THUNDER DILLON by Thunder Gulch out of Misedge by Miswaki sold as a weanling at the Keeneland Sales and sold again as a yearling through Fasig-Tipton.
Sweet and kind but without speed, he plummeted through the claiming ranks. When he suffered a laceration over the stifle, his trainer attempted to save veterinary costs and closed the wound using basic office supply staples. THUNDER DILLON limped into the CANTER-MI program in severe pain, dragging his back leg. Surgery at Michigan State University cleared the infected pocket and after recuperation, he found his new career in the Ingham County Sheriffs (Michigan) Mounted Police.
He was featured in the February 28, 2004 issue of The Blood-Horse.
MIKE YANZ THUNDER DILLON and TYME TO SPARE
Perhaps the most respected of all equines are the horses used by the military or police mounted. Famous for their unflappable dispositions and people friendly personalities, the ranks of the nation’s police forces are beginning to appreciate the experience and intelligence of our retiring racehorses.
Bearing the colors from the Ingham County Sheriff Department Mounted Division are Deputy Mike Yanz and his horse, Thunder Dillon. Bred by D. Wayne Lucas to Thunder Gulch, who stands in Kentucky for a stud fee of $50,000, we don’t think D. Wayne Lucas was thinking “police horse” when Thunder Dillon was foaled! However, the old racing adage, “Breed the best to the best and hope for the best” certainly rings true in this case.
Despite an impeccable pedigree, Thunder Dillon, proved a disappointment on the racetrack. After 17 racing starts, he had only earned slightly over $9,000. His racing career was over and he came into the CANTER program where he caught the eye of Deputy Yanz.
Mike first began riding horses at 8 years old and has been involved with horses ever since. In addition to being on the Ingham County Sheriff Department Mounted Division, Mike is also a 4-H leader for the Well-Dunn 4-H Horse Project in Ingham County. After the heart wrenching loss of Crane, his retired Standardbred pacer, Mike was looking for another horse to serve as his trusted partner. A fellow mounted officer and farrier, Steve Schwartz, suggested Mike look at this horse he had been shoeing for CANTER. Liking Dillon’s personality, Mike jumped at the chance to try yet his third horse retired from the track.
To transition a horse from racing to police work, Mike first trail rides them extensively including weekend camping trips and the annual four-day Youth Education Wagon Train ride. This helps settle the mind and body and earn their trust.
Within three months, Thunder Dillon was officially working at his new career. By July 4th, 2003, he was one of the flag bearers at the Mason Fourth of July Parade. In addition to parades, he has performed all the standard police work including crowd control, street patrol, search and rescue, and seems to enjoy a good fireworks display or an evening of contesting.
Delighted with his CANTER mount, Mike returned to CANTER in search of another gelding like Dillon and found Tyme to Spare.
Tyme To Spare is 6 years old and retired from racing after 5 racing starts when he suffered a bowed tendon in a race. He is a descendent of Bold Ruler, Hoist the Flag, Mr. Prospector and Raise a Native.
Mike currently has Tyme in training. He has attended a training day for new mounted officer prospects.
In this training various stations are designed including obstacles for the horse and rider to maneuver, fireworks to help desensitize them to smoke and sudden noise and a handgun loaded with blanks fired from the saddle to work with noise, smoke and vibration.
We find it interesting that CANTER first met Deputy Yanz at last year’s Lansing Expo and he adopted Thunder Dillon a few days later. Perhaps today one of YOU might decide that an ex-racehorse would fit perfectly into your riding program too!
This demonstration today -- his very first time in this type of facility in front of an audience -- is also a part of training. Let’s all help Tyme To Spare in his mounted training by giving him and Thunder Dillon a rousing applause for a job well done.