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[RC] Thank you everyone!!My Desert Odyssey (long) - Dawn Simas

Wow, where do I begin...  The last 36 hours seem like they were a dream, it was all so surreal.  I got home late last night, physically and emotionally exhausted.  My cell phone had died, so this is the first opportunity I have had to finally catch everyone up on my "adventure in the desert".
Amigo was at a ranch in Las Vegas this summer.  I drove down to pick him up, rode some great trails in the area, and we camped near Tonopah on the way back for the night.  I set up my camp the way I always have for years.  Amigo was a bit anxious, I think he thought it was an endurance ride, but where was everyone?  Or maybe there was mustangs in the distance and he caught wind of them in the dark.  But he was pacing and grabbing at his hay and looking south and neighing in that direction as we went to bed.  I have a steel portable corral, so I tried not to worry.
At 12:30am, my mom woke up to the sound of a winnie, but far away.  She checked on him to see if it was mustangs approaching and Amigo was gone, the corral open.  We were in an overnight area of a rest area.  There was one other camper that arrived late, and I feared that they were tired of the noise and let him out.  Or he figured out how to open it.  Either way, panic set in, I couldn't believe it.  GONE into the darkness.
There was a fence surrounding the large rest area.  I tracked his prints to the fenceline near the highway and the fence was down to about 2' off the ground, and the footprints continued on the other side down the shoulder of the highway, a major trucking thoroughfare.  I called 911. 
It was so remote, I couldn't believe that my cell actually worked.  :)  But it took the deputy an hour to arrive because he covers 2000 square miles himself.  :(  He and I drove up and down the highway, the only road, and would stop every 100 yards or so and find prints.  He was galloping on the shoulder, sometimes the pavement, on a mission.  Other campers said they heard him go by them, still neighing, they thought he was a wild horse.  He was on a mission, making a beeline for somewhere.  I don't know why.  I couldn't believe that nobody called in a 911, everyone that drove by him was seeing this specter on the highway in their lights I'm sure.  Maybe they just thought he was wild.  The deputy was so comforting, helped me until about 4am, until he took me back to my camp, horseless.  There is a fence about 100 yards back on either side of the highway to keep livestock out.  He said he felt comfortable that somehow he'd breeched it and was now on open range, but at least was safe from traffic.  That of course is his priority.  As I sat in that cruiser for hours, I was waiting for a dispatch about a horse being struck by a semi...my head was spinning, thinking of that scene from the opening of Horse Whisperer. 
He said to call BLM in the morning and try to get access and help to track him from where we lost the prints.  My blackberry phone battery was getting low.  I didn't have a charger (it lasts for a week, and I didn't plan on being on the phone for hours and using it up).  I could still send emails, they use much less energy on the phone.  Thank goodness for that.  I typed an email to several people before I went to bed, asking for help and to spread the word.  It's not like a normal missing horse, telling people his description, flyers, etc, really weren't the concern, tracking him was.  He was in open land with no people for hundreds of miles.  And his coloring (buckskin paint) blended right in with the sage speckled landscape.  Needle in a haystack.  And the way he was clearly "gettin' up and goin' somewhere", he could cover 50-100 miles in any direction fast.  As a SAR member, I know that the colder a trail gets, the less the odds of finding him.  I needed a way to track him.  There are no roads, even quads would have trouble with the terrain in the arroyos.  Horseback was the best.  Following those tracks at a trot on horseback in the next 24 hours really was my only chance of finding him.  But if I had to, I would start out on foot and spend a week out there!
Within 2 hours of sunrise, after 2 hours of sleep, it was amazing the response I got.  The ranch that Amigo had been at (thank you Matt!), the ranch that ran cattle on the BLM land, my Dad's friends (he lives in Fallon, NV), all cowboys, were willing to call in sick to their paying jobs and load up their horses and drive 5-6 hours to me.  The Western States Trail Foundation friends were going to chip in $$ to send a plane over to search from the air (thank you Marc and Bill!).  It brought tears to my eyes the response, many people I didn't even know.  Advice was pouring in via email from Ridecampers (thank you *all* of you!) that was helping us immensely.  I called Net Posse and started that process going.  My dad had the media involved. 
You know, right about when you think people in this culture today are getting so bad with the "me" mentality, this completely redeemed my opinion.  People are awesome, I could never do this alone, and it was so comforting and heartwarming.  I was humbled immensely.  Americans are the most generous people when someone is facing an emergency.
My church group dropped everything they were doing (thank you Kathie!) and were praying for me, unbeknownst to me.  At that same exact hour, we were driving to go meet up with the BLM and the sheriff and driving past an area we'd already searched for hours, and there he was.  Like a beautiful ghost with his long mane and tail.  He just appeared out of nowhere.  He was on the other side of the livestock fence, like we suspected, and Mom spotted him as I was driving.  We were 1/4 mile away, but he heard "his" truck and started screaming like a stallion and running across the desert to the fenceline.  I was running to him with tears in my eyes, it was like a sappy love story!  I crawled through the fence to him and he nuzzled and nickered thank yous to me, I think he'd have crawled in my lap if he could.  He had covered many miles and was covered in blood on his chest and front legs.  He must have busted through the 2nd barbed wire fence (to get to BLM land).  I could not get him back to the trailer without cutting the fence, not knowing where he came through.  I called BLM to ask for help and started walking down the fenceline with him, my big wounded "puppy horse".  After a mile or two, I found a gate that I was able to unlock and Mom drove the rig to us (she never drives it, thank you Mom!). 
I asked where the nearest horse vet was...175 miles to Fallon.  Off we went.  When we got there, the vet was in Yerington and wouldn't be back for hours.  A dog vet dispensed treatment, but I must say, I didn't agree with him.  He said *not* to clean the wounds, just spray with Scarlet Oil 3x a day, and he sold me antibiotics, and told me to give him bute (I had some).  Amigo was a mess, so I gave him the bute and antibiotics and sprayed with Scarlet Oil, paid the $160 bill, and drove to Reno for a 2nd opinion.  They were *wonderful* there!  They said Scarlet Oil can promote proudflesh and recommended against it.  The dosage for the antibiotics was for too long, he sold me 400 pills, they said I would only need 125-175.  And he had prescribed double the bute dosage they recommended, unless of course if he appeared in more pain later.  They did a complete scrub with betadine and cleaned him and the wounds up, trimmed some of the flaps of flesh, shaved all the fur back, and dressed with triple antibiotic cream.  Amigo was so happy, he about slept through the painful treatment for the 45 minutes inside the surgery center, I think he was exhausted also.  They didn't even need to sedate him or use any lidocaine.  They think it was mustangs that lured him.  And that he may have even gotten into a fight by some of the wounds.  He would have made a mustang blunder and come running up to the herd screaming a greeting like a dork, no stud would have stood for that.
They charged me $50 total.  I am so disappointed in the wasted $$ at the first vet, money is very tight for me.  Of course I cannot return all these antibiotics, he had even charged me a $36.50 "office call" and he did NOTHING to my horse, just sold me the drugs and told me what to do.  *sigh*  But, I got off cheap considering how much worse this all could have been, so I'm trying not to be bitter about that. 
If anyone needs any Tribrissen Tabs 960mg, I have about 250 I hate to go to waste.  I'll give you a deal below cost...  :)
Pics of Amigo's wounds are at: 
This is his Photo Album, go to the last 6 added...  None of these could be stitched because they were too old by the time I got him there.  So, I will be doctoring for a while, may have to fight a bit of proudflesh, but people have given me many suggestions on that, so I think he will only have a few scars and be just fine. 
One note I want to share.  Like I always do, I got a health cert/coggins for the travel.  I have spent tons on these over the years and only been asked for one once, from the OR border station.  On this trip, I went through the entire state of NV in a CA rig twice, spent the evening with a sheriff about my horse, saw two vets for treatment of my horse, and was asked at the border station into CA where my horse was from, and NOT ONE asked for the paperwork.  Sheesh!!
It all seems like a dream.  I cannot thank everyone enough for the advice, offers to help, and just plain comfort.  Which is truly priceless when you are so devastated and scared. 
Again, thank you all!!
Dawn and Amigo