Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More Project Horse Stories: Thunder

Writting about Navajo made me start thinking about other project horses that I've had. I miss them all, but Thunder was one of the horses that makes me laugh the most thinking back.

Thunder was an 8 year old Suffolk stallion who was not halter broke when I bought him in 2005. He was a solid 1200+lb mass of muscle! I walked him around a bit with his halter and lead rope and he did just wonderful! I thought that Thunder was such a quick learner, I was very pleased with my new purchase. He was a quick learner, however stallions get hormones going sometimes and stop being the quick learner... Just as I thought Thunder was ready to leave his little corral, some young girls rode by on a mare and Thunder was suddenly dragging me in persuit of the mare! I held onto that rope as tight as I could and I wasn't going to let go for anything!!! I tried to get off to the side to use any kind of leverage I could, but his neck was so thick and he was so powerful (and he hadn't learned to give to any kind of pressure) and it didn't seem as though I was going to stop him. Some cowboy jumped on the rope with me and both of us were pulling, but with no success. Finally both the cowboy and I lost control and Thunder was running loose. Another brave cowboy jumped on the rope, this one SURE that he was going to be the one to stop this gigantic horse- nope! He only lasted for a few seconds and then dusted the dirt of his jeans and looked at his hands to examine the extent of ropeburn. With the help of the cowboys who each had a case of hurt pride, we got some gates shut and then Thunder was willingly caught and waltzed right into the trailer.

The second funny Thunder incident was when I had gone to run some errands in town and while I was gone, Thunder being the thickest horse imaginable, was able to break out of his stall. It is really funny because he wasn't hurt, just gave me a little scare! I came home and saw his stall door smashed. I started looking around the pasture for him. We had a pasture that went up a large hill and in the middle was a huge blackberry patch. I circled the pasture over and over again assuming that I hadn't seen him because he must be circling the pasture and always on the opposite side of the blackberry patch. I started to panick wondering if he had smashed through the fence as well, but I couldn't find any damaged fence.

Just as I was nearing a heart attack, I heard a rustle in the bushes. I looked toward the noise and there was Thunder's face. Not a horse, but his face! He was so deep in blackberries that I had walked past him at least 4 or 5 times and hadn't seen him because just his eyes and nose were visible! I got my clippers and started chopping Thunder's way out! I was very pleased that there wasn't a single scratch on him-not even from the blackberry thorns.

The last update I had on Thunder was that he was still living with the gentleman that bought him from me. He is now part of a driving team that plows an organic farm in California.

It goes to show that you can never be too sure what kind of day is in store for you. Also when you think you've seen it all, your horse gets stuck in blackberries! If you ever cannot catch your horse just wish for a blackberry patch!! All of these wonderful horses have prepared me for the unimaginable. I think I surprise many of my clients when I am able to problem solve with them over the phone, however after all my experiences, figuring out why a horse bucks or bolts, etc is like simple addition to me!

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