Thunder Rumble passed this week at Old Friends at Cabin Creek at the age of 26. On January 6, Joann Pepper of Old Friends shared the sad news about the loss of this horse she so lovingly referred to as her “Black Stallion”.
With a broken heart I’m writing to tell you all that we lost Thunder Rumble today due to complications from colic. He was the most magnificent stallion I have ever met and am so thankful to have known him and loved him. He enjoyed every minute of his birthday party on Saturday, even had a Cabin Creek Travers race with Wills Way. I’m glad so many people came to see Thunder and all his friends, not knowing we would have to say goodbye so soon. He is buried here, in his favorite place, under his pines. Be free my friend, till we meet again.
Old Friends has asked for all who would like to do so to come to Cabin Creek today from 12-1 and share your stories of Thunder. I cannot be there in person, but I can’t imagine a better way for me to pay tribute to this amazing stallion than to re-post my blog from January 1, 2013 here. I created a hat for Thunder Rumble that month for our “Hats Off to the Horses” auction fundraiser series for Old Friends. This was the blog, this is my tribute. Rumble on, dear Thunder, you will be forever in our hearts.
This year, my New Year’s inspiration came from a horse. A horse named Thunder Rumble.
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’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.
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.
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!
‘Til next time, thank you for visiting Hats and Horses.