A 4-year-old Thoroughbred ex-racehorse, who had dwindled to a mere 847 pounds before he was rescued by Florida authorities in January, was welcomed to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) this week. And as luck prevailed, he was the first horse helped with proceeds from the newly established Adam Sigler Fund.
Chestnut gelding Cannwyll (Pronounced: can-will), who was pulled up in his last race at Gulfstream Park in March 2014, was seized in Florida by senior cruelty investigator Sgt. Max Sharpe of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control.
Acting on an anonymous tip, Sharpe discovered the emaciated horse on a Florida property, and shortly thereafter was able to get the animal help. “His ribs and hips were clearly visible and there was a gap between his hind legs,” Sharpe told Off-Track Thoroughbreds. “In my opinion he was a 1.5 on the Henneke Body Score System. He was emaciated.”
Barn name: Willaby and Pabo
Sire: Milwaukee Brew
Dam: Light the Candles
Foal date: April 2, 2011As Cannwyll’s former trainer Sharon McGlinchey reacted with shock and anger at what had became of the horse she thought was safe, the wheels were put in motion to ensure that Cannwyll would never go hungry again.
Using the Sigler Fund, which was established in November in tribute to Adam Sigler, the 41-year-old brother of actress and The Sopranos costar Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and of Brian Sigler, Cannwyll was offered a new home at the TRF’s Ocala, Fla. facility.
The Sigler family, owners of Winning Move Stable of New York, decided to create the fund to help Thoroughbreds in need after Adam Sigler died late last year, says Brian Sigler, who notes that his brother had a deep love for horses.
“We used to go to the track as a family. My grandfather loved it, my dad loved it, and I’ve got great memories of playing football on the backside with Adam,” Brian Sigler says. “After Adam died, we asked our friends and family to donate and … four months later it’s amazing to see what has been accomplished already in Adam’s name.”
Cannwyll will join other Thoroughbreds at the Lowell Correctional Institution, where he will participate in the Second Chances program, which teaches horsemanship skills to inmates in a win-win partnership providing care to Thoroughbreds and job skills to future horsemen.
“When this tragedy happened, Adam’s brother Brian told me that our organization was one of the first things they thought of because their brother was so passionate about racehorses,” says Diana Pikulski, vice president of external affairs. “I asked if they wanted to do anything special with the funds, and they asked that we use them for a horse who didn’t have anybody else, and needed to be rescued.”
News of Cannwyll rescue stunned his former trainer, however.
Sharon McGlinchey says she was shocked to her core when she heard Cannwyll had been seized.
“I couldn’t believe it when I heard. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a great trainer because all of my horses are fat and shiny and look like show horses. I don’t push them, and I try hard to find them good homes, or I keep them myself,” she says. “I sent him to a farm for a month layup and when I checked on him, I was told not to worry, that he’d found a great home with a 60-year-old lady.”
She adds, “I’m just so shocked. I’m one of those people who takes their horses back if there’s ever a problem, no questions asked.”
Questions will continue, however, as Sgt. Sharpe pursues an investigation and possible charges. In the meantime, he adds, it sure was great to see the outcome of this case.
“I heard he was leaving soon so I went by to today to say goodbye,” Sharpe says. “He looks great now. He’s regained something like 100 pounds— he’s a different horse.”