Thunder. Magical Thunder.
If I was you, reading this post, I would hate it already; especially if you follow me on Insta or Facebook.
Thunder – I like both connotations of the word. Thunder as in ‘thunder and lightning’ and Thunder, my 17hh Irish Sport Horse X, 14 year old hero.
My use of hero there is repulsive. I am repulsing myself but the word is to stay.
All of my life I have grown up with horses; starting off with being put on a donkey by my mother before I was 2 and having a shetland for my birthday from my aunt aged 3.
For those who think that horses are easy, you should hear some stories. One I’ve got about my cheeky little shetland – Blackberry – goes like this.
Aged 6, I was cleaning my pony and making it all pretty and clean – as I went for the tail, I put some shampoo on it and rubbed in it. All very nice and fluffy and then suddenly, as I put the water on the tail, Blackberry double barrelled (clicked with both legs) at my stomach and threw me across the compound. Much to my mothers disagreement, she reminded me that there was some shampoo still on the tail and to carry on!!
True love is tough love I guess.
Thunder is a huge, fast, confident about everything but hacking and being caught, grey horse. He has four legs, a head, some fluffy mane, a tail and a huge crack in his hoof – that doesn’t seem to cause him harm or recover.
He has a bum made just for jumping big. scary hedges and he has a neck that is brilliant for hugging.
A bit of history before I tell you how he came about:
I’ve had a few annoying ponies & horses in my time, a few that are dreams and others that are demons.
One, Heidi – a 14.2 arab X mare, used to rear every time we went up to a jump – how ever fast. I couldn’t jump anything and after a few months I lost my confidence. No amount of kicking would change her attitude and it eventually scared the living daylights out of me.
Another was Sweep – a 13.2 Welsh Section C Gelding – bought for my sister who ended up hating all types of riding. Once Heidi had found a new home, I had the luxury of riding him and bloody hell, he can jump. Numerous days out hunting were spent flying over anything and everything and he was a dream. His fear of patting and stroking his face was very apparent – he was scared for anything, including his bridle being put on. But through time and patience, I managed to conquer it and he was finally over it – this time, as lame as it is, increased our ‘bond’ and made me love him more.
So when I had to move on it was very scary – horrid in fact. Was I going to get another Heidi? Or another demon of a horse. We tried out, or rather I tried out and my parents watched, lots of horses and ponies but none were ‘the one’.
I tried out my mother’s horse – Annie – who was fantastic and just before we were going to start eventing together – she had an injury which put her out of work completely for 6 months. By which I was told that she wouldn’t be able to hunt or jump big again so I had to look for another horse.
At the same time, my cousin got Storm – a crazy, unidentifiable 15.3 horse – absolutely freaky and reared up on a ice with me at New Years – still wishing to beat her fears with her – I took her to school but sadly she wasn’t what was required and got sold at the sales later that year.
The search was on. More internet sites were scanned and too many magazines were bought. Until one day I came across a big grey, with only one photo on his advert and the owner had only had him for 6 months and was already getting rid of him… ALARM BELLS!
I drove down to Glos – from Yorkshire with my sister to try him out. He was dreamy – as the cliche goes, I fell in love with him the second I saw him. He was incredibly muscly, toned and jumped like a ninja. There was nothing to hate…
I got told by parents that it was a mistake that I had to decide on, whether or not it was worth it and that they’d be there to support… I went with my gut instinct and got him.
About 2 months later, when he had thrown me across the road and nearly dumped me off him more times than I can remember – I decided that he wasn’t worth the effort. So I tried to sell him – deciding that this must be the reason why the previous owner didn’t like him.
To sell a horse, you need to get a portfolio together, of things that you’ve done with them and also photos… which involves riding and testing out all of his skills and during this time, I fell back in love with him…
Out hunting for the first time, was scary – he’s big and could do anything, as I had previously discovered but actually, as it turns out, he is dreamy and absolutely brilliant at the whole thing. He stands when needed, he jumps everything he’s put at and he’s got the shoulders of an armchair so I have something to cling on to.
All in all… he seems to have turned out to be a hero.
But, as the title says, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder – my dad isn’t the biggest fan of how he looks and I don’t think anyone else is either… but to me, he’s beautiful, majestic and just what I need.
Yours, jumping hedges..ly…