It’s a beautiful pony with a long, powder-pink mane and a shiny white coat. It’s wearing a halter but appears completely unattended, as if it stepped out of a fairy tale to spark a fleeting moment of joy. And, according to several very earnest stories and a Facebook page dedicated to its cause, the pony was wandering around an island in Montreal, lost and alone and in need of rescuing.
Sauvons le mini-cheval! they exclaim. Save the tiny horse.
Pink-haired pony first appeared online Sunday in photos on social media, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. The photos were taken on Ile Sainte-Helene, an island in Montreal, in “part of Parc Jean Drapeau which once housed Expo 67 and now hosts concerts and an amusement park,” the BBC reported.
A person who goes by the name of Gilles Bouchard on Facebook started a page for the animal, asking people for information and help tracking it down. It was the only place photos of the horse had been posted. (Within the time that it took to write this story, this Facebook page had been closed or removed, or at the very least was at least no longer accessible to a Washington Post reporter who “liked” the page earlier in the day.)
The CBC has now confirmed the pony was a stunt planned by a TV show (although to what end we do not know).
As with most animal-in-distress stories, it didn’t take long for people to spread the word, which reached an animal rescue group that subsequently shared the photo of the pony on Facebook, accompanied by flashing light and red phone emoji. It was an animal emergency — and yet very few people had seen the horse. And they all appeared to be in one Facebook group. And the photos were taken at night only.
“We remain on watch to find the animal, if it is still on the territory of Parc Jean-Drapeau,” spokesperson Gabrielle Meloche told CTV Montreal. “If it is there, we will take all necessary measures to ensure the animal is safe and returned to competent authorities.”
Even the Montreal SPCA got involved, which, according to the CBC, was "taking the matter seriously” until they could figure out if this is a hoax or a stunt. (One would hope they didn’t have any actual animal emergencies to attend to while they spent their time on this.)
In lieu of answers, we offered you some theories in a previous version of this story. We keep them here for posterity.
There is a tiny horse with a pink mane roaming the island. It is magical. The only people who can see it are the people who believe it’s real.
Like Santa, this pony exists only for those who truly believe in it.
The pony is an escapee from a company that rents ponies.
It’s like the llamas that got loose in Arizona, only much more mysterious. One could see an animal or petting zoo rental company keeping a pink-haired pony on hand for Easter or birthday parties.
(WINNER!) The magical, unicorn-like pony is a hoax, designed to get attention from media (like The Post) and page likes on Facebook.
This would be so boring, tired and played out — but there’s a really solid chance the pony is perfectly fine and the Facebook page was just a stunt for the clicks.
The animal is actually someone’s pet that was part of an exotic pet show hosted on the island over the weekend.
It didn’t take much sleuthing to find out about the exotic pet show that was hosted on the island just a few days ago. In fact, the very animal rescue that is supposedly hunting for the pony as this story is being written shot a live video on Saturday giving away five free tickets to the show.
“If you’re passionate about animals, you’re going to love the Salon National des Animaux de Compagnie!” the show’s website reads. “Featuring cats, dogs and lots of exotic species too, SNAC’s wide variety of animals and one-of-a-kind activities set it apart from other pet expos.”
The show took place at the Sherbrooke Exhibition Center.
That information, paired with this comment on the now-deleted, save-the-pony Facebook page, makes us very suspicious:
“I saw him one morning last week. On Sherbrooke, opposite stadium. He was on a leash with 3 people. They were walking on the sidewalk.”