A champion in both title and spirit, Mr Wise Guy served as an example that we are not defined by the challenges in our lives but the way we adapt and overcome them.
Mr Wise Guy was well known for his contributions to the Arabian Horse World. In a stellar fifteen year show career, he traveled throughout the United States and Canada, amassing an impressive show record including multiple World Championships, Reserve Championships, Regional Championships and the prestigious distinctions of Legion of Honor and Legion of Excellence for Karen Cuneo, and her daughter Kristen.
He did all this despite the fact that he was severely injured in a training accident as a young horse that resulted in a broken jaw and paralysis in the lower quadrant of his face. Because of this, Mr Wise Guy's tongue frequently hung out of his mouth like an eager puppy dog.
The emotional and physical trauma of his injury didn't stop Mr Wise Guy from trusting his humans and putting forth thrilling, exceptional performances in the show ring with both adults and children.
At the end of his world class show career, at the age of 20, he transitioned into the life of a therapy horse and became the mainstay of the therapeutic riding program at Wings and Hooves Therapeutic Riding in East Kingston, New Hampshire, founded by Karen Cuneo in 2009. There he set out on a new career improving the lives of hundreds of adults and children with cognitive, emotional and physical special needs.
Shown primarily in English Pleasure, this versatile horse could drive, do dressage and even hop over small fences and at the same time, always quiet and well-mannered in the ring and on the trail in both mounted and un-mounted activities.
Where this gifted horse used to turn on the fire to give a thrilling performance in the show ring, as a therapy horse, he carefully and responsibly carried children and adults in therapeutic horseback riding lessons, attuned to their every move. His wisdom and intelligence made him into one of the best therapy mounts.
He was unflappable in any situation, whether it was snow falling from the roof of the arena, carrying a child on his first trail ride or giving a demonstration in Dressage ridden by a special needs rider. He stood quietly for the 'Barn Buddies' who were learning to groom and moved his body to help rebalance a child with Down Syndrome who was learning to ride off lead. Mr Wise Guy willingly did whatever was asked of him, whether he was hooked to the cart or carrying a four year old child with Wolf-Hershorn Syndrome in a therapy lesson. Yet this horse had the same willing disposition and desire to also go out into the ring and give more advanced riders the thrill of a championship riding experience.
In 2013, at the age of 25, Mr Wise Guy was honored as the PATH International Equine of the Year. The special needs riders related to Mr Wise Guy's uniqueness that although he had to deal with a significant physical challenge in his life and the event that caused it, he was not defined by it. He overcame a physical disability and found a way to eat, survive and thrive despite living with a significant physical challenge every day.
Mr Wise Guy exemplified the very best. An exceptional athlete with significant contributions to the show world, he traveled the country as a National Champion Competitor in a rigorous discipline. When his days of winning National Championships were behind him, he was a very special champion to countless special needs riders and their families at Wings and Hooves changing lives for the better every day.