Search under way for horse that ran off in Pierce County; owner appeals for help

ELBE, Wash. -- A horse owner is asking riders, hikers and campers in Pierce County to keep their eyes open. Her horse ran off into the woods several days ago and hasn’t been seen since.

Judy Johnston says the horses on her Olympia farm have been acting differently since Dino, a 15-year-old Arabian, went missing.

"Horses are very emotional, the Arabians are."

On Friday, Judy and a friend took their horses to a trail in Elbe Hills State Forest in Pierce County. When they stopped to fix a cut on Judy’s arm, Dino took off up a hill. Her friend searched for him for hours.

“She went up the hill as far as she could go, and he had disappeared.”

Dino has been a show horse most of his life and is not used to being in the wilderness. That’s why Judy is worried what condition he might be in.

“By himself, I’m not sure. Going over the creeks, I’m not sure.”

She put a message on Facebook a couple days ago, and said animal lovers from around the state have been offering to search the trails on foot, on horseback, even from the air in a helicopter.

“I appreciate everything that everybody’s doing. But I wish he would be found, we’re supposed to have hot days coming in, and so it’s a matter of time is of the essence.”

She says people who haven’t been around horses a lot might not understand the kind of bond that develops between the animals and their owners over time.

“It’s deeper than a dog or cat, it’s much deeper. This is why I’m so emotional about this, because he is a great part of our lives.”

She’s hoping someone finds him, and makes sure he gets the care he needs.

“All these horses are family but he’s a special boy.”

If you see Dino, you can contact the Johnston farm at