Told by Dr. Malone, our Clinical Psychologist
Thunder is a 17-year-old bay quarter horse gelding. He was a birthday present from my daughter.
She had a grey Arabian mare that she just was not clicking with, and she was approached by a lady at a horse show who wanted a grey Arabian mare. She traded that mare for a three month old stud colt and a saddle.
Thunder was protective and loving from the start. When he was only four months old, he saved my life.
We had taken in an appaloosa filly for training. This filly was quite aggressive. One day I was mending a broken place in a stall, and I felt a horse come up behind me and try to step over me.
I raised my hand to block the horse – the hand with the hammer in it, unfortunately. The hammer tapped the horse on the nose. It was that appaloosa filly. She took offense.
From that time on she would watch me carefully from a distance each time I came to the barn. One day, she got her chance and she took it. I was in the stall, she came in, cornered me and began kicking me fiercely in the chest.
Thunder pushed into the stall, wedged himself between me and the filly and protected me from her lethal beating. He then helped drag me up to the house for help from the humans.
He has been a marvel of a horse.
He was a well mannered stallion and sired many offspring who are in other therapy programs. When the horse market in Alabama crashed we had him gelded and my daughter began to show him.
He completed successfully as a hunter over fences and on the flat, earning her 4th place in the Alabama Hunter Jumper Association circuit competing in only four shows out of the 12 scheduled.
He showed successfully in halter, showmanship, western pleasure and timed events, and continues to take advanced students to shows.
At the same time, he gently baby sits toddlers and handicapped children, instinctively knowing just how much his rider can do. He continues to be the leader in our herd, and does it with such aplomb that other horses don’t even think about challenging him.
His most irritating trick, however, is that he can open any stall door or gate latch, and often does so, letting horses out whenever he wants to.
He is older now, and has some arthritis. He requires medication to keep him comfortable, bringing the total cost for caring for him to $250 per month.