Missing Wyoming Roan Stallion Found Dead, Another Mare Believed Stolen

Six weeks before a blue roan stallion vanished from a barn in Fort Bridger, Wyoming, a mare of the same color went missing from a pasture in Campbell County. The stallion was found dead this week, while the mare is still missing. 

Clair McFarland

January 26, 20246 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Six weeks before a blue roan stallion vanished from a barn in Fort Bridger, a mare of the same color went missing from a pasture in Campbell County.  

Like the stallion’s owners, the mare’s owner, Vicki Kissack, believes her horse Pepper was stolen.  

Kissack’s husband Clark flew over their pasture and surrounding lands near Rozet, Wyoming, last month and found no trace of Pepper.   

Pepper was the couple’s friendliest horse and would have been the easiest to steal, she said. Also, four strands of the pasture’s barbed-wire fence were pushed down, but none of the remaining horses had wounds as they would have if they’d tangled with it.  

Kissack said there’s a demand for that color of horse.  

“Blue roan Percherons are not super rare, but they are harder to come by,” she said. “The blue roans are really hot on the market for now and have been for a few years.”  

Stallion Dead 

But the stallion, Shadow Hawke, was found dead this week, according to his owner ranch Flying V Quarter Horses.  

Shadow Hawke’s body was dumped in the outdoor arena near the ranch sometimes Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, the ranch wrote in a Friday Facebook post. A vet examined the stallion and found he had a broken shoulder and internal injuries, and died between three and five days earlier, “around a week after he was taken,” says the post. “The search is off, but the mystery continues.”  

Shadow Hawke was valued at about $25,000, Cowboy State Daily reported Monday.  

Pregnant Mama 

Kissack said her mare, which has been exposed to a stallion and she believes to be pregnant, is worth about $14,000 with the foal she’s carrying.  

That doesn’t include the horse’s future ability to produce progeny.  

That represents a significant loss for the Kissacks’ breeding business, which is their livelihood, she said.  

“People don’t think about that when they steal other people’s things,” she said. “I think people who are stealing are thinking what it’s going to bring into their life, not what it’s taking from other people’s lives.”  

On The Lookout 

Quentin Reynolds, Campbell County Undersheriff, told Cowboy State Daily that he and sheriff’s deputies are keeping a lookout in the area for any signs of Pepper.  

They’re investigating her disappearance as a theft.  

He said the Kissacks are knowledgeable about livestock and can tell the difference between an animal wandering onto the neighbor’s pasture and an animal vanishing in a suspicious manner.  

Reynolds said he did not know if there was a connection between Pepper’s disappearance and the temporary disappearance and death of Shadow Hawke.  

But there could be, he said.  

Stay Loud 

Missing Equine Search & Awareness (MESA) a group that monitors missing-horse cases, dispatched a Facebook post Jan. 12 about Shadow Hawke, Pepper and a third Wyoming blue roan that went missing in July 2022.  

The third horse’s owner could not be reached immediately for comment, but a MESA volunteer, Mary Trostle, told Cowboy State Daily an organized theft operation is not beyond belief.  

“Clearly they’re all three blue roans, and all breeding,” said Trostle.  

And stallions aren’t easy to keep.  

The horse owners’ best hope is to stay in touch with other horse people and keep online awareness of their cases up, said Trostle. She said horse people care about other people’s investments and can help pressure someone to return an animal.  

Your Reward 

Shadow Hawke’s owners, Virgil and Peggy Peterson, had offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the stallion’s return before he was found dead.  

The Kissacks’ offer to Pepper’s thief, if she was stolen, is a break from the law.  

“If you’ll just return her, we’ll not ask any questions, we will not press charges,” she said. “If you’ll just put her back in the pasture you took her from.”  

Droopy Lip 

Pepper has very few identifiers, and far fewer than the feistier, harder-to-steal companions she left behind, said Kissack.  

But she does have a lower lip that is naturally droopy – always lax as other horses’ lips become when they’re at rest.  

She also breathes with a rasp, a vestige from a sickness she weathered when she was very young.  

Because of that, Kissack said she’d like to urge whoever has Pepper not to break her to drive.  

“I just implore them to have an understanding she’s not physically sound enough to be broke to drive, in our opinion,” Kissack said.  

Take Good Care Of Her 

Kissack said she suspects someone local could have taken Pepper, since the person would have had to know her feeding pattern.  

Reynolds theorized, however, that a thief could have come through on the nearby Interstate highway.  

Either way, the idea of a theft is saddening to Kissack, who has lived in the area her whole life.  

“I’ve never been a person to ever think this could happen to us, or even would happen in this area of the country,” she said.  

“My husband and I believe that our horses that we buy and use for breeding are treasures,” she continued. “So, I guess if somebody wanted her that badly to take her, we know the Lord will bring more like her into our life – and we just hope and pray that whoever took her is taking good care of her.”  

Clair McFarland can be reached at clair@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter