Barn name: Thunder II.
Details: 1994 gray Arabian gelding by Solstice and out of Camila, by Gondolier.
Owned by: Sharon Magness Blake, Englewood, Colorado.
Trained by: Ann Judge-Wegener, Bennet, Colorado.
You probably know him as: The Denver Broncos’ mascot who “thunders” down the football field after each touchdown.
A good sense of humor: “He’s very playful. At the games if we’re not scoring, he plays with water bottles,” says Sharon. “I’ve taught him to pull my (coat) zipper up and down.”
A strong bond: “He trusts Annie and trusts me, in order to do what he does. It’s unusual for a horse to be able to take that kind of noise and stimulation and behave very well,” Sharon says.
Only a little spoiled: “The caterers bring him peeled, diced carrots be- fore every game,” says Ann. “During one of the cold games when I was sipping on hot cider, I discovered that he really wanted some. So now he gets hot cider, too.”
Loves attention: “Thunder’s very tender and wonderful with kids. He’ll play with them, ruffle up their hair, or blow kisses in their faces,” Ann says. “He’s very tolerant, but he’s got a great sense of humor. He’s really hilarious. If he sees a camera, he immediately faces it and puts his ears up.”
Leading the team: One of the most dangerous parts of Thunder’s job is leading out the Broncos at a home game. “You’ve got the cheerleaders with their pompoms in front?which he’s not crazy about?and the team getting excited behind you,” Sharon says. “Now, I put my face on his face, and I stay there as long as I can, and he just stays very quiet. The proudest I’ve been was when Annie went to run out of the tunnel, and someone ran in front of her. Thunder stopped on a dime.”