A black quarterhorse stallion taken from the Lewises' Omahina Rd farm at Waverley some time around the middle of January was the living connection to Kim Lewis's late husband, Bob.
The horse, called Deacon, is believed to have been loaded on to a horse float from their Omahina Rd property by the thieves.
"Bob died three years ago, and Deacon was my connection to Bob," said a tearful Mrs Lewis. "Deacon was so placid. He loved his cuddles."
Added to the family's heartache, the stallion's first daughter, a week-old foal, was shot dead at the time Deacon was stolen.
Mrs Lewis said her younger daughter had a learning disability, but she had an affinity with animals, and she was confused why someone would harm their animals.
"Animals are so trusting. How could anyone want to hurt them?"
Mrs Lewis's son, Rob, believes their stallion was stolen for breeding.
"No-one would steal a stallion for any other reason, because they are too hard to handle."
Mr Lewis found the dead foal, then discovered the stallion was missing.
But the horror did not stop there. Mr Lewis then found a pet goat and purebred Wiltshire sheep had also been shot.
Neighbours saw a grey-and-faded-green horse float and dark ute at the property around the time Mr Lewis said the stallion was stolen.
Mr Lewis had also heard of other thefts after he publicised the loss of his horse, including a stallion from Hamilton. At least nine horses had been reported missing in the past six months.
He has informed the police about the incidents.