Local animal rescue, chain of strangers help injured horse found deep in wilderness

Sandy the horse was found with serious injuries near Mule Peak in the Wallowa Mountains. (Image courtesy Brian Sather).

Sound Equine Options, a Troutdale-based animal rescue, helped save a horse found with mysterious injuries deep in the East Oregon wilderness. That after a chain of strangers came together to help her.

"She apparently had some blunt force trauma injury," Kim Mosiman, the executive director of Sound Equine Options, told KATU on Friday. "We’re guessing she fell down a cliff or on rocks.”

The horse, Sandy, is now in recovery at the Eagle Fern Equine Hospital in Estacada. Mosiman said she's resting there and building up her energy before she heads off to Oregon State University for surgery on Tuesday.

Brian Sather, a lookout for the U.S. Forest Service, said he first spotted Sandy a couple of weeks ago. He's stationed on Mule Peak in the Wallowa Mountains, which is located about 300 miles east of Portland.

"I just happened to see the horse down in the meadow and didn’t think anything of it," Sather told a KATU reporter.

About a week later, with family visiting, Sather said he saw Sandy again and knew something was up.

"We got up close to her and we could see that her leg was very injured," Sather said. "It was an open wound and she was limping on it. And she had some other wounds on her too.”

Sather said he knew he needed to get help.

"So we started reaching out to more people and it was put on social media and it started to go viral," he explained.

Eventually, he was connected with Sound Equine Options. He also hooked up with a group near him called the Blue Mountain Back Country Riders.

They consulted with veterinarians who told them it was safe to lead Sandy out after giving her antibiotics and painkillers.

"They just took it slow. It’s a six mile trip out for her and they said she did all right," Sather said. "She made it through all the rough terrain.”

On Thursday, Mosiman said her group went out to La Grande to pick up Sandy. She said the horse has serious injuries to one of her hind legs and her jaw, as well as some less serious wounds on a front leg and her back.

"Those injuries are, they’re guessing, at least like six weeks old. I think it’s pretty amazing that she didn’t become food for the predators up there," said Mosiman. "The fact that she was able to walk out of there with that leg is – she’s a pretty tough cookie.”

Sather said Sandy had three horseshoes on when he found her and appears to be well-trained.

Mosiman estimates her care will cost around $6,000. Her nonprofit group is accepting donations online.

“It doesn’t really seem like the fair thing for an animal," Mosiman said. “But I’m glad she’s in the shape she is.”

Mosiman and Sather said it's unclear who owns Sandy and that the cause of her injuries remains unknown.

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