Sep 3, 2009 3:18 PM by Anastaiya Bolton

Colorado horse escapes predator

If you were looking for food at the Smith-Donovan estate, some geese and ducks that live there would seem like a good, easy dinner.

They've even been a proven success.

"We see a lot of coyotes out here," property owner Scott Donovan said. "We've had, last winter, all of our ducks and geese were eliminated."

But over the weekend, something was looking for a bigger meal.

"I was about to ride him and I saw the scratches on him," said 9 year-old Haley Smith, Donovan's step-daughter, who rides and takes care of Donovan, the horse.

She says she knows the difference between scratches Donovan got this weekend, and the injuries he received from other horses on the property.

"This cut up here was open. That's [the] one we put the most medicine on," Haley said pointing at a large scratch. "He has kick marks here because the other horses don't like him. Something tried to eat him."

Donovan was grazing alone one night, when something tried to pull a fast one.

"It looks like he got clawed down like this, you can see a nice little claw there, deep scratches here," Donovan said. "Looks like he was either scratched or bitten down around the middle of his hind leg. Looks like it came at him from this angle, whatever it was. I'm not quite sure what it was. It looks like a mountain lion."

No one in the family has seen the animal that attacked the horse.

They point not only to Donovan's injuries for proof, but also the print the accused aggressor left behind.

"There is no way a coyote would jump up and do that. They wouldn't even take on a horse. But I think if the situation was right for a mountain lion, the opportunity, I think it would do something like that," he said.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife is looking into the matter.

In the meantime, no one is playing out in the backyard at night, Haley and her 10 year-old sister Sierra included.

"Better safe than sorry," Donovan said.



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