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Horse of Unbridled: The Unbridled philosophy of inclusive love

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By Susan Kayne

For Capital Region Independent Media

Little Joe and Hoss, the Haflinger brothers, revel in the peace of Unbridled Sanctuary. Contributed photo

Nestled in Westerlo, marked by GPS coordinates pointing to Norton Hill, and carrying a mailing address in Greenville, Unbridled Sanctuary defies conventional location borders. Residing within Albany County, yet transcending lines drawn on maps, this Sanctuary stands as a testament to a philosophy where love knows no bounds — geographical, breed-specific, or otherwise.

At Unbridled Sanctuary, a rich tapestry of compassion is woven daily, extending a warm embrace to equine of all lineages. This haven, formerly known as Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation, has undergone more than just a nominal transformation. Its rebranding is a bold reaffirmation of an ever-growing commitment to equine protection, understanding and welfare. It is a declaration that love, in its deepest, most profound form, is limitless and all-encompassing.

In this new chapter, Unbridled’s ethos resonates with shared values that unite our supporters and the broader community. We believe in a world where the well-being of each horse transcends the mere appreciation of its breed, echoing a larger narrative of inclusivity and universal compassion.

This philosophy does not just enrich the lives of the animals we shelter; it also weaves a stronger, more interconnected community, fostering a spirit of collective responsibility and mutual respect.

Arnie’s journey from toil to tranquility reflects Unbridled’s commitment to dignifying every equine life. Contributed photo

This love without breed-specific barriers is embedded in the acronym of our name, US, Unbridled Sanctuary. It’s a call to action, an invitation to be part of something greater than ourselves. We are a community that sees beyond the exterior, acknowledging the inherent worth of every living being. Our commitment is to ensure that every horse, every story, is honored.

The rescue stories of horses at Unbridled Sanctuary paint a vivid picture of the grim fate faced by tens of thousands of less fortunate equines. From Little Joe and Hoss, the spirited Haflinger brothers, to Noelle, the stoic Percheron mare, and her bonded friend Rahy’s Colors, who narrowly escaped the slaughter pipeline when sold at the Unadilla Livestock Auction, to Ginger, who once roamed the vast fields of Texas until she was captured and dumped into the Bowie Livestock feedlot. There, she gave birth to her filly Sweet Pea while awaiting shipment to slaughter in Mexico.

Ginger’s experience sheds light on indiscriminate and irresponsible breeding practices and ownership. Overbreeding contributes to the surplus of horses and exacerbates the problem of unwanted horses, many of whom end up in the slaughter pipeline. Ethical ownership and breeding involve considering the long-term protection and welfare of each horse and ensuring they are not bred in excess, only to face neglect or slaughter when they are no longer wanted.

At Unbridled, horses transform from a life of uncertainty to one of freedom and respect , capturing the essence of the Sanctuary’s mission. Contributed photo

Her story, and those of countless others, calls for a reevaluation of our ethical responsibilities towards horses. It demands a shift in perspective – from viewing horses as mere assets to recognizing them as sentient beings deserving of compassion, respect and dignity. Addressing these ethical challenges is crucial in reducing the number of horses subjected to the horrors of the slaughter pipeline and improving overall equine protection and welfare.

Earlier this month, Unbridled welcomed its first mule to the sanctuary, a big white draft mule who had been used by the Amish until his hind feet failed. Lame with crippling conditions, he was shuffled through the New Holland Auction in Pennsylvania, where Unbridled outbid the kill buyers to save his life. The extensive care he requires to restore his health and the integrity of his hind feet is a lengthy and expensive endeavor. With the reclamation of this precious soul’s soundness, he will regain his dignity.

At Unbridled Sanctuary, the philosophy of love is all-inclusive. From the smallest Welsh pony to the tallest Friesian, to the sturdy strength of the Quarter Horse to the graceful steps of the Morgan, to the sure-footed donkeys, to the fleet-footed Thoroughbreds, all are embraced.

While economic and cultural practices are often cited to justify certain treatments, they should not eclipse the ethical imperative to respect equines as sentient beings. This philosophy mirrors our rebranding journey; love one, love them all.

Once living in adversity, the horses now thrive, embodying the hope and renewal at the heart of Unbridled Sanctuary. Contributed photo

As we look to the future, we stand on the precipice of change. Unbridled Sanctuary seeks not only to be a haven for horses but also to educate and inspire a community. The moral consideration we owe to animals should not be constrained by arbitrary distinctions like breed. Every equine, from the noble Thoroughbred to the sturdy draft horse, possesses intrinsic value and a capacity for suffering that demands our respect and protection.

As Unbridled celebrates its 20th year in service to horses, our rebranding, and the breadth of our equine family, we invite our community to join us. Your support — whether through time, resources or spreading our message — fuels our mission and extends the reach of our compassion.

Unbridled Sanctuary is far more than just a name; it’s a firm commitment to the protection, welfare and dignity of every equine under our care. Here, in this haven of compassion, no horse is an outsider – each one, from the smallest pony to the grandest Thoroughbred, is embraced as a cherished member of our family.

The mission is clear and unwavering: to provide a sanctuary where diversity is celebrated, where the bonds between humans and horses are strengthened by mutual respect, and where united action leads to meaningful change.

The horses at Unbridled build friendships within the safety of the Sanctuary. Contributed photo
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