, Gloucester, MA

October 3, 2013

Haverhill police searching for horse thieves

By Mike LaBella
Staff Writer

---- — HAVERHILL — It’s a crime that’s like a page out of the old west.

Police say there’s a horse thief in the area, and they want to catch the person or persons responsible. They also said the theft of a horse is one of the most unusual cases they’ve ever been asked to investigate.

Police say the horse, Lola, a light bay Dutch warmblood, was last seen on Tuesday in a stall in a barn at the Bradford Equestrian Center, 109 South Cross Road in Bradford. The horse was reported missing yesterday morning after a stable manager discovered it was not in its stable.

City Police Detective Capt. Alan Ratte said the stable manager went to check on the horse at 6:30 a.m. yesterday and found she was gone. He said the stable manager, a woman, notified the owner of the horse and also stopped by the police station yesterday morning to file a report.

He said the owner, a woman from North Reading, has owned the horse for a couple of years and boards it at the Bradford Equestrian Center.

Ratte said that when the stable manager discovered the horse was not in its stall, she spoke to other staff members, who told her that on Tuesday at approximately 5:45 p.m., two people came to the barn, led a horse out of the barn and into a horse trailer then left.

Ratte said police were provided with a description of the suspect vehicle and that detectives are following up on a possible lead.

“I can’t ever remember a report of a stolen horse,” Ratte said.

The Bradford Equestrian Center posted images of the horse on its Facebook page along with features of the horse, including a wispy white tiny swirl (on its forehead) and very little top line.

The horse is also described as having a stride that is slightly short due to a “stifle” (upper rear leg joint) injury. Images of the horse were posted on other online Facebook pages as well, including Granite State Dog Recovery.

Mike LaBella can be reached at