Steamboat Springs Bo is a gentleman and a prankster. He likes to nip at the occasional cowboy hat, but he also pulls out chairs for his friends.
He can answer arithmetic problems by scraping a hoof into the ground — but only if the answer is three.
His kind and sensitive demeanor has aided in the therapy of combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, and he has dramatically enriched the life of his owner, who loves him dearly.
But the chestnut brown Morgan gelding also has a history of curiosity and wanderlust, which could be why he hasn’t been seen since he untied himself from a railing while on a hunting trip in North Routt County.
He hasn’t been seen since October near Shield Mountain.
“I’ve cried many tears over this,” said his owner, Denver resident Diane McNamara. “He’s very special.”
McNamara has been circulating fliers and discussing the case with the U.S. Forest Service during winter, but she hopes that ranchers will check their horse herds for the Morgan gelding with the small white marking between his eyes.
“Sometimes when horses get lost up there, they will join another herd,” McNamara said. “If he could have hooked up with another herd, there’s a chance he survived the winter and will be found this spring.”
She is offering a $1,000 reward for anyone who finds Bo, who is 16 years old.
Bo, born Lone Pine Hobo on the Front Range, lives full time at Moonfall Ranch in Elizabeth. McNamara also owns the ranch but leases it to John Nash, who runs the Combat Veterans Cowboy Up equine therapy program.
When that program launched 4 1/2 years ago, Bo was a natural therapy horse.
“He’s so sensitive, intuitive,” Nash said. “He kind of mirrors the clients’ feelings perfectly.”
Nash uses about 20 horses to work through his clients’ issues with distrust, fear and anxiety.
Nash is a combat veteran from Vietnam who suffers from PTSD. Retired from work at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Denver — McNamara, a former U.S. Navy nurse, also works there — he plans to make it a full-time project to help other veterans suffering from the disease.
Nash was the one who took Bo on his annual hunting trip last fall in North Routt near Three Forks Ranch. It was the final day of a nine-day trip when he saddled up Bo and two other horses and left them tied to a railing as they packed out.
When he returned 10 minutes later, all three horses had untied themselves. Two were grazing nearby, but Bo was gone.
Nash thinks it’s likely Bo shook the saddle but still has a halter on.
He, like McNamara, hopes Bo took up with a nearby herd and will be found by a rancher who is bringing in a herd for summer pastures.
“It would mean everything to get him back,” Nash said. “For the program and for Diane. He’s just a smart horse. It’s rare to find one like that.”
To reach Nicole Inglis, Call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com