A horse that got lost July 3 was reunited with his owner less than 24 hours after being separated, thanks to community efforts.

The horse is now named Independence, or Indie for short, because he was found on Independence Day.

Indie’s owner Sharon, who preferred not to have her last name used, said she and Indie were hiking on Cañoncito Trail before Indie lost his balance and fell into the canyon.

Indie. Courtesy photo.

“I was walking him around some trees and over a log, and we had to go around this tree so it kind of took us a little bit off the trail, and so there was all the litter on the bottom of the forest floor and the twigs and trees, and the trail isn’t cleaned up,” she said. “He kind of got unsure about his footing, and so he started moving around with his feet and he panicked … He spun around me and he started moving downhill, and you could tell that he was losing his momentum, and he kind of let the momentum take him down the hill. He didn’t fall or anything, but you could hear him crashing through trees and stuff, it was so scary.”

Sharon said Ora, another rider, tried to follow him down the canyon, but it was too much for only one person to do. She said as soon as they got back to the trail, Ora posted on multiple Facebook groups asking for help to save Indie.

“Everybody, they all showed up, and I’ll tell you what, they tracked him,” Sharon said. “We kind of split people up in search parties. I had people start up at the bottom of the canyon and then move up, and then all my endurance friends started up at the top of the canyon where he went off trail. They tracked him and they reached him first. And being the horse people that they are and being experienced in back country situations, they brought enough equipment, they were able to get him out, and got him down the trail. The mounted search and rescue people, three of their people volunteered to help look for him even if it’s not their mission, they came out anyway.”

Sharon said one of the people who came to help look is a vet and was there when Indie was save from the canyon. The vet determined Indie was able to go down the trail without further treatment, she said.

Sharon said she was a “wreck” the entire time Indie was missing.

“It’s pretty emotional, it’s crazy all the feelings,” she said. “I didn’t know if he was going to make it. I didn’t know if he had broken any legs, and my big thing was I just didn’t want him to suffer. You think the worst.”

When asked how Indie is doing after the incident, Sharon said he was doing “awesome.” She said he has some minor scrapes and bruises, but it is “remarkable how fast he healed.”

Sharon said she is appreciative to everyone who came out to help look for Indie.

“I guess a lot of people really needed this because Ora told me people were commenting [on Facebook] about how wonderful it was to have good news,” she said. “A lot of people needed to hear that people are still good.”

Courtesy photo.

She also said she wants to give back to the community that helped save her horse.

“I live in Rio Rancho and I have a five-acre property, and I think it was in 2016 they had that big fire over there,” Sharon said. “People were looking for places to keep horses and livestock and I’ll tell you what, if it happens again my place is open. I’ve got four covered pens, and anybody that has to evacuate for a fire over there, I’m first in line, just come to my house.”