Hurricane Katrina Survivor Becomes Top Trick Horse


Friday, January 15th 2016, 4:35 pm
By: News 9


The International Finals Rodeo is this weekend at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City with top cowboys and cowgirls from all over the world.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars-worth of horses will be featured at the IFR, but the star of the show is a horse that costs just $60.

Mr. Bojangles is a trick horse and one of the entertainment acts at the rodeo. The horse is also a survivor of Hurricane Katrina.

He was found stranded in floodwater, balancing on a tree stump.

“There was no hair on his back from here all the way back, the chickens had just worn all this off,” said his owner, Jerry Thornton.  “That's because they were living on his back, rats were on his back,” he added.

Mr. Bojangles’ back leg was tangled in sharp wire, making it impossible to move.

“The back was cut to the bone and it took over a year, it drained for over a year and the scar grows, you have to clip if off like you clip his hooves,” Thornton told News 9.

Thornton trains horses at his Tennessee ranch and allowed rescuers to stash Mr. Bojangles with him. The horse was only supposed to stay temporarily, but he and Thornton bonded quickly so he bought the horse.

“His partner next door is a $50,000 Andalusian stallion that was in the Miranda Lambert video and you see whose out here doing the shows - the $60 horse,” Thornton laughed.  “I didn't pick him, he picked me,” he added.

The partners have gone all over the nation with their act. It was the best $60 Thornton ever spent.

“There is a second and third chance out there for people, whether it's people, animals or whatever,” Thornton said.

The IFR starts Friday at 7:30 p.m. and runs through Sunday. You can see Mr. Bojangles entertaining the crowd all three days.

Contestants from 17 states plus Canada and Australia are competing in the IFR. Oklahoma has more than 30 contestants.