Looking bewildered and somewhat bedraggled, Radar made a four-point landing on the front lawn of the animal-control shelter in Davis County Thursday, ending a two-week ordeal in the mountains.
He was greeted with a basket of apples and carrots and a welcoming committee of family, animal-control officers, political officials and a gaggle of news media.The 6-year-old horse slipped off a trail while coming down the mountain below Frances Peak Oct. 23, sliding 200 yards down a canyon and then, injured and frightened, took off into the wilderness.
Owner Jeff Bodry, of Clinton, spent the next 10 days searching for him, finally locating him Sunday in an inaccessible hollow on the edge of Baer Canyon, above Fruit Heights.
There was no way to get him out of the steep-walled hollow and Bodry in desperation asked Davis County Animal Control Director DeeAnn Hess for help."We'll get him out of there somehow," Hess promised him. Shortly before noon Thursday, Radar did make it out, flown out by helicopter.
Hess said she determined the only way to get Radar out was an airlift. But her department doesn't have money for that, so she contacted the Humane Society of the United States in Washington, D.C.
The society responded immediately, sending out a field representative and agreeing to cover the cost of chartering a helicopter to retrieve Radar.
Ironically, Radar got into his predicament by helping in another rescue.
A friend contacted the Bodry family Oct. 23, asking if they could bring Radar to the mountains to help pack out some gear when his own horse went down, according Theo Bodry.
While bringing the gear down, Radar slipped off a crumbling section of the trail, Bodry said.
"When Jeff got to him, he cut the saddle off him and Radar got up but he was hurt and frightened and he took off," said Theo. Her husband searched for him every day, through two early winter storms, and finally found him Sunday.
But finding him proved almost more discouraging. Radar was trapped in a hollow that he couldn't climb out of, with no food. The Bodrys hiked in the next two days, taking food, water, and medication.
"Jeff came home Tuesday night, almost hypothermic himself, from trying to help Radar and he just sat down on the couch and cried," said Theo. "We didn't know what to do. Radar was injured, he'd suffered scrapes and bruises, and he was emaciated.
"When he ran off, he still had his bridle and lead rope on and we think that got caught in some brush or trees, and he was probably trapped for several days with no food or water," said Theo.
After the county animal-control department and Humane Society stepped in, events moved rapidly. A helicopter from Rocky Mountain Helicopters, piloted by Spike Kinghorn, was chartered.
The firm has experience moving animals, including moose and other big-game animals, for state fish and game.
Early Thursday, a group hiked in to Radar's hollow and after tranquilizing him, slipped a sling under his belly. The helicopter hovered, a cable was attached to the sling, and Radar was airborne.
Minutes later, dangling 50 feet under the helicopter, he was eased onto the lawn in front of animal control.
"Doesn't he look great? That's the best-looking horse I've ever seen. He looks like a Kentucky Derby winner to me," said Hess as Radar was covered with a warm blanket and walked into the shelter's garage.
Veterinarian David Hill examined him and said Radar was in remarkably good condition for his ordeal, suffering a few minor abrasions, some dehydration, and from a lack of food.
"He's in good shape, he'll make it," said Hill.