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Paramedic owns champion stallion, raises Ilamas

By Staff | Aug 5, 2011

How does a paramedic end up raising Arabian horses and llamas?

Cameron Thornberg, rural Rugby, was planning to major in veterinary medicine when he took an Emergency Medical Technician course, became certified, and got hooked on emergency medicine for humans. He later (2003) earned his paramedic certification. He has worked at the Heart of America Medical Center at first as an EMT and now as a paramedic along with some office work, for many years.

Although he did not grow up on a farm, he has always been interested in horses. He enjoys horseback riding and finds it to be an activity that takes his mind away from the pain and suffering he sees in his job.

He is fascinated with ancient Egyptian history and is intrigued with Arabian horses because of it.

“I like the looks and spirit of Arabian horses,” said Thornberg.

He goes on to explain that Arabians bond to their owner. This breed of horse is very intelligent, very stubborn and has a lot of endurance, according to Thornberg.

He should know, he owns ten of the pedigreed animals and raises them on his ranch “Caledonia”. The name for the ranch has been in the family for five generations, which made it a good choice for Thornberg.

His parents John and Loanne Thornberg came on board with owning Arabian horses a few years ago. He and his parents own a couple of horses together.

“It’s a lot of work, but a lot of enjoyment, too,” said Thornberg.

Last year (2010) he entered one of his stallions and another horse in a competition in Lexington, Kentucky. Thornberg estimates that 20,000 people from at least 15 countires attend “The Egyptian Event” at the Kentucky Horse Park.

PWA “Nagib” Shah won the championship in the stallion class at Kentucky. Nagib, as Thornberg calls his horse, trains in Texas and the trainer transported him to Kentucky. After the event, Thornberg brought Nagib home to Rugby. Nagib’s daughter, Nefertari CE, a 4-year-old, also raised on the farm near Rugby, placed in the Top Ten in her class.

While at the event, a man and his daughter from Kuwait took an interest in Nefertari. He e-mailed back and forth with Thornberg. Nefertari has been sold and now resides in Kuwait.

Nagib’s parentage is of interest. Nagib’s father is Ansata Halim Shah and his mother is Nasbah. The horses were imported from Germany. Ansata Halim Shah was bought by an Emir of Qatar in the ’90s.

“In the 1950s, Arabian breeders from the United States bought many Arabian horses from Egypt, now the breeders from the Middle East are buying Arabians back,” said Thornberg.

Almost as an afterthought, he adds that he raises llamas which he sells. He owns 30 Llamas. Thornberg said they are good for running off coyotes.

“You put them in with cattle and sheep and they will keep the coyotes out,” said Thornberg.

Thornberg raises and sells his Arabians and his llamas, even as he continues to work at the hospital. It has been a different path then the one he started out on, but he enjoys where life has led him.

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