By: Erin Shea
Fearless Tears is a special mare for Lynn Sullivan, the founder of TAA-accredited Thoroughbred Athletes. The Oklahoma-bred daughter of Affirmatif was bred and owned by Sue Ellen Vogler, a close friend of Sullivan’s who had died of cancer while the mare was in training.
“She was more than a friend. She was an excellent horsewoman who put her horses above her own needs. She worked hard and was the outrider at Will Rogers Downs for several years,” Sullivan said.
“She sent Fearless Tears to our friend Veronica Griggs to train, and Sue died while Fearless was in training. Veronica was able to win with her and that was a sweet victory. Sue named ‘Fearless’ for the only way she could face her cancer.”
While Fearless Tears only visited the winner’s circle once, she also notched three seconds in her 15-start career. When the time came to retire her from racing, the dark bay made her way to Sullivan at Thoroughbred Athletes to find a new home.
With the memory of her friend in Fearless Tears and the fact that she was a bit feisty, Sullivan knew it would take a special person to adopt her.
Enter Hillary Flege, a para-equestrian and Army veteran who was looking for a special horse.
“I served in the Army from 2016-2020 in Air Defense and got out as a Specialist,” she said. “(Fearless Tears had) perfect bone structure and build for what I wanted to do with her, which is eventing.”
The two seemed to hit it off, and Sullivan couldn’t be more pleased.
“I had to carefully choose who adopted her because she is not an easy horse by any means. She has upper level potential and she knows it. Hilary has done an excellent job with her,” Sullivan said. “Although Fearless’ adoption is close to my heart due to my connection with her breeder, each and every horse that comes through here has a story worthy of telling. My heart has been touched by every single one of them
When “Fearless” and Flege are tackling their dressage training, they’re enjoying a ride out of the arena on the trails, a place where Flege says “Fearless” lives up to her name.
“I’m a disabled veteran, and she and I make an amazing team,” Flege said. “Fearless Tears is out doing most Quarter Horses on trail rides, being the bravest and a leader.”