Standing Ovation by Ovation Riding: SquirrelWood Equine Sanctuary

ABR Films produced a three-part documentary series about equine therapy programs for combat veterans in the lead-up to the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Today, we’re looking at Part I and getting to know SquirrelWood Equine Sanctuary.

Screen shot via Vimeo

The Kentucky Derby is arguably the highest-profile event in the horse racing world, drawing outside attention in the weeks up to the big race. Knowing this, America’s Best Racing produced through its ABR Films a three-part digital documentary series spotlighting three equine therapy programs working with combat veterans.

Utilizing Thoroughbreds for the veteran program is intentional: the Thoroughbreds demonstrate a heightened sensitivity that is perfect for the nuanced work SquirrelWood does with veterans in its program. SquirrelWood provides a unique but valuable second career opportunity for Thoroughbreds transitioning off of the track.

“The horse is really feeling purpose in helping that veteran. Those two coming together, it’s just beautiful to see,” described Christine Bruckner, a social worker at SquirrelWood Equine Sanctuary.

Check out the first episode of the series:


Located in Montgomery, New York, SquirrelWood’s equine therapy program for veterans launched in 2015. Over 30 horses and an array of other animals call SquirrelWood home. SquirrelWood’s original focus as a non-profit organization was in rescuing polo horses at risk of abuse, neglect or shipping to slaughter; the organization also rescues other equines in need including owner surrender.

SquirrelWood is clearly a place of healing, not just for horses but for veterans enrolled in the equine therapy programs. For more information about SquirrelWood Equine Sanctuary, please visit the organization’s website and follow on Facebook.

Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.

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