Miniature horse found safe, returned to its owners

Published: February 25, 2006 | 3616th good news item since 2003

Tekla the miniature horse is back home, albeit confined to a horse trailer for the time being.

The miniature horse that escaped from its new home off Farmers Loop almost a week ago was found on Friday about a mile from where it escaped.

Kate Lasota was walking on a trail Friday in the woods near her home on Manchester Loop when her German shepherd, Banjo, started acting like he smelled something.

When she walked around the corner, Lasota spotted Tekla about 20 yards away in the woods.

“She was just standing in some black spruce,” said Lasota. “It was pretty funny; you don’t see miniature horses in the woods every day.”

Remembering a flier she saw at the University of Alaska Fairbanks about the missing horse, Lasota quickly put two and two together. Rather than risk having the dog scare the horse, Lasota took Banjo to neighbor Marc Hummel’s house and returned with some carrots, which Tekla gladly accepted. Lasota used the carrots to lure the horse back to Hummel’s house, where they secured it until help arrived.

“I offered it some carrots and kind of pulled on its mane,” Lasota said. “He let me lead him pretty easily.”

Tekla, who stands about 34 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds, escaped Sunday by walking under an electric fence just four hours after new owner Aldona Jonaitis brought the miniature horse home. Jonaitis had purchased the horse from Al and Renee Blahuta, who for years have raised award-winning miniature horses on their Steele Creek Road farm. But the Blahutas have sold most of their horses in the past six months because of health problems.

Jonaitis, who is director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, purchased Tekla for $4,500 to serve as a companion for her full-size horse, Chocola.

Reached by cell phone in Seattle on Friday, Jonaitis said she was “bursting with joy” to hear the news that Tekla had been found. Ken Severin, a friend who picked up the horse from Hummel’s house, called her shortly after the horse was found at around 2 p.m.

“I am so happy,” said Jonaitis, who was worried the horse may have been stolen or caught in a trap. “I can’t imagine how she survived such a long time.”

Severin said the horse didn’t appear any worse for wear. He put her in a horse trailer for safe keeping until Jonaitis gets home.

Though Jonaitis was offering a $500 reward for information leading to the return of the horse, Lasota says she has no intention of accepting it.

“I don’t think you should make money out of other people’s hardships, that’s what I tell the kids,” said Lasota.

As for Tekla’s future, that’s still up in the air.

The Blahutas, who were relieved that Tekla had been found but had yet to talk to Jonaitis, want to take the horse back because they say Jonaitis doesn’t have the setup to keep a miniature horse, said Renee Blahuta.

“I haven’t cashed the check yet,” she said.

But Jonaitis, who was due back late Friday night from Seattle, said she plans to improve the fence so it will confine Tekla adequately.

“First thing (Saturday) morning we’re going to fix the fence,” she said.

Published in Animals, Found
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