Therapeutic horses are very hard to come by, not all horses can perform this job. These special horses must tolerate stimuli from many sources simultaneously, and maintain a composure of "all is well" even during the most challenging events. Loving Thunder is blessed by these amazing equines and we watch the most amazing riders create a bond of trust with their favorite horse. They become caregivers to their riders which enables growth in unmeasurable ways. We love our horse partners and they are truly our most important aspect of the program. We follow strict standards of care and no horse works more than 3 hours in a row or more than 3 days a week. They are considered our partners in the program and their mental well being is our biggest concern.
Most of our horses have been beloved partners who need a new job and have been lovingly donated to our program. If you have a horse that you feel would qualify as a therapeutic partner, please call us for an interview.
Horse Side Vet Guide
JR short for Junior is a Draft Quarter Horse cross and is 12 years old. He joined our herd in September 2016. He is in training to be a great horse for our Veteran riders. He participated in our first Adaptive Sports Veteran Riding program and did quite well. He is still learning the ropes but gives the more able veterans a bit of a challenge.
Belle came to us in September 2016. She is a Double Registered Missouri Foxtrotter/Paint with the sweetest personality. She is getting used to all the hussle bussle of the program because her life in Aztec NM was very quite. But she is a trooper and really loves the gente attention of our loving Team Members. During the last 4 months of 2016 she gave 46 rides to riders.
TC is a 25 year old registered Quarter Horse. Since joining us in January 2016 he has become one of our most trusted and loved horses. He is a natural at his job. He loves the attention and care he gets from the riders and volunteers. Never complains about his job and is a huge blessing to Loving Thunder. He wears a cribbing collar all the time, but is still proud of his smile, toothless and all. In 2016 he gave 195 rides to children and adults with multiple challenges.
Ted is 13 years old and comes to us with roping and endurance experience. He works with our veterans and equine facilitated learning groups. He is responsive and connected to the veterans and able to give the feedback needed to create a healing process for them. In 2016 he gave 82 rides to veterans and able bodied riders.
June Bug helped start Loving Thunder in 2008 and worked in the riding program for several years. Since then we have determined that she has a genetic spinal problem that makes it very difficult for her to support unbalanced riders without pain. So she works exclusively with riders who need ground lessons. She loves to be petted by all the riders and volunteers and is very patient to stand and be groomed for hours. Twuana still rides her on a regular basis, but is careful to make sure that all equipment is properly fitted to reduce pressure on her spine. June Bug is a Quarter Horse and 17 years old.
Chata joined us in November 2013. He is a 19 year old strawberry roan Paint Horse. He has a previous history of working at other therapeutic riding facilities and as a lesson horse. He has a great personality, but don't mess with him at dinner timer. His ears lay back on his neck as if to say "That is my food, don't you dare". But it is all "bluffing". He has become a steady horse in our program and it is often joked about that he has 2 speeds, walk and whoa. But he is just fooling all the beginners, because he has more speeds when asked with the correct cues. He just wants to see if the beginners really mean it. In 2016 he was our most ridden horse with 230 rides. That is 1.8 hours of work per day of the program. As you can see, he is a favorite of everyone.
Mojo joined our team in June 2014. She is a registered Quarter horse and is only 15 years old. She has been the extra horse in a very nice family for 9 years and is now having to be reminded that she is a horse and she should have a job to do. She is quickly becoming a favorite of our veterans, because she is 16 hands and over 1200 lbs of beautiful Mare. She has a wonderful "rocking chair" lope and will be a welcome new partner to our vets. In 2016 she was diagnosed with arthritis in her hock. She is limited to light weight riders and ground work now. She is looking for a new loving home for an easier life and a more casual riding or at liberty human partner.
Larmie joined us in the spring of 2013. He came from a frient I used to ride with and although I have seen him be somewhat of a bad boy, he must have left that attitude with here is a favorite of our veterans and when a volunteer needed a horse for the NM State 4-H Horse School, he was her man. He is ready and willing to help out anyone and is always asking "What can I do for your". He is quite verbal and moans and growns to let us know what he wants. He is the first horse I have seen drool over dinner. He is about 21 years old. In 2016, Laramie gave 190 rides to riders.
Duke was fondly called our "Gentlemen Horse". He was a Mangalarga Marchodor, imported from Brazil. He came to us from a local horse rescue after a 2 year history of laminitis and founder. But with lots of loving care he had gotten back on his feet after being put on a strict diet to control his insulin resistance (diabetes in humans). He always made certain that his riders were safe and would freezes on the spot if he felt them getting off balance. This photo was taken his 2nd weekend here and it shows how exceptional he was to just lie there and let the young volunteers move in and sit down for what we call "Story Time". Duke's final job was to help in our ground program due to additional health concerns that were restricting his airway. Duke was only two weeks short of his 25th birthday when his health challenges took his life. We held on as long as we could and we will miss him forever.
Mo is a loveable, huggable, quarter horse cross who is about 27 years old. He is the perfect therapeutic horse size at 14 hands high and stocky build. He is in great shape and is like riding in a Cadillac, smooth and soft. He has a strong background in reining and spins like a top when asked. He creates a great bond with everyone who rides him and is our exclusive "ride of choice" for our riders who use a wheelchair. But he will definately let you know if you are too close to his head, he likes his space. Mo gave 202 rides to the riders in 2016.
Was selected as the 2013 Equine of the Year by PATH, Intl. for Region 10 (NM, CO, AZ,UT, & WY). 2013 was a tough year for Carlos with a near death experience. He tore his colon wall and required hands on care for over 6 months. When the vet told us we should put him down, we just couldn't. Carlos and Mike, barn manager, became quite close during his recovery. Mike says that Carlos told him he was not ready to go on the eve of his scheduled euthanasia. So we went against the vet recommendation and he has defied all odds of survival and today is still an integral part of our program. In 2016 he went to serve with those who have gone before him. We miss you Carlos and hope you have endless trails to ride in heaven.
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