Life-sized model horse stolen, left dismembered behind dumpster in Kamloops - InfoNews

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Life-sized model horse stolen, left dismembered behind dumpster in Kamloops

The head and neck pieces of Rusty are still missing.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / ReTack Shop
June 30, 2020 - 6:00 AM

A Kamloops fixture has been stolen from its home and found dismembered behind a dumpster. The victim is Rusty, a life-size model horse who has spent the last 15 years as a mainstay at a Valleyview tack shop.

“I’m sure the people who took him didn’t realize how valuable he was to people for the reasons he is,” ReTack Shop owner Debbi Vanderydt says.

She has been using Rusty as a learning tool for children and adults who are getting into horseback riding, to get kids prepared for therapy riding and for those who want to learn about horse anatomy and care.

“Quite often (children) pet him, we give them brushes and they brush him, his lower jaw will unclip so kids can put treats in or a bit. They pet him, the brush him, they lead him around the store with a halter and rope and they can pull him,” Vanderydt says. "We have some people that have children with autism and they come over quite often, they don’t ride but they bring the kids quite often to see the horse, that’s one of the ways to help them communicate."

On the morning of June 26, staff at the shop realized Rusty had not been brought in the night before as he normally is. Although the horse was chained and bolted to the exterior of the shop when stationed out front, somebody had stolen it. Rusty stood on a platform with wheels.

She quickly put a message on ReTack Shop’s social media. She was hoping it was a graduation prank or a joke, but that was not the case as she found out while talking to members of the street entrenched population.

“It turned out two men had been pushing him but they were more interested in the platform than the horse," she says. 

Vanderydt says children would use Rusty to learn about anatomy, and would often practice bandaging techniques on him.
Vanderydt says children would use Rusty to learn about anatomy, and would often practice bandaging techniques on him.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Debbi Vanderydt

A few hours after they realized he had been stolen, Rusty's torso and two legs were found behind a nearby dumpster. She is still on the hunt for the horse's other two legs, head, neck and the platform

Vanderydt hopes the head, which is made of fibreglass and has a metal pole sticking out of it, might be found stuck in someone’s garden.

If all the parts are returned, Rusty might be able to be rebuilt, if not, Vanderydt will have to buy another model horse, which cost between $3,000 and $5,000.

“He has been in that Falcon Lane plaza for 14 to 15 years, at least,” Vanderydt says. “He is valuable to many people for many different reasons, from kids to adults and we’d really like to have the pieces back. If they want the platform, I’ve offered to all the people we’ve spoken to to build them a bigger and better platform with wheels that will go over all terrain and give it to them. We just want the horse back.”

Vanderydt has filed a police report but just hopes the pieces are returned to the store. In the meantime, many of her clients have been offering up money for either a reward, to buy a new horse, with the remainder going to a pony club for children.

If you have any information about where the rest of Rusty might be, reach out to Vanderydt through Facebook here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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