Thistle was Recovering from Strangles
My Dad had several friends with Guide Territories and most of them had between 15 and 30 horses. You can image, with herds this big, how bad it would be if any one of the horses got something as contagious as strangles.
This is exactly what happened to Wilf. One of his young horses got strangles. He took her to the vets and they operated by cutting the strangles out. The procedure went well but she had two open incisions which needed to be cleaned regularly and eating was harder for her so she needed to be fed separately. This is when Wilf called my dad and asked if we could look after her through her recovery.
My dad said yes of course and that is how Thistle came to stay with us. She was a three-year-old quarter horse with lots of height to her. She was sorrel in colour, fairly calm in nature and was only halter broke. I spent lots of time with her through the doctoring phase and she healed quickly. I was told not to ride her but brushing led to laying on her and laying on her led to sitting on her and sitting on her led to small little rides with a halter around the corral and then it happened. We all wanted to go for a horse back ride this one beautiful, sunny, day and it turned out we were one horse short. What could I do? It was either walk or ride Thistle LOL and of course I chose to ride Thistle.
For the most part she was great! We just had one small incident. Well Shelley might have called it more than a small incident but no limbs were lost or blood shed so I'm calling it a small incident. Her horse kept riding up on us and Thistle would give the usually pinned ear response until finally she decided she wasn’t gone to threaten any more and she hauled of and kicked with both back feet. The problem was, she nailed Shelley square in the shin! Although she didn't break any bones, she did end up on crutches for several weeks :(
That was the one and only time I trail rode Thistle but I believe she went on to be a great mountain horse.