Katie Rose with her horse, Spirit
COVINGTON, Ga. -- At 14, Katie Rose is an unabashed horse fanatic. She was drawn to horses, in part, as an alternative to strenuous sports -- because Katie has had asthma and heart issues all her life. Five years ago, she adopted a colt named Spirit. And the two grew up together.
"It was almost as if they were destined to be together. She loves that horse dearly," said her mother Maria Rose. "They're best friends."
Last weekend, Katie Rose's best friend vanished. Spirit was tied to a post overnight at a camp near Lake Thurmond in Lincoln County. "Saturday morning, when I got up to check on him and to give him water and feed, he was gone," said Karen Parham. Spirit was born on Parham's farm in Covington -- which is where Katie Rose learned to ride. It was more than exercise for her. The gentle and playful colt was therapeutic -- the way a friend can be.
"The way that they communicate is really on a deeper level," said Maria Rose. "Spirit has a way of looking in her eyes and it's almost like he knows her feeling. Whether it's the pain of her dad's cancer or her grandfather's death... it's almost like he knew it."
Katie Rose concurs. "He knew," she says "that something was going on with me."
Now, Katie Rose's family has distributed flyers, showing the missing horse. They're wondering whether he's in the illicit possession of a 21st century horse thief, hoping he hasn't been sold at auction.
They've also created a web site devoted to the missing horse, describing his distinctive white streak and scars above his right rear hoof.
"Every night when she goes to bed, it's the tears. And the wondering where he is," said Maria Rose.