Montgomery, NY: Gabriel SES, an eight year old Thoroughbred rescued and raised by SquirrelWood Equine Sanctuary of Montgomery, took first place in the inaugural competition of his new career as a show horse. Gabriel SES won his first Training Level class at the Mystic Valley Hunt Club Dressage Show in Gales Ferry, CT, on June 7, 2013, with placings in additional classes contested over the weekend of competition. The thoroughbred gelding is an unlikely dressage champion. Bred in Hudson Valley horse country for a life at the ractrack, Gabriel SES came to SquirrelWood Equine Sanctuary at the age of three days, unable to nurse following a difficult birth, running a high fever and unlikely to survive without intensive intervention. The foal’s breeder, unwilling to cover his veterinary care, surrendered Gabriel to the Sanctuary. SquirrelWood Equine Sanctuary founders Beth Hyman and Diane Butler worked with Pine Bush Equine Clinic to administer immediate, critical care, and quickly transported the sick foal to New England Equine Practice in Pawling, NY, where he was hospitalized for several weeks of treatment.
Through his hospitalization and early days at SquirrelWood, Gabriel was hand-raised and cared for to the standard of care Butler and Hyman honed over years spent managing and rehabilitating elite performance horses. Gabriel SES recovered to full health at the 93-acre Sanctuary, blooming into a talented prospect for a sport horse career.
A naturally capable athlete by virtue of his racehorse lineage, Gabriel’s intensively hands-on care and treatment cultivated a bright, willing and ready to learn personality and an exceptionally trainable partner. This engaged and people-oriented attitude, coupled with his remarkable talent make Gabriel SES especially suited to the equine sport of dressage, which requires horse and rider pairs to perform precise, ballet-like maneuvers with imperceptible cues. Gabriel SES’ rider and member of the SquirrelWood Board of Directors member Courtney Budd notes “Gabriel is truly a product of the Sanctuary’s exceptional work.All of the confidence and presence that make him so successful in the show ring result from the nurturing care that saved his life.”
SquirrelWood Equine Sanctuary is a registered 501(c)(3) recognized by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, dedicated to saving horses at risk of shipment to slaughter or abuse. SquirrelWood specializes in the rehabilitation of slaughter-bound polo ponies, sport horses and working horses, many of whom find fulfilling, happy and successful second-chance careers at the Sanctuary or in adoptive homes.
“Gabriel SES is the perfect ambassador for the work that we do,” says Sanctuary founder and director Beth Hyman. “He’s the antithesis of the worn creature many people associate with rescues – he’s beautiful, fit, happy, healthy, and at the beginning of what I’m sure will be a very successful competition career. Gabriel embodies what a second chance at life offers to a horse. We’re very proud of him.”
SquirrelWood Equine Sanctuary, Inc, is a registered 501(c)(3) charity located in Montgomery, NY. Please visit www.squirrelwood.org to learn more.