Thunder Rumbles Into the New Year

This year, my New Year’s inspiration came from a horse. A horse named Thunder Rumble.

Thunder Rumble photo by Connie Bush of Tiger Eye Photography
Thunder Rumble photo by Connie Bush of Tiger Eye Photography

He lives at Old Friends’ satellite farm in New York called Old Friends at Cabin Creek; home to 14 Thoroughbred retirees under the loving care of JoAnn Pepper and her husband, Mark. JoAnn describes Thunder Rumble as her dream horse, her own “Black Stallion”, a 24-year-old nearly black Thoroughbred who stands a stunning 17 hands high.

This is the horse Old Friends and I chose to honor in January’s auction fundraiser, “Hats off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby.” This unique annual auction series is a six month event leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Each month, MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® creates and donates a one-of-a-kind Derby hat to honor one of Old Friends’ retirees.

Of all the horses I could have selected for the January auction which begins the New Year, Thunder Rumble was the perfect choice. Even his name conjures up the sound of distant thunder and that tingling feeling of anticipation you get when you know that a storm is coming.

Thunder Rumble photo by Connie Bush of Tiger Eye Photography
Thunder Rumble photo by Connie Bush of Tiger Eye Photography

Thunder Rumble’s path was not the usual one toward greatness. He wasn’t the easiest horse to handle. And he missed the entire 1992 Triple Crown series due to a virus. Then when he won the Jim Dandy Stakes against a stellar field at Saratoga in early August of that same year, many thought it was a fluke. But when he came back in just three weeks and won the Travers Stakes he showed them all what a great champion he really was.

JoAnn says that even at 24 years old, Thunder Rumble still trumpets his presence loudly wherever he goes. He and his buddy, fellow Travers Stakes winner, Will’s Way, are often seen racing one another in their adjacent paddocks.

Thunder Rumble photo by Connie Bush of Tiger Eye Photography
Thunder Rumble photo by Connie Bush of Tiger Eye Photography

Like some mighty black steam engine, Thunder Rumble reminds me that I need to continually keep my passion in front of me and pursue it with everything I’ve got. Earlier this year, I clearly heard my own thunder rumbling as I tried to figure out what was my next path; in recent years I’d found a way to blend my passion for hats and horses by creating and donating Derby hats to raise funds for retired racehorses around the country. But a little voice inside kept whispering to do more.

After brushing it aside for months, I finally listened, joining Facebook in the Spring and later, starting this blog. I am now making new connections for my business and opening new doors for helping more horses in the future. What I learned through the experience is that it is the passion, like the thundering rumble within a horse that makes it run, that allows us to overcome the fear about trying new things and keeps us moving forward.

And in a pasture in Greenfield, New York a great senior stallion named Thunder Rumble still challenges his pasture mates to race him – and he wins; he wins because he believes he can. He has inspired me this New Year’s Day to keep listening for my own thunder rumble, to keep my passion front and center and to live with the anticipation that something’s coming. Something worth waiting for and working towards, heart and soul.

Thunder Rumble photo by Connie Bush of Tiger Eye Photography
Thunder Rumble photo by Connie Bush of Tiger Eye Photography

I invite you to enjoy the images below of the “Thunder Rumble” chapeau up for bid starting January 1st through the 11th. And please share a Comment below on this blog page. Let me know what New Year’s Day means to you. Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? And please be sure to sign up for email notifications of coming blog entries.

Happy New Year, everyone!
Sally

The "Thunder Rumble" Hat

Thunder Rumble Hat

To see more images of the “Thunder Rumble” chapeau and read all about the auction, please visit The Thunder Rumble Derby Hat Auction at MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®.

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20 Replies to “Thunder Rumbles Into the New Year”

  1. I cannot decide which is more beautiful…… the horse or the hat. In my dreams I have both! And am riding bareback through the desert with that fabulous hat on!

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  2. Sally, your writing, the horse and the hat are all beautiful. I am enjoying the new blog!! We always hope that the New Year will bring new and better times for all of us, as well as good health! As for resolutions,,,the diet…already blew that one!

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    1. THANK you, Ann! I hope Nicole see this one, too, these horses are just so inspiring to me… And you are so funny about the resolutions, it’s not easy with all the yummy holiday TREATS everywhere!! 🙂

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    1. Happy New Year to you, too, Brenda and to your family, I am so so glad you liked the new post! NOW – I need to find those long-awaited barn boots, following up on your suggestion for the Ariats as we speak! 🙂

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  3. Sally, you captured Thunder so well. He is an amazing horse. I’m so lucky to have him here at Cabin Creek and in my life. His entire life has been incredible, he’s touched many lives and so many people care deeply for him. Thank you so much for your beautiful work in helping our majestic horses!

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    1. Thunder Rumble is indeed so amazing. From all that you’ve shared with me, I feel like I already know him – and cannot WAIT to meet him someday soon! What an ambassador for Old Friends at Cabin Creek, and how fortunate you all are to have him there. Let’s hope for a great auction with the “Thunder Rumble” chapeau!

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  4. Sally, Yours is a work of art and you have captured the beauty and attitude of Thunder Rumble. I would don that hat in a second if it were mine and would be off to Saratoga or Churchill. Hoping your new year is happy and a successful auction for all the “Old Friends”.

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    1. Oh Mary, THANK you for all your kind words… JoAnn was so wonderful sharing with me her impressions of this amazing stallion, and someday I surely hope to meet him! I am sure I’ll be pretty misty-eyed when I do… Thank you, Mary, for all your good wishes, and Happy New Year to you as well!

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  5. What a wonderful story. I hadn’t thought of Thunder Rumble in years. He sure did love Saratoga. Thank you for brightening my day. Happy New Year.

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    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful response to the hat. My conversation with JoAnn Pepper was so very much at the heart of the inspiration for this hat, for her Black Stallion. He must have been something to behold when he races, what a stunning athlete he is! And such a privilege to be able to create a special hat to honor and celebrate him… I am so glad I brightened your day, and Happy New Year to you as well!

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    1. Han, THANK you for your wonderful response to the “Thunder Rumble” hat design. This amazing horse and the people who care for him were the inspirations for thew design. I hope that the auction will be a great success for the horses of Old Friends and beyond as we spread the word about supporting the retired racehorses. Thank you again for your comment and Happy New Year to you!

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  6. I have always loved horses; even did a little riding in my younger years. I also love hats; my grandmother encouraged my love for hats. She not only made my dresses but always found the appropriated hat, if she couldn’t make it, to accompany my wonderful unique dresses. I would love to see daily hat wearing become the norm once again.

    Thunder Rumble is an absolutely gorgeous horse with tremendous personality. What a lover.

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    1. Kathy thank you for your great response! It sounds like we share the common passions for horses and lovely chapeaux… And I am doing all I can to make your dream come true for daily hat-wearing to be in vogue once more! 🙂

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