“This is Wicked Love,” says Cameron Gurney with a quiet smile as he guides a handsome yearling to reveal its shaved underbelly. You wouldn’t guess that belly was missing ten feet of large intestine; the formerly emaciated thoroughbred looks remarkably healthy after his second colic surgery. Soon he will return to Gurney’s family farm in Cazenovia, NY, where Gurney, his wife, and two daughters work together to breed and show their horses.
Gurney’s confidence and ease with horses show in every step through the barns he supervises, from navigating halls of students trotting animals to handling horses in the stalls. As Manager of Large Animal Care, Gurney is in charge of supervising a staff of animal attendants and clinic aids, keeping the facility running, maintaining a clean environment, and implementing infectious case protocols when needed. His work ensures the health of the horses, giving the animals the best possible experience while in his barns.
“I’ve been in the horse business for 20 years,” says Gurney. “At Cornell we get all sorts of different breeds coming through, and many interesting cases I wouldn’t normally see. The people are very friendly, it’s a good atmosphere. Some professionals act guarded with information, but Cornell’s doctors are very open and engaging. Even out in the field they teach as they work. I’ve learned a lot through them about horse health and care.”
That learning carries over to Gurney’s home. His wife, Jennifer, is an accomplished equestrian whose passion proved infectious. The couple moved from Long Island to Cazenovia and built a successful breeding program from the ground up. Starting as a high school social studies teacher with no equestrian experience, Cameron ended up working with horses full time as business blossomed.
“Now I bring our horses here for surgery. We’re becoming a major client!” He laughs, but with a farm of 25 horses and more on the way, Gurney is in a good position to trade business with Cornell. His farm often takes in Cornell’s lay-up cases that need to be housed off campus, usually injured horses or horses in training. The Gurneys house them, monitor their health, and transport them to and from Cornell.
“We raced two young horses in Belmont last weekend,” Gurney says, patting Wicked Love encouragingly. “They took second and third. Their future is looking promising.” The future of horses in his family looks equally promising. Twelve-year old Ava is already winning prizes at shows, and her six-year-old sister Eliza Grace has just begun to show horses herself.