Thieves who shot dead a week-old foal have also stolen a prize stallion.
Rob Lewis believes his black quarterhorse stallion was stolen, either to order or to breed from, and he had heard of several more horse thefts since, including other stallions.
"It's either for money or for breeding, no one would steal a stallion for any other reason because they are too hard to handle," Lewis said.
The dairy farmer found a foal dead on his farm near Wanganui three weeks ago, and then discovered his stallion Ex-Factor, who sired the foal, was missing.
"Killing the foal was pointless, I can't see why someone would do such a thing to such a gorgeous and innocent animal," Lewis said.
Neighbours saw a grey and faded green horse-float and dark ute at the property around the time Lewis believes his horse was stolen.
Since Ex-Factor was stolen Lewis had heard of other thefts, including of a stallion from Hamilton. At least nine horses have been reported missing in the past six months.
Hamilton breeder Nika Edgar-Brewer has been looking for her stallion Phoenix for six months. She contacted police, farms, farriers and anyone who might deal with horses.
Her mother had followed a lead to New Plymouth, where Lewis' Ex-Factor was stolen.
"Mum managed to find [Phoenix's] rug in New Plymouth but that was it. We were so close to finding him but whoever had him squirrelled him away."
Debbie Barker, director of horse re-homing company Horse Havan, said there needed to be a national register of stolen and missing horses.