Queenstown stud owner offers R10 000 reward for return of two irreplaceable mares
Olford Arabian stud owner Wesley Hayes has offered a R10 000 reward for information leading to the return of two mares stolen from his farm outside Queenstown last week.
Hayes said both were breeding mares, Olford Ladylike and Olford Lady Grey, and about five years old.
Ladylike was heavily in foal and due towards the end of next month.
The mares, both part-bred Arabians registered with the Arabian Horse Society of South Africa, went missing sometime on Thursday last week.
The lock securing the camp in which they were housed had been broken off.
Hayes said he found it strange that the camp from which they were taken housed 15 horses in total.
He was informed about the theft after a neighbour called to say the gate to the camp was wide open.
“My dad [David] then went to check as he thought some of the cattle had been stolen, but they turned out to be fine,” he said.
He went to the camp on Friday last week to check and it was then that he realised the horses might have been stolen.
He then contacted neighbouring farms to inquire whether the horses had perhaps slipped through the fence onto other farms, but the queries did not yield any results.
Hayes said he had bred horses which competed in racing competitions around the world.
The Olford Arabian Stud was established by Betty Arnold in 1948.
Hayes inherited the stud in 1997 and has been breeding horses for more than 20 years, something he started as a young boy.
Asked what the two horses’ monetary value was, he would not be drawn into giving a figure, saying: “They are irreplaceable.
“It is a very rare bloodline and I cannot replace it. The only way would be to import them from Australia,” he said.
“It has been 66 years of breeding, perfecting that bloodline for endurance racing. We don’t buy in horses, we have created our own genetic pool to draw from.”
Hayes said he had opened a case with the Queenstown stock theft unit and had given a statement.
Police spokesman Captain Namhla Mdleleni confirmed that a case had been registered at the Queenstown police station and that the matter was under investigation.