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  • White Bird Appaloosa Horse Rescue

RIP Thunderbolt 1982 – 2015

Thunderbolt and Tina

Whenever we are asked why we take in elder horses, when there are so many younger and “adoptable” horses needing rescuing, we point to Thunderbolt. She came to us in September 2013, along with her friend, Mona. Her owner was no longer able to care for her horses, and her two oldest had no takers, due t their advanced age. Both were in their 30’s. Thunder had been with her owner since she was 2 years old She had been a capable and beloved trail horse, going on long trail rides in the mountains and giving her owner her best efforts for her entire life. She was a professional, with a work ethic, dignity and character.

Coming to the rescue meant an opportunity to just be a horse again, to graze and hang out with horse friends, and generally enjoy a retirement that had been well deserved. But for circumstances Thunder would have lived out the remainder of her life at the place she knew best, our preferred scenario for any horse that has given its best years in the service of its owner. If not, finding a good rescue facility is next best for a safe destination. We had always hoped that a suitable family would show up for Thunder who, a the photo shows, was still in very good condition in the summer of 2014. But we are also realists and know that caring homes for elder horses are few and far between.

Last fall, Thunder developed arthritis in her hocks that worsened quickly. While previcox and steroid injections kept her comfortable for a while, the colder temperatures ultimately proved too much for her joint and we no longer had a medical option for preserving her quality of life. Thunder has gone on her last long trail ride, free from aches and pains, having done her job well and having been rewarded with two good years in retirement. We will miss her, and we will continue to argue the case for taking in these senior horses simply because they deserve it.


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