The Arizona Republic
by Heidi Homa and Alyson Zepeda
Dec. 2, 2008 12:00 AM
A missing horse worth at least $10,000 was found by a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office mounted search and rescue unit around 4 p.m. Monday after he went missing Saturday.
During the two days the horse was missing, his owner was willing to give a $10,000 reward to the person who found his horse.
Lucian Spataro, 50, and Masquerade, the 7-year-old white Arabian, were competing in an endurance ride Saturday morning at McDowell Mountain Regional Park when the horse tripped and fell.
"He got up and was disoriented, I'm sure," Spataro said. "There's adrenaline rushing through your veins, so you don't know what's going on. He was hyped and probably went in the wrong direction."
Spataro, also filled with adrenaline, was able to run about 5 miles to a base camp, despite severe injuries.
About 20 family members, friends, and other riders and horses from the competition searched for the horse since Saturday.
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office provided a helicopter when Masquerade first went missing and volunteer Sheriff's Posse members continued to help.
Irene Murphy, endurance-ride manager, was coordinating the search.
"In endurance rides, there are many incidents where horses do get lost," Murphy said. "A lot of times, the horse returns the same day."
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office officials said they were assisting park rangers due to the increased amount of activity in the park. They were able to escort the horse out but were not sure if he sustained any injuries over the two days he was missing.