Remembering "A Gentle Giant"

2002 – 2022

We are deeply saddened to announce the loss of Pete, a 20-year-old Percheron/Belgian draft horse, from the Zoo’s Thunderbird Equine Facility.

Draft horses have an average lifespan of around 15-20 years, and just like many species, large horse breeds (like draft horses) have shorter lifespans than smaller horses.

Pete and his half-brother, Jake, were purchased for the Zoo in 2012 as a team to pull our wagon. Pete and Jake pulled the wagon during ZooLights for many years. The team also worked numerous special events and weddings, and regularly participated in the historic Parada Del Sol in Old Town Scottsdale. 

Pete was a gentle giant with a laid-back attitude and calm personality. He never hesitated to allow his brother to do most of the pulling as he would just cruise along the way. After pulling the wagon at night, he would push his harness collar all the way to ears to rest his chin on the hitching bar.

He preferred eating in his stall, visiting with guests, and being groomed by staff or Horse Hands participants. Pete loved children and was used for numerous pony rides and grooming for our old Horse Hands classes. 

All guests that came to visit the facility knew Pete, his beautiful physic, and his charismatic personality. 

He will be greatly missed by all.