Max returned to his owner 58 weeks after he was stolen!

Fourteen year old Kaitlynn Bilskie always believed that she would find her beloved horse Maximum Reflections (Max), a paint gelding that was stolen more on August 23, 2008 from his paddock in Illinois. On October 4th of this year her dream came true: Max was found in Springfield, Mo.

Kim Gully had just responded to a Craig’s List ad offering a gelding for sale or trade. She thought Max would be perfect as a mount for her daughter and traded a yearling for him. Shortly after bringing him home, her cousin saw one of the flyers that Stolen Horse International had created and promoted through Luckily Max had such distinctive markings that he was quickly identified. Max is a “medicine hat” paint gelding. Medicine Hats are mostly white but have color on their ears and top of the head, which resembles a bonnet or hat. Max also has two blue eyes and a black spot on the right side of his upper lip.

New owner Gully was also honest enough and kind enough to call Bilskie’s family immediately to let them know she had their horse. She even turned down the $4,000 reward that had been offered by the family! Her only concern was for her own daughter who

Gully’s only concern was that her daughter would now be missing a horse she had started to bond with. “When we pulled up to the farm, it broke my heart to see Mackenzie,” said Susan Caughran, Kaitlynn’s mother. “These people have hurt two families.”

Since Gully wouldn’t accept a reward, the Caughrans set out to find a replacement horse for Mackenzie. The family put the word out about Mackenzie’s plight on an online message board called Alex Brown Racing, a community that had been aiding in the search for Max.

A few weeks prior, the community had raised funds to rescue some horses destined for slaughter at an auction in Montana. In that group was a kid-friendly paint gelding named Indio. Now the group is trying to raise funds to have the new horse shipped from Montana to Missouri for Mackenzie at no cost.

Those interested can send donations to help with the cost of shipping Indio to One Horse at a Time ( The charity is asking that people mark that the donation is intended for Indio.

3 thoughts on “Max returned to his owner 58 weeks after he was stolen!

  1. It is a miracle story but more of these situations work out than you may think. Candy, another horse was stolen and missing for 63 weeks. In yet another situation a horse was missing for 11 years. A NC pony was stolen and was reunited with his owner five years after his theft. What do all of these stories have in common? Stolen Horse International was there for all of the victims.

    Our own horse IDAHO was stolen and missing for 51 weeks in 1997 and is why the organization Stolen Horse International, aka was founded and is here today. None of the horses above were recovered without a tremendous amount of work from Stolen Horse International’s NetPosse volunteers and extended network, the victims and friends made along the way.

    I hope anyone who reads this will help us help others. It only takes a moment to send one of our IDAHO ALERTS for missing horses to your friends and to post a flyer in your area auctions, tack stores, horse shows etc, which is the way most of the horses above were found. Go to, look over the many programs we have for horse owners (before and after disaster strikes) and join our NetPosse volunteer network and NetPosse e-Newsletter.

    We never underestimate the power of one. You can be that one that makes a difference.

  2. I just wanted to say Great Job Debbie. NetPosse is a great unity tool for horses and owners. Lets pray for less theft and more unity making criminal’s think before acting.

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