Horse Returns to Utah Family After 8 Years of Running With Wild Mustangs

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by St. Marie Ltd. via Getty Images)

Dogs might be man’s best friend, but for Utah resident Shane Adams, there was no better companion than his beloved horse, Mongo. The now-40-year-old has had a strong connection with the hoofed mammals ever since his parents gave him his first pony at three years old.

So when Adams embarked on a camping trip in Utah’s West Desert back in 2014, bringing his horse along for the adventure wasn’t even a question. Mongo never left Shane Adams’ side, of course he was coming. Shortly after arriving, however, what was meant to be a memorable vacation became one of the most heartbreaking experiences of Shane Adams’ life.

Night fell, and while Adams was getting comfortable in his tent, Mongo was safely tied up outside – or so he thought. Inside the tent, Adams heard a herd of wild mustangs running by, followed by the sounds of Mongo acting strangely. Attempting to prevent what was about to happen, Adams burst from the tent to stop his friend. Sadly, however, it was too late. Mongo had broken free, sprinting off into the dark to join the herd.

The next three years were a relentless search for his equine friend with no luck. The grieving horse owner did everything he could to retrieve Mongo, including alerting Utah’s Bureau of Land Management to his disappearance. But as the years passed, the family of Shane Adams finally told him it was time to move on.

“I thought he was dead, I believed in my mind he was dead,” Adams explained to WGEM, adding that he felt “lost” without his best friend. “I went through a lot of effort when I first lost him to make sure he was properly reported missing.”

Mongo the Horse Returns Home After Nearly a Decade in Utah Desert

Eight long years passed following Mongo’s disappearance, and Shane Adams had long given up hope that he would ever see his horse again. But then, the impossible happened.

In late September 2022, officials from the BLM were rounding up a herd of wild horses in Utah. One of the horses, however, was not like the others. He wasn’t wild at all – on the contrary, he appeared to be very well trained. Officials then noticed a brand on the horse matching the description from Adams’ 2014 report.

After nearly a decade apart, Shane Adams and Mongo were about to be reunited. “I hurried up, hooked up my trailer, and was ready to go,” Adams told Insider. “He was really cool when we got him and loaded him in the trailer and stuff. He was really good, he remembered all of his trailer manners … Backed out nice and slow, walked in nice and slow.”

To make the reunion even better, the horse appeared to have fared relatively well in the Utah desert. The only problem was that his “big monster” was now dangerously thin. That’s no trouble at all for Shane Adams, however. The overjoyed owner is more than happy to provide extra food for his old friend.

“It’s crazy. He still acts the same, same horse,” Adams said. “Eight years of being wild, and he acts like nothing ever happened.”