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Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Thunder at Super Bowl 50

I am not a professional sports enthusiast (unless, of course, it is equestrian sports we are talking about!) but I did watch the Super Bowl on February 7 because you really can't live in Denver and say you didn't watch it. Besides, MVP Von Miller lives right across the street from me so I have to support the neighbors.

However, I must say I was really disappointed about two things regarding the television coverage. 1) the cameras didn't focus on Thunder, the Bronco's beautiful mascot, and 2) the Budweiser commercial wasn't about the Clydesdales!

So, I decided to make up for that by writing this blog post about Thunder.

Thunder is the stage name for the gray pure-bred Arabian gelding that is the mascot for the Denver Bronco's football team. The beautiful horse leads the team onto the field at each home game and gallops the field after a touchdown. There have actually been three horses that have been the mascot over the years since the first one made his appearance in 1993. All three have been owned by Sharon Magness-Blake, the rags to riches girl from Philadelphia who married the cable magnet and can now afford all the horses she wants.

The first Thunder was a gray stallion and was the mascot at the games from 1993 to 2004. After that he still made public appearances until his death in 2009. Thunder II and the present mascot, Thunder III have been gray geldings. The latter two have been trained by Ann Judge-Wegener who is also his rider at the games.

As the owner of three spirited horses and the past owner of an Arabian, my hat goes off to Ann. She must be an incredible trainer to get her horses to put up with everything going on at a football game! Think of the loud music and cheering crowds, the cheerleaders shaking pom-poms, the jets flying overhead, on and on. Talk about serious de-spooking! I have one horse that spooks if the neighbor's car has changed parking spots! I rode one of my horses in our community parade and it wasn't fun!

Anyway, Thunder is amazing. Thunder III has been to two Super Bowls, 2014 and now 2016. This year, shipping him to Santa Clara from Denver presented some challenges. In 2014, Thunder was flown by Fed Ex to New Jersey. Flying is not an easy thing for horses, as you might guess, so it was decided to trailer Thunder to Super Bowl 2016. However, we had a big snow storm and what should have been a 44 hour drive with a horse trailer ended up taking 4 DAYS when I-80 was closed for a day! The poor horse!

If any of you are non-horse people, you may be wondering why I describe the three Thunders as "gray." You see, there are actually very few truly white horses. A horse who appears white actually has some black hairs on him, making him technically gray. However, as the gray horses age, they actually become lighter and lighter.