Pieces of dismembered model horse returned to Kamloops owner, now repairs and rebuild begin | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Pieces of dismembered model horse returned to Kamloops owner, now repairs and rebuild begin

Vanderydt says some of the kids who frequent the store cried with happiness when they heard that all of the pieces had been found.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Debbi Vanderydt
July 05, 2020 - 6:32 AM

After a harrowing journey through the streets of Valleyview and along the Trans Canada Highway, all the parts of a dismembered model horse have now been returned to its rightful owner, piece by piece.

Earlier this week, iNFOnews.ca reported on the theft and dismemberment of Rusty, a life-sized model horse that has been a mainstay at one Valleyview storefront for nearly 15 years. Debbi Vanderydt, owner of the ReTack Shop, says the horse was accidentally left out overnight when someone unbolted it from the wall.

The horse’s torso and two legs were found behind a nearby dumpster the morning after the theft, and a man later brought the two other legs into the neighbouring pub. The head, however, was unaccounted for until a loyal customer found it by the highway near Dallas.

“One of our customers... she was driving from work to Pritchard,” Vanderydt says. “She was speaking with someone on the phone who was about ten minutes ahead of her on the highway. And the person driving ahead of her… went underneath the Lafarge overpass and said, ‘Oh my god, there’s a horse’s head here.’”

The customer asked her friend to pull over and get Rusty’s head, but the friend declined because the horse head was with a group of people who were hanging out under the overpass.

“She pulled over at the Lafarge overpass and climbed up to talk to these people, and she was able to negotiate the return of his head,” Vanderydt says. “She said they wanted reward money… and then they wanted a ride in her vehicle but she didn’t feel comfortable with them being in her vehicle with her, so they settled on some phone calls with her phone. Once the phone calls were made they let her take the head, and they were more than happy to give it to her.”

Vanderydt says she has no clue how they got the fibreglass head and neck with a metal base all that way, as it would weigh around 25 pounds. Regardless of how it got out there, she’s just happy to have all the pieces returned.

Vanderydt uses the model horse to teach children about horse anatomy, bandaging techniques and to help children and adults get comfortable around the size of a horse for therapy riding purposes. She says she called some of the families who often come in, and gave them the good news. Vanderydt says the parents were thrilled and the kids ecstatic.

The next step for Vanderydt is to have the horse repaired and put back together, which may not be as easy as finding him.

“The damages on him, none of it was intentional, it was just from being handled incorrectly,” Vanderydt says. “The end of his tail has been worn from being dragged, the top part of where his neck would attach has been worn and chipped from being dragged. The legs, all the edge pieces and any of the removable parts, they’ve all been chipped and scratched and the top of his body has been scratched where he was probably flipped upside down and pushed along the gravel. And the nose and one ear is a little worn.”

All in all, Vanderydt says she’ll have to wait at least a week for the repairs to be done. The estimate she received for the unusual job is around $2,500, while a new horse would cost $3,000 to $5,000.

Despite the cost, she feels a sense of responsibility to have the Valleyview fixture repaired and enjoyed for many more years to come.


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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