Famous People and the Horses They Love: William Shatner, by Claire Dorotik

There are few who wouldn’t recognize William Shatner for his portrayal of James T. Kirk, captain of USS Enterprise in the science fiction television series Star Trek, the following animated series, or the seven subsequent Star Trek films.

However, Shatner’s roles expand far beyond Star Trek. He also played the veteran police sergeant T. J. Hooker, and hosted the reality-based television series, Rescue 911, which won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite New TV Dramatic Series. Following that, Shatner starred as attorney Danny Crane in the television dramas The Practice and its spin-off Boston Legal, for which he won two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award.

While Shatner is nothing short of an icon for many, for those in the horse world, he is best known as an activist. Since 1990, Shatner has been the driving force behind the Hollywood Charity Horse Show, which raises money for several different children’s charities, especially those that help handicapped children through riding horses — a project dear to Shatner’s heart.

For this reason, Shatner and his wife Elizabeth established the Therapeutic Riding Consortium Endowment for Israel with the help of the Jewish National Fund in 2006 to benefit programs for children of various ethnicities throughout Israel. It was during his time in Israel that Shatner learned the Hebrew phrase “Sussim osim nissim,” meaning “horses make miracles.”

Since 1990, he has been a leading force behind the Hollywood Charity Horse Show, which is a favorite event for many Los Angeles natives and usually well attended as Shatner brings in various celebrities, such as Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, and Randy Travis, to raise money for children’s charities.

But Shatner doesn’t just watch horses. He also enjoys breeding and showing American Saddlebred and Quarter Horses, and owns a 360 acre farm near Versailles Kentucky, named Belle Reve (from the French beau rève, “Beautiful Dream.” His champion American Saddlebreds include Call Me Ringo, Revival, and Sultan’s Great Day. Secondarily, the farm’s activities also support the Central Kentucky Riding for Hope “Horses for Heroes” program.

A serious competitor in reining, Shatner was named Pacific Coast Year End Horse of the Year All-Around Amateur in reining in 2009. The following year he participated in the opening ceremonies of the FEI World Equestrian Games at Kentucky Horse Park with Call Me Ringo, a son of Sultan’s Great Day that he bred himself. In 2010 artist Katherine Bogucki sculpted Call Me Ringo for Stone Model Horses.

Shatner, always looking for opportunities to spend time with his horses, is able to sum up his passion for them in one sentence: “Riding a horse is freedom, love, and a connection with nature.”

For more information about the Hollywood Charity Horse Show, visit: http://www.horseshow.org/.

To watch a video about William Shatner’s Hollywood Charity Horse Show, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjQFFxrX8iA.

Claire Dorotik LMFT

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