SNOWMASS - Sometime in the middle of last week, someone trespassed on Pam Hope's Old Snowmass property, climbed over a fence into the corrals and clipped the tails of her mare and two geldings.
She's seeking information on who might have committed the acts of animal cruelty. Now Hope's aging quarter horses are having a hard time swatting flies and gnats away from their backsides. The tails don't really grow back, she said.
"I think it's pretty darn nervy," she said Thursday. "They had to come up my driveway and through the gate, then get into the corral to do it. I don't expect to find out who did it. I just want other horse owners to be aware."
A renter on her property noticed a silver Dodge Ram truck on the property, likely driven by a middle-aged male, but didn't think anything was unusual enough to investigate. That's basically all she was able to tell the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office.
"He thought it might be my horseshoer, so he didn't even go out there," she said of her tenant. "I told him, 'Don't ever think that.' "
Before the tail bandit, or bandits, did their dirty work, all three tails flowed to the ground. Now two tails are a foot shorter, while a third, belonging to her 20-something gelding, Destiny, is 21⁄2 feet shorter, barely reaching his hocks.
"A lot of times, other horses will chew on the tails of another horse, but this one is clipped straight across," she said. "It had to be cut."
Horsetails can be used for a variety of purposes, such as hat bands, bracelets and other forms of jewelry. She said she might have to buy a tail extension for Destiny, but they don't come cheap.
Hope reported the incident to the Sheriff's Office on Monday and was told that no one else has called with similar tales of tail thefts.
"I don't like for anyone to mess with my horses," she said. "It's amazing how some people have the nerve to just come onto other people's property."
Her 3.5-acre ranch is off Highway 82, just past the Old Snowmass traffic light. Anyone with information that could help solve the case is asked to call Deputy ReRe Baker at 970-920-5300.