HOBBS, N.M. (KRQE) - Another horse has been found abandoned and starving. This one was wandering the streets of southeast New Mexico.
But this horse has an owner who loves it, an owner who had it stolen from her a decade ago.
When Samantha King of Hobbs got her first horse in 1998, she was 13 years old. She named her Lady, and the two became best friends during a tough time in King's life.
"She was the one I talked to, her and my actual best friend," King recalled. "We used to go ride all the time, and it was just a daily routine."
A year after getting Lady, King's mom died of cancer. Three years after that, Lady was stolen in the summer of 2002.
"I figured either she had been shipped off somewhere else, or maybe even dead," explained King. "My hope just kind of went out the window."
But two days ago, 10 years after Lady vanished, King's sister, Laura Brock, who works for Code Enforcement in Lovington, called King for help. She wanted her to check out a horse they found, malnourished, wandering the in Lea County.
"She kept looking, and checking the hooves and everything, and she was shaking her head and she was like, 'Man, I really think this is Lady,'" Brock said. "What would be the odds of two horses having the same scar?"
The horse got the unique scars on her neck and leg from getting tangled in a barbed wire fence as a baby. When King compared old pictures, she knew Lady was home.
"She brought the pictures, and she came back and she was crying and everything," said Brock. "It was very overwhelming. It still is."
"The fact that it's been 10 years since the last time I've seen her, I mean--it's, I have no words," said King, who said she's still in shock. "She still follows me around without a lead rope, so I think that she remembers who I am."
It's an incredibly unexpected reunion. But even now, King said she can still feel the bond between her best friend.
King is curious about where the horse has been the last decade and who had her. Now, she's just focused on caring for and helping the 25-year-old horse recover.
"I'm hoping that she'll just have a nice, easy life," said King.
Lady has been seen by a vet, who said she's not sick, just way underfed. With proper care and feed, she's expected to be back to normal within the next three months.
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