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FORT LUPTON, Colo. — On a day that’s supposed to be full of laughter and joy, a little girl from Weld County spent her eighth birthday on Sunday worrying and wondering about her best friend.

Hayden Ratliff and her sister Skylar had only known “Big John” since August, but the girls couldn’t pull themselves away from the 8-month-old horse.

“Hayden is really broken up by it,” said Brad Ratliff, the girls’ father.

Ratliff is referring to what happened over the weekend. Sometime in the middle of the night from Friday into Saturday, a thief or thieves pulled up to their farm and stole Big John.

“It wasn’t just a crime of opportunity,” Ratliff said.

Ratliff believes the person responsible for stealing Big John must have scouted the area, seeing as how they knew how to go around the side way. For Hayden Ratliff, it’s heartbreaking.

“I just want to see Big John again,” the 8-year-old said, choking back tears.

“You always want to provide for your kids, so not being able to give them what they want is hard,” Ratliff said.

The black and white colt was last seen at the family’s home in Fort Lupton. Anyone who has information leading to Big John’s whereabouts is asked to call the Weld County Sheriff’s Office at 970-356-4015.