Search continues for horses missing due to floods


by ANDREW CHUNG / KVUE News and photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Bio | Email | Follow: @AndrewC_KVUE

Posted on November 1, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 6:40 PM

AUSTIN -- Helicopters circled Onion Creek on Friday, searching for some of Thursday morning's flood's four-legged victims: horses.

Horse owner Elsa Decker had a chance to go up in a chopper to see the damage, hoping to spot some of her missing horses.

"It looks like a war zone," Decker said. "There's so much debris everywhere."

One of Decker's horses didn't make it, but the other did.

"You wouldn't think anything could live or survive that, so we did not expect to find her -- my mare -- alive, and when we did, it was amazing," she said.

Lin Sutherland, who owns Onion Creek ranch, said she saw five horses swept away along with a barn. She boarded 16 horses and so far has only found two.

"You can explain why one horse makes it and the other doesn't," she said.

Of the six horses she own, Sutherland has only recovered Sugar Baby, who survived without a scratch.

"I think that it's just good luck on her part, and I'm very happy she made it," Sutherland said. "It makes me very sad. They were all beautiful horses. All of them beautiful, gentle, kind horses."

Katie Turner-Mays is head of the nonprofit group Conscious Rider, which uses therapy horses to help kids with autism. The group has joined the search to locate the horses.

"It's very -- it chokes me," Turner-Mays said. "Because, I mean, I always feel guilty that I've got my boys all right behind me, but they're my livelihood and a lot of the horses over there are people's livelihoods, you know. Just gone."

It's a very trying time for owners after a devastating flood.

Conscious Rider is asking for donations to help the horses, like hay, halters, and lead ropes.  If you'd like to donate, click here and be sure to write "Onion Creek Rescue Fund" in your donation.  You can also call the organization at (512) 698-8226 or e-mail Kate Turner-Mays at 

In addition, Austin Equine Hospital is offering assistance for horses distressed by the flooding.  Their number is (512) 858-0058.


Austin Local News Video
More Video