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Founder of Wild Horse Education Wins Rare Life Courage Award

Laura Leigh Dedicates Life to Horses, Environmental Education

By Eagle rare
To The Desert Independent

February 26, 2016

Laura LeighRENO, Nevada – Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey has named Laura Leigh of Reno, Nevada as the winner of the 2016 Rare Life Courage Award. Eagle Rare will donate $5,000 to Leigh’s charity, Wild Horse Education – a self-proclaimed boots on the ground organization protecting wild horses and the environment in the American west.

Laura Leigh is determined to protect the wild mustang horses living in undeveloped land in the western region of the United States. For years, horses have been handled inhumanely during round ups and often sustain serious injuries and even death while they are being corralled into the back of trailers to be transported for slaughter.

The goal of Wild Horse Education is to spotlight inhumane treatment of wild horses during roundups and encourage the development of a scientific strategy for the management of these animals.

Wild Horse Education has the amassed the largest collection of video documentation in the world on wild horse roundups and is often called upon by media and government agency organizations to share their archives. This extensive collection has been instrumental in changing legislation on how roundups are conducted and also has been used to stop some roundups altogether. Ms. Leigh has persisted in her work for years, even under physical threats by those targeted for inhumane practices. Wild Horse Education is run completely by donations and a handful of volunteers.

In 2014, Leigh expanded the educational arm of Wild Horses and began speaking to students of all ages about the importance of natural resource preservation. For more information on Ms. Leigh’s efforts, go to

The Rare Life Award is an annual recognition program created by Eagle Rare Bourbon to honor individuals who exhibit courage, leadership, survival, devotion, character and heroism. Candidates are nominated by friends, family and colleagues. Their stories and photos are posted online at, where visitors vote for inspirational stories.

Leigh was among the top 20 nominees, selected from 208 stories submitted through the Rare Life website. The Grand Prize 2016 Rare Life Award winner is Hershel “Woody” Williams, founder of The Hershel “Woody" Williams Medal of Honor Foundation in Ona, W.V. Williams will receive a $50,000 donation to his charity which pays tribute to the family members left behind when a soldier is killed during combat.

Leigh was one of six runners-up receiving $5,000 to their charities of choice, with each runner-up awarded for embodying a distinct characteristic of a Rare Life: Courage, Leadership, Heroism, Character, Devotion and Survival. Eagle Rare’s prize donations for 2016 total $80,000. This is the sixth year for the Rare Life campaign, and the 2016 awards will bring total grants to date to $320,000 given to 42 charities.

The other 2016 runners-up are:

  • Jason Redman of Norfolk, Va.: Heroism Award for Combat Wounded Coalition

  • Robin Ganzert of Washington, D.C.: Leadership Award for American Humane Association

  • Mai Christy of Milwaukee, OR: Character Award for Camp Courage

  • Elizabeth Lumsden of San Bernardino, Calif.: Devotion Award for Operation: Destination Homebound

  • Kenneth Knabenshue of Lawrenceburg, Tenn.: Survival Award for Working Dogs for Vets

About Eagle Rare Bourbon

Eagle Rare Bourbon Whiskey is part of the award-winning Buffalo Trace Distillery, an American family-owned company based in Frankfort, (Franklin County), Kentucky. The Distillery's rich distilling tradition dates back to 1773 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee. Eagle Rare Bourbon is a 10-year-old bourbon that has won multiple awards, including five double gold medals from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. To learn more about Eagle Rare visit

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