September 2016 Issue - page 10

Page 10
September 2016
PENNSYLVANIA EQUESTRIAN
By Marcella Peyre-Ferry
Well organized searches,
publicity, and a little luck brought
Paso Fino gelding Play Doh back
to his owner Susan Crawford
after he was missing for twelve
days in the Patapsco State Recre-
ation Area in Maryland.
Crawford is from York, PA,
but she frequently travels to
area parkland with her horse as
training for competitive trail. She
was riding and camping at the Pa-
tapsco site with her 10-year-old,
chestnut Paso Fino, Play Doh.
Even though the pair are very
experienced on trails, accidents
can happen to anyone.
Crawford and Play Doh were
on the trails, riding with a friend
on Friday, May 27. Crawford
came to a fork in the trail in the
heavily wooded area, and chose a
path that turned into a dead end.
As they turned around to get
back to the main trail, the footing
along the edge of the trail began
to give way and they started to
Horse Found After Twelve Days Lost in Maryland Park
slide down and backward. Play
Doh’s hind legs went out from un-
der him, and Crawford came off.
“It definitely was a rider er-
ror. The trail got rocky, and there
was an alternate trail to the left,”
Crawford recalled the accident.
“The sides crumbled away, we
slid off the trail and he was going
backward.”
Crawford was not seriously
injured in the fall, but Play Doh
was frightened and ran. The friend
she had been riding with went off
after the loose horse, but was un-
able to retrieve him before he was
out of sight. “The woods are very
dense there,” Crawford said.
They returned to the Mar-
riotsville Parking Area, and the
search began “As soon as I got
back we immediately went and
talked to everyone at the camp-
grounds,” Crawford said. She
called police, and went online as
well to get the word out about her
missing horse. “Very quickly you
had a group of people looking for
him.”
A community page titled
‘Where is Play Doh’ was creat-
ed on Facebook, posters were
printed and put up throughout
the area, and local news outlets
covered the story.
Searchers included the
League of Maryland Horsemen
Club, the Howard County MD
Police, Maryland State Police and
mountain bikers and hikers who
regularly use the park.
Hard to Find
Everyone was looking for
Play Doh, but he was not easy to
find. He was finally recovered 12
days after he disappeared, about
three miles from the trail where
he and Crawford had fallen.
With his neon colored tack
still on, Play Doh should have
been relatively easy to spot, but
the heavy foliage proved to be
good camouflage. He was finally
spotted by hikers Emily Perry-
man, Vlad Konstantinov, and
David Sugar about a half-mile
from the Woodstock Inn with his
sponge leash tangled in a branch.
The hikers had seen the post-
ers for the lost horse, and were
able to approach him because
the tangled line kept him from
running away.
The horse was still wearing all
of his tack, with his saddle shifted
to one side. The hikers cut his reins
to get him loose of the branches
and led him back to the Inn.
“They only noticed him
because they saw the lost horse
signs. They did a really nice job,”
Crawford said.
Play Doh sustained only minor
injuries with a gash on his back
being the worst of those. He also
had a few rubs from his tack and
minor scrapes. He was not thin or
dehydrated thanks to the lush plant
life and available water in the park.
Play Doh has been given
some time off to allow the gash in
his back to heal completely, but he
appears to have survived the or-
deal without any lasting damage.
“He’s great. He’s definitely
glad to be home,” Crawford said.
“He’s my good buddy.”
In case something like this
should ever happen again, Craw-
ford has gotten a GPS tracking
device that can be put on the
saddle or bride. “The other piece
of advice, get dog tags to put on
the horse. Someone who found
your horse wouldn’t know what
to do with it,” she said.
Crawford thanks everyone
who joined her in the effort to find
Play Doh. “It was all so over-
whelming, the support and kind-
ness of everyone,” she said.
Three hikers spotted (and snapped this photo of) Play Doh, tangled in bushes, still fully tacked, in the
Maryland woods. Other than a gash in his back he was mostly uninjured, well fed and healthy.
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