By Mike LaBella
---- — HAVERHILL — It’s a crime straight out of the Old West.
Police said there are horse thieves in the area, and officers are hunting for them.
Police also said this week’s theft of a horse is one of the most unusual cases they’ve ever investigated.
Police said the horse — Lola, a light bay Dutch warmblood — was last seen on Tuesday in a stall in a barn at the Bradford Equestrian Center, 109 South Cross Road in the Bradford section of Haverhill.
The horse was reported missing yesterday morning after a stable manager discovered it was not in its stable.
Police Detective Capt. Alan Ratte said the stable manager went to check on the horse at 6:30 a.m. and found Lola was gone. Ratte said the stable manager, a woman, notified the owner of the horse and also visited the police station to file a report.
Ratte said the owner, a woman from North Reading, has had the horse for a couple of years and boards it at the equestrian center.
Ratte said that when the stable manager discovered the horse was not in its stall, she spoke to other staff members, who told her that on Tuesday about 5:45 p.m., two people came to the barn, led a horse out of the building and into a horse trailer, and then drove away.
Ratte said police were provided with a description of the vehicle and that detectives are following up on a possible lead.
“I can’t ever remember a report of a stolen horse,” Ratte said.
The Bradford Equestrian Center posted images of the horse on its Facebook page, along with features of the horse, including a wispy white tiny swirl on its forehead.
The horse is described as having a stride that is slightly short due to a “stifle” — an upper rear leg joint injury. Images of the horse were posted on other online Facebook pages as well, including Granite State Dog Recovery.