Horse of the Month: Thunder
Breed: Quarter Horse x Draft
Age: 28 years old
PATH Intl. Member Center: Sebastian Riding Associates
Location: Collegeville, PA
Thunder, who is known to many as “Thunder the Wonder Horse” has been a Therapeutic horse for close to 20 years at Sebastian Riding Associates. He arrived at the stable as an 8-year-old QH/Draft cross gelding standing at 14.2 hands. He was very scared when he arrived, but was calmed down when I patted his neck and he returned the favor by grooming my shoulder. That is when I knew he was something special. He is now a mature 28-year-old and loving his job! He loves working with children and is very patient with all of his student’s challenges. He also likes to run when he has a more advanced rider. He loves to canter and strut his stuff. Not too bad for a 28-year-old!
When a new student arrives, Thunder is the go-to horse. He is very gentle with his students and knows some of his students have never even seen a horse before, much less been on one. He has never pinned his ears at anyone, even when the student is not listening to the instructor. He has a lot of lateral movement which everyone seems to enjoy.
Thunder doesn’t mind when the kids dye his mane multi-color during summer camp or when we dress him up like a racehorse (complete with replica Secretariat Blinkers and his own racing blanket). We gave him a racing name of “This Side Up” due to a pink arrow on the end of his nose. He also loves playing in the creek when we go on a trail ride. He is a good sport overall.
He is a very quick learner (except for the horse-eating trash cans, those will always be scary). He learned to perform all of his carrot stretches and will even bow for his students! He gets along with everyone in the herd. The only time I have ever seen him pin his ears is when another horse is challenging him in the pasture. He just takes it in stride.
Last summer we had a colic scare. Thunder had colic surgery, but rebounded very quickly! Some people said the stable and I were crazy to operate on a 27 year old horse, but I’m glad we didn’t listen to them. We made the right call. Thunder made it through surgery like a trooper and was happy to see me the next morning. The idea of losing my best friend in a matter of hours was horrible, and I’m so grateful everything went well and that SmartPak was there to help us through it with the colic surgery reimbursement from ColiCare. (Check out Thunder’s colic surgery story on page 13 of SmartPak’s Fall Supplement & Horse Care Guide.)
He got a lot of attention during rehab and was eating it up. He even charmed the vet techs at the hospital. He was an excellent patient. All of his students missed him in the program, but they loved visiting him in his recovery stall. When he arrived home, there was a large crowd waiting to present him with a Welcome Home card signed by all of his students and fans.
He loves his SmartPak supplements, his students, and treats of carrots, Red Delicious Apples, cookies. These are a few of the reasons why I find him to be not only a special Therapeutic horse, but a close friend.
What is in Thunder’s SmartPak