Jamie-Lynn Robert had just arrived at the 20 Mile Bay recreation site Saturday night with a friend when she glanced to the left in her truck and saw something odd.
Robert, and Aboriginal support worker with the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows School District, who also works for a surveying company, was out along the West Harrison forest service road just to see what was going on in the area and to collect licorice ferns and cedar bells.
It was about 9 p.m. when the pair backed up their vehicle and shone some light in the direction of the mysterious object and discovered a white stallion, by itself, in the middle of the woods.
Robert and her friend were unsure of what to do. They fed the horse chips and gave it some water because that is all the pair had on them. Then they headed further north along the road to a logging camp that they knew of to see if a horse was missing from there.
However, at the 50 kilometre mark on the road there was a full washout and the road was impassable.
As it was, at the 21 kilometre mark the road had a partial washout. Robert and her friend had to drive their truck way up on the bank to make it through.
So the pair drove to Mission to get food and water for the horse and to try to find help.
Robert called a friend she used to work with in Maple Ridge for assistance. They called police, who told them to call the BC SPCA.
Finally her friend found a police officer who cared and wanted to help. The officer found a veterinarian with a trailer and they both met Robert to help the horse.
That vet was Dr. Maia Aspe, who was on-call for the Paton and Martin Veterinary Services emergency line.
Aspe received the call at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning and met with two RCMP members– Corporal Jason Duin and Constable Kyle Toole with the Agassiz detachment – by Sasquatch Ski Resort so they could escort her along the road.
When they reached 21 kilometre mark Aspe was unable to take the truck and trailer any farther. By that point, Aspe said, Robert and her friend had been hand-walking the horse for several kilometres. So, Aspe packed up the vet supplies, horse blankets, and hay, into one of the RCMP vehicles to make it the rest of the way.
They met up with Robert at the 32 kilometre mark.
“He looked like he had been living out in the woods for quite a while,” described Aspe. “His feet certainly looked like they had been trimmed by someone about six or eight weeks before,” she added.
But not knowing where the horse was from, the group theorized that he might have been displaced by the recent flooding event and sought higher ground, or sometimes horses get away from hunters and get lost in the woods.
“He just looked exhausted and really needed something dry and warm and he needed some food,” said Aspe, ,who also gave the horse they nicknamed Rambo, the name on the blanket the horse ended up wearing, some anti-inflammatories.
And he had no shoes on, Robert noticed.
The group managed to coax Rambo the final 10 kilometres back to the vet’s trailer, as RCMP followed, providing them with light. At this point it was around 8 a.m., said Aspe, but because the road was really rough, it took the group another three hours to get off the forest service road.
It took Aspe an extra two hours to drive the 20 kilometres back down the road with Rambo in tow, driving extra slow so the horse didn’t bounce around too much in the trailer. Robert and her friend escorted Aspe to make sure they made it off the service road.
High Point Equestrian Centre in Langley has since sponsored Rambo’s boarding and farrier care.
“He was underweight,” said Aspe, adding that the horse was soaked to the bone when arrived at High Point, and also had a tick infestation.
“He looked like he had been running loose. His mane and tail were all matted and tangled up, his hair was matted together along his back,” she noted.
Rambo has since had a more thorough examination by Aspe and a much-needed bath. He was treated for the ticks, and had a dental float performed to fix dental abnormalities and his teeth were cleaned.
Someone has come forward to the BC SPCA as the potential owner of the horse, said Aspe, but his case may take a bit longer to be resolved as the recent flooding event has strained the BC SPCA’s resources.
Until it is resolved, Rambo will be able to enjoy all the carrots, apples, and homemade horse cookies he wants, said Aspe.
Robert does not own any horses herself, but did say if they could not find a stable home, she would be more than willing to pay for boarding him.
You can’t walk a horse 14 kilometres out of the woods and not have a bond with it, she said.
However, Robert has contemplated much on the experience.
“I’m First Nation, I’m Ojibwe. Horses symbolize taking the reigns of your own life and being able to steer yourself in the right direction. And horses are really good travel companions helping you through some of those things you are having problems with in your life. White horses specifically symbolize some other internal struggles and growth you can take out of it,” explained Robert.
“So for me I feel like finding a white horse randomly in the woods, was like a moment for me to look at my own life and reflect what I want, what I can do.
“I helped this horse, I can help other people,” she said.
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