cheryl Snyder wishes she had, many times.

On April 17, 2003 a horse named Candy was taken from a Houston area farm. Cheryl Snyder has been hooked to the Internet for more than a year. But it's not because of any shopping bargains or entertaining chat lines she may find. 

She's been searching for Candy, her quarter horse mare. She had the horse for years until one afternoon last April when Candy disappeared. Cheryl contacted Stolen Horse International, Inc. and started her own investigation with the help of the nonprofit organization.

Debi and Cheryl have received hundreds of phone calls and e-mails from people interested in helping out, offering tips, asking for information and encouraging Cheryl to continue searching for Candy. Many are victims, too. 

Volunteers from around the world have been a part of the search for Candy. On Thursday, July 8, 2004 the rest of the world would learn what Debi Metcalfe, founder of Stolen Horse International, Inc., and Cheryl Snyder have known for a week… Candy has been found!

Thanks to a SHI flyer, Cheryl will go to Harris County Annex Thursday in Houston to see for the first time and to claim Candy. [Update: Cheryl did, and Candy is finally back home, over one year later, and doing well.] Unfortunately another woman who purchased Candy, as her first horse, is now a victim.

This is a touching recovery. This type of story gives hope to so many, no matter what obstacle they are trying to overcome.

SHI has received hundreds of letters about Candy. Hopefully they will all soon know that she has been recovered and that their help was greatly appreciated.

One estimate says there are 40,000-55,000 horses stolen each year in the US. Many of those horses are from the state of Texas.

Thieves have many ways of taking horses. Many are taken from unsuspecting owners at horse shows, rodeos, and other events as well as barns and pastures. Writing bad checks is a common method of theft as well as bad sales contracts and leases. Holding registration papers until the check clears is a good idea and in many cases so is holding the horse until paid in full.

Debi Metcalfe offered a few other ideas on how owners can keep their horses in their barn. 

"We stress branding," Metcalfe says. "A freeze-brand is a visible deterrent. Microchips and tattoos are good for identification, but a thief will see a brand, and chances are he won't steal that horse." 

It's difficult to counteract every attempt at theft, but simply making theft difficult for thieves reduces risk. Lock gates, stall doors and trailer hitches. Keep your trailer parked out of sight, because many thieves take it along with the horses. Don't leave halters hanging on stall doors or on horses out to pasture. 

Stolen Horse International is a non-profit equestrian organization founded in 1998 to support theft victims and promote theft awareness. SHI's unadvertised website has been viewed by close to 3 million individuals in the past year.

For more information about SHI, the victim assistance and awareness program, volunteering, and donations please call 704-472-4314, web site at



Stolen Horse International, Inc.
Stolen Horse International, Inc. (SHI) is registered as a non profit corporation in the state of NC and a 501(c)(3) organization.


Stolen Horse International, Inc. (SHI) brings attention to a major crime against horse lovers, horse theft. The mission of Stolen Horse International, Inc. is to provide a comprehensive theft awareness program to all facets of the horse industry and offer educational opportunities for horse enthusiasts of all types and across all disciplines: SHI's goals are:

To establish a global resource to aid in the search for:

  • Missing horses
  • Stolen horses
  • Stolen tack
  • Stolen trailers

Owners of found horses

To promote increased involvement through equestrian organizations.

To build an international network, NetPosse, to disseminate images and information missing and stolen horses through the Idaho Alerts system.

To provide education opportunities to improve public awareness on horse theft and identification methods through seminars, presentations and exhibits.

To provide resources and information to the law enforcement community.

"Never underestimate the power of one!"

Stolen Horse International, Inc. (SHI), a 501c3 organization
Home of NetPosse and Idaho Alerts for horses
Join NetPosse Today!

Stolen Horse International Inc. & the NetPosse
PO Box 1341
Shelby, NC 28151