Come join us for a fun day at SquirrelWood Equine Sanctuary. The organization is having an open house Sunday, Oct. 16, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will feature horses, donkeys, pot belly pigs, chickens and turkeys. The address is 1994 State Route 17K in Montgomery, N.Y. Bring the kids and grandkids so they can experience firsthand the wonders of this fabulous farm and sanctuary.

SquirrelWood was purchased in 2001 with the goal of rehabilitating injured and sick sport-horses. There are 30 stalls, indoor and outdoor riding arenas, and acres of pastures for grazing. In 2009 it officially became a recognized not-for-profit and focused on full-time rescue.

If you are looking for a great horse for your children or a jumper for yourself, this is the place to visit. They specialize in polo horses, and usually have a number on hand available for adoption. Polo horses are usually very well broken, and can excel at many different disciplines.

I love horses, and own eight rescue horses and a donkey named Mojo, who was rescued from a kill pen. I am a major supporter of SquirrelWood, which is dedicated to giving a second chance to horses at risk of shipment to slaughter or suffering from abuse and neglect. The horses they rescue are given care and training and then put up for adoption. More than 50 horses have been rescued from slaughter so far, and the organization is looking to double that number over the next two years.

The sanctuary is run by Beth Hyman and Diane Butler, lifelong horse people, whose mission is to rehabilitate and care for horses that others have thrown away. They believe every horse deserves a chance at life and love from caregivers. Many people believe that the slaughter of horses is over. While horse slaughter is illegal in the United States, thousands of horses are still sent from here to Mexico and Canada, where they are brutally butchered. It is estimated that in 2010, 138,000 U.S. horses were slaughtered over our borders. As long as horse meat remains a delicacy in France and Japan, these beautiful animals will continue to be killed.

Its website, www.squirrelwood.org, features horses available for adoption and information about the rescue. Some horses, not suitable for adoption due to health issues or behavioral problems, are given sanctuary for life at SquirrelWood.

So many people experience joy from owning a horse, whether it is a racehorse, a show horse or a polo pony. It is a shame that they can't care for them when the animal becomes old or ill. If you can't adopt a horse from SquirrelWood, consider making a tax-deductible contribution so that it can continue to help save horses bound for slaughter. It is the very least we can do for these magnificent creatures.

To contact SquirrelWood, call 845-361-2316, e-mail LuvPolo@aol.com or visit www.squirrelwood.org. Donations may be made on the website, or by check sent to SquirrelWood Equine Sanctuary, 1994 State Route 17K Montgomery NY 12549.

New Canaan resident Cathy Kangas is a member of the Humane Society of the United States' National Council. As the owner of PRAI, an international cosmetic corporation, she started Beauty with a Cause, and commits a percentage of her company's profits to help animal welfare organizations around the world.

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