Skip to main content

Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists


Golden Glow a.k.a Gigi

A woman in a vest and helmet rides a palamino horse. Meet my horse Gigi who sustained a probable life-threatening injury. A huge and rusty nail penetrated soft tissue/ligament/bones in her leg causing damage and introducing vicious bacteria to delicate soft structures of the hoof. Normally some of those injuries may be treatable however Gigi’s was severe.

The local vet came to evaluate my beautiful 3 year old filly and informed me of a probable poor outcome (only a 10% chance of surviving).  But I wasn’t ready to give up.

And this is when I made the most important decision in my horse’s life! I took her to Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists to Dr. John Pigott.  This incredible doctor’s experience, medical knowledge, surgical skills, and decision making are the reasons why Gigi is healthy and alive today.

The minute you walk in to the Ruffian clinic you are surrounded by his medical team: someone starts the IV line for fluids and antibiotics, x-ray is being taken, blood samples obtained. And within two hours the horse was prepared to go to emergency surgery performed by Dr. Pigott. That night around midnight Dr. Pigott called to give me good news that the surgery went well. At last there was hope that Gigi would survive. My filly stayed in the clinic for an additional 10 days during which Dr. Pigott called me every day to report on her condition!  In the next several months after her discharge home he was available to answer my countless questions regarding her condition and subsequent treatment and rehab.

Today as I was watching my hundred percent healthy and happy horse run around her paddock, I felt the need to write this to express my gratitude to Dr. Pigott and Ruffian clinic for what they have done. It is very important where you (horse/pet owners) will take your equine family member during a time of crisis because outcome matters!  Dr. Pigott and Cornell Ruffian is the answer!

--Edyta Reyher


We were told by other veterinarians that Remi was just a sensitive horse. Why weren’t there more answers? We needed to know. Cornell Ruffian was our last hope when Remi would colic once a month. When I Googled “equine colic specialists” and emailed Dr. Sam Hurcombe, it was a no brainer. We drove 16 hours to Cornell Ruffian... They were there whenever we needed them, day or night--that meant the most to us.

Dr. Norm Ducharme was able to solve Remi’s breathing problem and Remi is doing well. We are so grateful.

--Christy Breed


One day at the barn I discovered and enlarging lump on my horse’s inner hind leg. We took him to Cornell Ruffian. Dr. Hurcombe diagnosed him with a sarcoid which he surgically removed, which allowed Kodak and I to compete at the Hampton Classic Horse Show. He was kind enough to show me around the facility at Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists. When I go to college I want to study to become an equine veterinarian just like Dr. Hurcombe.

--Nicole DiSunno and daughter Tessa Kohr


Our 20-year old Toshana is “my trouble child.” With numerous bouts of colic and chronic Lyme disease, I was unsure about a surgery for her. Dr. Hurcombe educated me about the specific surgery Toshana would have and calmed my worries. Everyone at Cornell Ruffian was incredible. I trust Dr. Hurcombe implicitly. He has even face-timed with my primary veterinarians Drs. Nick Tallarico and Cathe Montesano to provide a continuity of care I had not thought possible.

Toshana is a totally happy horse now and I tell everyone I can not to be afraid of surgery. I’ve even started riding her in lower level dressage.



Sonny had the best care from Ruffian. When the decision was made to go there, our trucker, Patrick was in contact with an estimated time of arrival. The team met him at the entrance, Sonny was quickly diagnosed and Dr. Hurcombe was on the phone to me with a plan. Since everything was so timely Sonny was not stressed and he had a quick surgery and successful recovery. I received text messages, phone calls and pictures of Sonny from the staff at Ruffian, but the best was a visit to see Sonny after surgery and know that he was doing well.

I am comforted knowing this quality of care is offered at Cornell Ruffian. We are so grateful for the personalized and professional care that we both received.

--Barbara Borg