Sundari is a "dancing horse" who suffered terrible wounds when she tried to jump over a barbed wire fence whilst grazing in a field. Her front legs were badly mangled and injured and she is still recovering from those lacerations. She lost a lot of weight during this period. As her wounds healed her owners realized that she could never "dance" like before so they decided to give her up. They approached us first, and we promptly agreed to pay the re-compensation package in order to avoid her ending up working as a tonga horse.
A "dancing horse" in India is trained from a very early age to perform to music and commands. There is a lot of hard training involved and the animal goes through a lot of pain whilst training, although many people argue about whether it should be considered an actual cruelty. Some compare it to dressage events and say it comes naturally to the horses. We beg to differ and think it is no different from putting an animal on a race track, or forcing them to pull an overloaded tonga, especially when you combine it with the low quality diet provided by horse owners in India. These horses are mainly used for entertainment in wedding parades, religious functions and local cultural festivals.
Here are a couple videos for your reference -
One of Sundari's legs is complete healed, while the other still has an open lesion as well as joint swelling, but she is eating well and with a lot of rest, good food and care she will soon be running around in the open grounds and playing with the other horses, feeling the wind in her mane. She has formed a close bond with Tara, a shy pony and the two are never far apart.
She is just 3 years old so we hope to be able to give her a long, happy life with your kind support.
Update (July 2013)
Sundari has now been at the Friendicoes Sanctuary for 11 months. She has formed a really close bond with Tara (see photo below - they are rarely seen apart!), both of whom share a paddock with donkeys and mules rather than horses, as they are smaller in size than regular horses and sometimes get bullied.
Even though she was initially shy and insecure, Sundari is now full of life. She stands near the gate to greet visitors, and won't think twice about giving you a good nip if you displease her in any way! A creature of moods, she will relish your attention if she's in the mood, otherwise she will haughtily ignore you! One treat that usually never fails to win Sundari's favor is carrots. A carrot in your hand can't keep Sundari away!
Update (February 2014)
As we mentioned in our last update, Sundari formed an close friendship with Tara, a gentle white pony and the two were never far apart. However in November, Tara had to be put to sleep after an accidental (yet forceful) kick from another horse resulted a broken leg . It was clear to see that Sundari clearly missed her companion, and was grieving in her own way.
Meanwhile back in September, the team also welcomed an orphaned foal whose mother died just 3 days after giving birth. Her owner approached the sanctuary for help and little Meethi moved in to the sanctuary. The owner wanted Meethi returned to him when she turned 2 months old, however the team made the decision to pay the owner the princely sum of AUD$540 in order to keep the foal, to ensure that she would know a life free from toil and abuse.
The wonderful news is that Sundari took Meethi under her wing, and treated her like her very own foal. Meanwhile Meethi looked up to Sundari as a mother. With Meethi shadowing her, Sundari had a spring in her step once more.
Several months on, Sundari and Meethi are still inseparable. Meethi follows Sundari everywhere and Sundari doesn’t seem to mind at all. They are kept in a separate enclosure all by themselves to keep Meethi safe from the other horses who can sometimes be bullies and inflict injuries on younger or smaller equines.
Update (September 2014)
Sundari - Sundari remains the friendliest horse at the sanctuary apart from our oldest girl Moti. She has put on some weight and is at the peak of her health. She is fast friends with Yamini and Truffles so it is a common sight to find Sundari, Meethi, Yamini and Truffles hanging out together whether in the stables or out in the fields. In fact they have their own exercise ground separated from the others. Everyone who meets her loves Sundari. She has the happy, pleasant disposition that makes her easily approachable by all. Meethi remains her devoted follower.
Update (October 2015)
Sundari, Truffles, Meethi and Yamini are a gang and have a part of one field all to themselves away from the others. While Meethi, Truffles and Sundari are pretty social with other horses Yamini has become more of an anti social over the months. She does not like either man or beast hence the four have their own special enclosure to themselves.
Sundari has passed on her friendly, sweet temper and her happy personality to Meethi. The thing about Sundari is that she gets along with everyone. All the horses, donkeys and mules. You can put her in any enclosure and she will be at home with everyone. Since she is a little small in size the older, bigger horses would bully her a bit at the beginning so she was stabled separately but in the years she has been at the sanctuary Sundari has learnt to adapt to everything and everyone. She is the most flexible horse we have. She has gained some more weight in the last few months but is in no way less active. She can be seen galloping happily along with Meethi and Truffles when the mood takes her and can give them a good run for their money.
Update (November 2016)
Sundari & Meethi have always been best buddies with Yamini & Truffles. But early this year we had separated them so that Yamini and Truffles socialized more with other animals. After the outbreak, they, with all the other animals were put in quarantine which they did not enjoy for one minute. The confinement, restrictions and the change from their usual routine made them unhappy and fidgety. Thankfully the quarantine ended and both Sundari & Meethi are back under the open sky, doing what they like best - running, hanging out with other equine friends and greeting visitors.
Six months back Sundari developed lameness due to putting on too much weight during the winter months. It was a result of group feeding in enclosures so this was immediately stopped and all horses are now fed separately and Sundari put on a diet immediately. She could hardly move initially as she had joint inflammation due to too much weight too suddenly. But Sundari is now back to her old energetic self, her lameness has disappeared and she is galloping across the fields thanks to the hard work of her caretaker and our equine team who took excellent care of her.
Update (November 2017)
The smartest and wiliest horse in the sanctuary turned 8 this year. And we are happy to tell her sponsors that she is keeping good health, is as spunky as ever and continues to charm everyone with her effervescence and beauty. This season the hairstylist has given her the forelock look and she proudly shows it off to every visitor who comes to meet her.
Sundari loves to be out in the field and despite the harsh summer and the heat she prefers the open sky to the shade. So, she is hardly ever stabled and left out in the field the whole time. There is a shade in the centre of the field for her to shelter under in case there is light rain. Only when there is a thunderstorm is Sundari put inside. She continues to be social with all new animals making the job easy for her caretakers to introduce her to newcomers. After her "obesity attack" last year the staff keep an extra eye on her diet, because this gorgeous girl loves her food! A little too much.
Soley sponsored by:
1. Karen Bevilaqua, WA ($500)
Thank you for your support!