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SEARCH FOR BEN: No luck finding horse after weekend search

Horse riders are given some instructions and mapping before they head out to look for 'Ben' the horse, lost in the national park after the tragic death of his rider last week.
Horse riders are given some instructions and mapping before they head out to look for "Ben" the horse, lost in the national park after the tragic death of his rider last week. Adam Hourigan

MARTY Wall watched from his camp site in a clearing near Station Creek Rd as horse trailers rolled in on Saturday morning.

Each person was greeted with a handshake and thanks, and then left to gather their horses.

Locals and interstate travellers alike, young and old, some with horses, others with bikes and some even setting out on foot to help find Marty's father's horse, Ben.

And while the weekend ended with a few new leads, the quarterhorse is still roaming in the national park, unsighted over the weekend.

The bid to find Ben, who has been lost in the national park near Station Creek since the tragic death of his rider Allan Wall last week, has captured attention of the community after a social media post asking for assistance to find the still-saddled horse went viral.

"It just shows what sort of people there are in the horse community, and I know that if this had happened to anyone else I'd be out here helping just the same," Allan's wife Judy said.

"We've had people travel from interstate and stay with us last night and we talked like we've known them for ages."

The common theme from all that turned up was that this wasn't just a search for one horse, it was a search for someone's horse.

Garry Goldey and his daughter brought two horses from Grantham, near Toowoomba and said they were drawn to help the search.

"We saw it on Facebook, and being from Grantham and having gone through the floods we know what's it like not having help," he said.

"So we talked to the boss and he said we could get time off work so we came.

"It's scary enough for an animal to be away from its owner, but being tacked up it's dangerous, and we just wanted to lend a hand."

After a quick gathering, local horseman Mick Franklin scoured the maps before sending people out into the bush.

While there had been several sightings of the horse towards the end of last week, the searchers were asked to cover large tracts of land.

And as the search continued, still more people arrived with horses and food.

"Hopefully we'll find him today," Judy said. "We'd only had him three weeks and he would've been a beautiful horse.

"But (seeing people) it's just 'wow'. It shows how this community comes together after a tragedy."

Late yesterday Marty said that the search had becoming "frustrating", but he wouldn't stop until he found the horse.

"We've had no bloody luck at all, and we've found new tracks over by the Cabbage Tree Trail but no sightings," he said.

"It's like a needle in a haystack. It's awesome to see how many people gave up their time... but I think I need to call in the big guns now.

"It's becoming a welfare issue for him out there and I think I've exhausted all the people-power options, so I might have to get some real attention to get some help.

"I might call Russell Crowe, I hear he's got a helicopter."



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