Horse found after 5 days missing in Havelock woods

NEWPORT, N.C. (WITN) – Jewel, a 1,000-pound quarter-paint horse, was found late Sunday after going missing for five days in the Pine Cliff trails in Havelock.

Erin Smith, Jewel’s rider, described the tense days following Jewel’s disappearance after her bridle broke.

“If we don’t find her, this is like we’re five days without water. I mean we had no idea if she was hurt,” Smith said. Smith, left with injuries and anxiety, joined a massive search effort complicated by dry conditions that left no hoof prints and dense undergrowth.

Craven County Animal Control Services Director Tabatha Ginn said the search included up to 100 volunteers and various agencies. On Sunday, they deployed a drone with thermal detection technology. “With up to 300 feet in the air, her body temperature would be a lot hotter than the ground,” explained Anders Taylor, owner of Thermal Deer Recovery.

The search concluded successfully at 11:19 p.m. Sunday when Jewel was found just hundreds of feet from the trailhead.

“Everybody was crying. I mean, I think we cried the whole time,” Smith said, expressing newfound respect for Jewel’s resilience.