Horse Thunder & Maples Ranches LLC.

Introduction To Our Family Of

Wilbur-Cruce Spanish-Barb Horses

The Maples Family would like to introduce our family of horses. How we were introduced to this wonderful breed (almost extinct) of Spanish Barb horses.

Our close friends Steve & Janie Dobrott were some of the first people contacted to save this small band of wild horses from a ranch that was sold to the Nature Conservancy in Southeastern Arizona. Steve was the head of the wildlife department from a neighboring ranch. They had known the granddaughter Eva Cruce who was selling the Wilbur-Cruce Ranch. (Please read the story by Janie Dobrott “Discovering the Horses. The Rescue of the Wilbur- Cruce Mission Horses).

The largest group of our horses was rescued from Oklahoma. We got a call one day from Janie Dobrott asking us if we could rescue a family of horses that was about to be put through slaughter. The couple that owned these horses were getting a divorce and were having financial difficulties. The horses were really starving. A neighbor of these horses (watching them starve) did agree to take these horses until we could find a home for them. We decided that we could bring 5 of these horses back to the ranch in Arizona. We set-up our neighboring young men to bring them from OK to AZ. About a week before they were suppose to arrive, we got a call from the man keeping the horses. I have a surprise for you. You will be getting 6 horses. May one of the mares had a tiny filly last night. She was so starved that we couldn’t even tell she was pregnant. Wow! We were worried if the baby would be strong enough to make the trip next week? The horses did arrive early a week later. No stops or rest on a 16 hour trip from Oklahoma. I cried when the boys unloaded this poor herd. There was a little black baby that was huddled by his black mother who was skin & bones, shaking and shivering. This little baby was no bigger than our Border Collie, Bert. We later named her Hashi, meaning “Moon” in Choctaw. She had a bright round white spot in the middle of her forehead. We also had another baby about a month old at the time from the lead mare and mother of most the other horses. We named her Tiaotta, meaning “Princess” in Choctaw, a beautiful little sorrel with white markings on her forehead and nose. I had feed troughs with grass hay waiting for them in a small pasture with the barn for protection. Both babies made the trip with no injuries.

I would like to honor two of the mares that are no longer with us. The lead mare and mother of most of these horses, Roxy. Died from colic in 2012 and was too sick when we got home from a trip, that the veterinarian couldn’t save her. Talonnie, meaning “Blue Eyes” in Choctaw. A white face beautiful smart filly with blue eyes. She died of cancer from a pink pigmented eye. We operated on this eye several times and the last time we decided to not put her through this treatment with our veterinarian confirming that the cancer had advanced into her brain. We had her put to sleep quietly loving on her. These two girls that we lost are missed. We all know that we will see all of our beautiful horses that we have had the privilege to take care of… all these years… in heaven.