The woman who lost the horse and found it, thanks to a good Samaritan hiker who brought it down from the wilds but then disappeared, making everyone wonder who he was, wanted to thank him with a gift certificate for dinner for two, but she couldn’t find him. 

However, on Wednesday, when the Tidings ran a story on the rescue, the mystery man’s boss remembered the story told by the guy at work and told the pony owner, and they set up a surprise get together at work, which turned out to be very joyous, with many tales told about the wandering horse. 

As you can see, it’s a complicated story, but the owner, Carol Ingram was “freaked out,” she says, when her pony Maisie on Monday, just before the big snowstorm, wandered from her paddock at the top of Elkader Street. Ingram tried to track the animal but lost her. 

The mystery man, Jace Ives, 33, a runner and land survey technician at Polaris Land Surveying in Ashland, found the pony on Red Queen Trail, looped his dog’s leash around her and coaxed her down Ashland Loop Road in the gathering dark, finding a horse pasture near the corner of Terrace Street, where he talked to the resident, Ruthe Woudenberg, and left the pony there, safe, with food and water. 

Woudenberg put a notice in Craigslist’s lost and found and the next morning, an elated Ingram walked her horse home. Immensely relieved, Ingram wanted to thank the runner, but no one got his name. She checked with the runner’s shop and posted notices but found nothing. 

Laurie and Shawn Kampman of Polaris heard the story, told off-handedly by Ives, and when they read the story in the Tidings, they called Ingram. She got a gift certificate and they set up a surprise at 4 p.m. Wednesday for Ives — who had not seen the story and didn’t quite know what the fuss was about. 

He told Ingram how the feisty pony would often sprint ahead of him and clearly didn’t know where she was or who this man was, but they did get to the bottom of Red Queen and Ashland Loop. 

“Here was this pony with no saddle and no little kid riding it,” he said, laughing. “No one was around. I knew she couldn’t be left there so I brought her down. I don’t expect anything for it.” 

Nonetheless, Ingram handed him the gift certificate for dinner at Winchester Inn, with a big hug and said, “You saved her life. I have no doubt about that. The storm was coming in and she didn’t know where she was. I am so keeping her locked up tight from now on. It’s that kind of thing that can happen too easily.” 

Of the fuss, boss Shawn Kampmann said, “Jace is kind of shy and doesn’t want to draw attention to himself, but we wanted to call Carol and surprise him.” 

As Ingram left, she chirped, “A story with a happy ending. This is great!”

John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.