A Man Standing Next To His Horse

Some bonds can never be broken

How Purina is harnessing the power of community to reunite horses and their owners

Some animals feel like family. And like family, we care about them, even after they've grown up and left home. That’s especially true of horses and their people.

When horses move on to new owners because of costs or life changes, people often lose track of their old friends. Early this year, Purina created an online forum FindYourOldFriend.com to help people find, and even reconnect with, a horse from their past. So far, the initiative has helped more than 50 people reconnect with their old friend, aided in part by the the more than 4,800 people who have joined the Facebook group.

Each of those reunions is unique but what binds them together is the belief that horses are family forever, no matter how long you’re separated.

Richard Borrenpohl of Tilldan, Illinois, last saw his horse 15 years ago. He wondered where Dusty was and whether he’d ever see him again, especially now that Richard has late-stage cancer.

Dee Schmidt of Hillsboro, Missouri, heard about Find Your Old Friend and started searching for a horse she once owned. While she hasn’t reconnected with that horse, yet, she realized someone out there was probably missing Dusty. She made a few calls and discovered Richard.

Because the Find Your Old Friend group was the catalyst, Purina helped memorialize this touching reunion with a heartfelt video.

Dusty is a loving horse that brings people together, and we hope this reunion video, and the many reunions that have occurred so far, inspire other horse owners to keep looking for their horse.

Since it was posted on Dec. 14, the Richard & Dusty video has received more than 430,000 views.

Strategy behind Find Your Old Friend

There is no universal database to keep track of where sold horses are now. That’s why Purina created an online community where people can find and help find horses.

To help track down horses and grow our community, we turned people’s stories and horse photos into sponsored Facebook posts. We geotargeted our ads to a horse’s last known location to reach horse owners across the nation and increase our odds of finding someone’s old friend.

To launch the initiative, we created a short film about a girl growing up with a Clydesdale. Born within days of each other, April & Dixie become best friends, only to have that bond tested by life and love. With the launch of Purina’s FindYourOldFriend.com, we offered a way to bring them back together. Since it’s launch, the video has received 7.5 million views.

What are people saying?

People are responding positively to these videos and the Find My Old Friend community. Here are a few samples of social reaction:

“I just wanted to take a moment to let everyone know this site works. After years of searching for my first horse, with no luck, I found her here! She is in the best home possible where she will live out her days as a happy, well-loved horse.”

“What a beautiful story. I’m so proud to be a Purina dealer.”

“Well, here come the tears. I can’t love this enough.”

We couldn’t agree more.