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Horses of Unbridled: Lisa Hunt’s unwavering dedication to rescued horses

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By Susan Kayne

For Capital Region Independent Media

Benefactor Lisa Hunt with Teresa’s Luck, one of the two horses she sponsors at Unbridled. Contributed photo

Amid the peace and tranquility of Unbridled Sanctuary, nestled on the southern border of Albany County in the shadow of the Helderberg Mountains, two mares, Wandorous and Teresa’s Luck, graze peacefully. Their tranquil lives, a stark contrast to their turbulent pasts, are a testament to the benevolence of an extraordinary woman: Lisa Hunt.

Today, we delve into Lisa’s remarkable journey with these majestic creatures, exploring the profound impact of her moral leadership in the equine community.

A RESCUE STORY: FROM PERIL TO PEACE

The tales of Wandorous and Teresa’s Luck, once celebrated as racing and breeding Thoroughbreds, are marred by neglect and abandonment.

Wandorous is athletic, stocky, and very strong. She was born in Oklahoma on April 11, 2007. Her sire, Wando, won the Canadian Triple Crown. At the time of her conception, Wando resided at the iconic Lane’s End Farm near Lexington, Kentucky. Her dam, Our Liebling, was born in Ontario, Canada, into the ownership of Gus Schickedanz, a successful self-made businessman.

Gus loved horses from his childhood. He grew up on a 300-acre horse farm in Prussia until World War II forced his family to flee. In Canada, he met the renowned Thoroughbred breeder E.P. Taylor, the creator of Windfields Farm, home to the world-famous Northern Dancer.

In 1964, long before Wandorous was born, Northern Dancer became the first Canadian-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby. After retiring from racing, he became one of the most successful sires of the 20th century. His influence on the breed is still felt worldwide.

Our Liebling, the dam of Wandorous, is out of E.P. Taylor’s homebred mare Victorious Answer, a stakes winning granddaughter of his Northern Dancer. In November 2006, while pregnant to Wando, Schickedanz sold her through the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. She was purchased by Mighty Acres for $17,000 and relocated to Oklahoma.

Wandorous is a great-great-granddaughter of Northern Dancer through both her maternal and paternal lineage. Her physique carries the stout strength of Northern Dancer.

In November of 2007, Mighty Acres consigned Wandorous to the Keeneland Sale. At the age of seven months, she stood alone on the same auction block that her mother carried her through just one year earlier. She fetched a high bid of $17,000.

Wandorous, one of two Thoroughbred mares sponsored by benefactor Lisa Hunt and living at Unbridled. Contributed photo

Wandorous made 24 starts for Harmony Stable LLC. She carried their colors to three victories and earned $45,733, contributing to the entity’s winnings of over $1,000,000.

At the age of 10 and pregnant for the fourth time, Wandorous sold for $950 at the Heritage Auction in Oklahoma. Four years later she resurfaced in a slaughter-bound stockyard of Stroud, Oklahoma.

Similarly, Teresa’s Luck, with her elegant gait and striking white blaze, a daughter of Triple Crown runner Believe It, and from the breeding stock of Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Stud in Florida, found herself imperiled in a slaughter-bound stockyards of Bowie, Texas.

The rescue of both mares from slaughter-bound stockyards in Stroud, Oklahoma, and Bowie, Texas, was nothing short of miraculous, orchestrated single-handedly by Lisa Hunt. Lisa, a figure of quiet strength and unwavering resolve, saw past their diminished state to their inherent nobility and potential for a serene future.

UNBREAKABLE BOND

At Unbridled Sanctuary, these mares, now older are affectionately known as Wonder (Wandorous) and India (Teresa’s Luck). They are inseparable, a duo that finds solace and strength in each other’s company.

Their personalities shine through in their daily interactions. Wonder, the more active of the two, tells India just what to do and where to go! With a nudge and a nicker, Wonder guides India to her favorite grazing spots.

In all that they do, they comfort one another.

BEACON OF HOPE

Lisa Hunt’s role in their lives extends beyond rescue. Her continued sponsorship ensures that Wonder and India enjoy a life of dignity and peace, and proper nutrition, supplements, dental, hoof and veterinary care.

Her actions challenge the equine industry’s norms, calling into question the moral obligation of industry participants. She stands as a beacon of hope, exemplifying an ethical approach to the moral duty of guardianship over these sentient beings – whether we ever owned them or not.

The story of Wandorous and Teresa’s Luck is a powerful reminder of our moral duty to care for horses throughout their natural lifespan. These creatures, often voiceless and powerless, rely on human guardians for their well-being.

The contrast between Lisa’s selfless actions and the abandonment by their previous connections underscores the ethical imperative of lifelong stewardship.

A closer look at the industry reveals a harrowing truth – Thoroughbred mares, like Wonder and India, are among the most vulnerable in the slaughter pipeline. Their marginalization, often a consequence of the industry’s profit-driven motives, calls for urgent attention and action.

Sanctuaries like Unbridled offer a haven, but the need is vast and growing.

Teresa’s Luck restored to good health at Unbridled Sanctuary. Contributed photo

Unbridled Sanctuary stands as a refuge for horses like Wonder and India. Here, they are not just sheltered but celebrated as individuals, each with their unique story and personality. The Sanctuary’s ethos, grounded in the principle of ethical engagement with equines, offers a model for how we can transform our interactions with these majestic creatures.

CALL TO ACTION

As we reflect on Lisa Hunt’s exemplary contributions, we are reminded of the power of individual action. Her dedication is a clarion call to others, urging us to step up and be the heroes these horses need. It is through collective efforts and heightened awareness that we can ensure a dignified life for all horses.

Lisa Hunt, our Unbridled Horse Hero, embodies the essence of compassion and moral leadership. Her unwavering support for Wonder and India is a beacon of hope in a world often indifferent to the plight of these noble creatures.

As we celebrate her and the lives she has transformed, we are inspired to follow in her footsteps, advocating for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Susan Kayne operates the horse rescue organization Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation, on the border of Albany County and Greenville.

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