Horses are regal and beautiful by nature. They are also curious and love to see what is going on around them. When a group of local hikers took off on what they thought would be a normal hike, they found much more than they bargained for. The ramblers saw something moving in the underbrush and heard twigs snapping and the visitor turned out to be a local celebrity.
Play Doh was a horse that belonged to Susan Crawford of York, Pennsylvania. The horse loved spending time with Susan and loved hikes. The horse was parted from his rider however and the ten year old horse went missing. Crawford was devastated.
The event took place on May 27th, 2016. Crawford was following a trail in Patapsco State Park with a friend when her beloved horse took a tumble down a steep bank throwing Crawford. The horse was uninjured, but was lost.
Play Doh was understandably spooked by the fall at which point he stood and ran off. He was never found even though Crawford and her friend looked for him tirelessly.
Play Doh had his tack and saddle on when he went missing as well as a very distinctive lime green holster and breast collar. Crawford says that a couple saw him run along the tracks before he ran straight into the woods and disappeared.
Crawford was able to get a team together to look for Play Doh the very same day and the team included Howard County Police, Mountain Bikers in the area, hikers, Maryland State Police and even the members of the equestrian club that Crawford belonged to. It seemed the search would be simple and his distinctive gear would help spot him, but he seemed to have disappeared entirely.
Crawford was utterly surprised and despondent that they could not find Play Doh. She describes the incident as being trapped in a nightmare. None of her efforts seemed to be panning out and they did not find Play Doh the day that he went missing.
Crawford says that she started to go over the worst case scenarios that could have happened. She was afraid that he was hurt, that he had been taken, or that he was hit by a car. She tried her best to come to terms with what might have happened but had to give one more try at finding her beloved horse.
Crawford took to social media to help find her beloved horse. She started a page called “Where is Play Doh?” where users could share information about the whereabouts of her horse. The page was shared over 10,000 times and even made the evening news.
The team worked tirelessly to keep the page up and Crawford’s equestrian group even helped by keeping posters circulating and by turning their campground into the base for the operation. Hope seemed on the horizon when Crawford got a call that Play Doh had been spotted.
The horse that was called on however was not Play Doh Crawford told CBS Baltimore. She was devastated and thought for sure her horse was gone for good. The equestrian group feared that his distinctive gear may have gotten caught and trapped the horse in the woods.
Almost two weeks later a group of hikers, David Sugar, Emily Perryman, and Vlad Konstantinov stumbled across a horse that fit the description of Play Doh exactly down to the tack and harness. They were able to recognize him thanks to a poster that was at the start of the trail.
They did not start out their trip hoping to find a horse but he simply stumbled along their path. “We kind of joked about [it]. How do you lose a horse?” one of the group said in an interview with CBS Baltimore.
The equestrian group was exactly right about what had happened to the horse. His harness was tangled around his feet limiting motion and making it difficult for this to move. His saddle was also knocked off and was at a 90 degree angle on his side. The group took him to a nearby inn and fed him.
The horse had traveled a great distance. He threw his owner at Marriottsville Road and traveled south along the train tracks. The group that found him said he was near Woodstock Road when he was recovered.
Crawford was overjoyed and surprised that she had found her beloved horse again. She thought for certain that she would never see him again and it was a day of pure joy when she recovered him and brought him back to her campsite.
A local vet checked out Play Doh for injuries and found that he only had a few minor lacerations and one deep cut along his face but was otherwise unharmed. He did have some rubbing from branches but was otherwise in good shape. He was not malnourished from his time in the wild either.
“He kind of put his head on my shoulder, and he was like, ‘Oh, thank god. Mom found me,’” Crawford told CBS Baltimore. Play Doh was finally home after his ordeal and was ready to go home and be pampered and loved by his human.
The family hosted a huge party for his return to the barn and his horse companions, as well as his human family, were overjoyed to have him home after the long ordeal. They were so happy he was home that they even had a horse party to welcome him back.
In August of 2016 Play Doh was able to finally meet his rescuers again nearly three months after they found him. It’s not often that these stories end well but this one certainly did.
Crawford now extolls the virtue of social media when it comes to finding lost animals that have been separated from their owners.
Crawford says that she cannot begin to thank everyone enough for the hard work and dedication that they showed when looking for Play Doh.
Play Doh is expected to make a full recovery and has been given the go ahead to get back to his former way of life.
Crawford now regularly updates the social media page of his progress.
He is now competing in events and enjoying life with his humans.
He was back in full swing in October of 2016 and Crawford made sure to update all his fans.
He has even finished his first endurance and has overcome all health issues that were associated with the time he was missing. He has even been part of Canter for the Cause at Pimlico.