Ocala, FL (September 11, 2012) – Bruce Ekstrom of Tuigpaarden Farms in Ocala, Florida and Hackney Hill Farm in Shelbyville, Kentucky is well known for his philanthropic contributions to the equine community, and he has demonstrated a special affinity for therapeutic riding programs particular. Ekstrom recently donated Hemi, a sleek French Trotter, to the Marion County Therapeutic Riding Association when he recognized that the horse’s character and disposition would make him an excellent therapy horse. Hemi, who was imported from France, has won over a half million dollars as a roadster and driving horse.
The French Trotter is the equivalent to the USTA’s Standardbred, and Ekstrom purchased Hemi to be his personal road horse as the gelding possessed exceptional speed, elegance and intelligence: all the qualities for an ideal competitive driving horse. A previous owner changed the horse’s name to Hemi, which is a very powerful type of engine, to reflect his power and brilliance. The decision to reschool Hemi and donate him to the Marion County Therapeutic Riding Association was based on the horse’s love of people and intuitive sense for recognizing confidence or insecurity in those around him. “Hemi has an excellent disposition, but he is also able to read people’s energy,” said Ekstrom. “Because of this I knew he would excel as a therapy horse and began to school him under saddle for this purpose. He’s simply an exceptional horse, and when he has finished his job at the Therapeutic Riding center, he will come back to my farm for his retirement.”
Sullivan, OH (August 2, 2012) – Bruce Ekstrom of Tuigpaarden Farms in Ocala, Florida and Hackney Hill Farm in Shelbyville, Kentucky will join Lana Sneddon and Holland’s Rene’ van der Kuil as the inspection jury for the American Dutch Harness Horse keuring at Windy Knolls Farm in Sullivan, Ohio. Ekstrom’s 53 years of breeding, training, and showing, along with his lifelong study of conformation and the effects of conformation on performance, will serve him well in his role on the inspection jury. The keuring is a way to approve a horse for breeding in the North American Department of the Royal Warmblood Studbook of the Netherlands, or KWPN. The keuring will take place at Windy Knolls Farm on August 3, 2012.
The inspection jury will use their combined expertise to appraise horses from weanlings to mature horses to determine their suitability for breeding and as representatives of the breed. “The American Dutch Harness Horse keuring is an excellent way to promote the breed and maintain the standard of quality,” said Ekstrom. “It is an athletic breed and their unique qualities need to be preserved through careful breeding standards.”
Loxahatchee, FL (April 30, 2012) – When Bruce Ekstrom of Tuigpaarden Farm received the call from Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center asking him to judge the Special Olympics, the accomplished horseman wasted no time in reorganizing his schedule and changing his flights so that he could adjudicate the event. The decorated trainer has racked up wins across the country and can normally be found at one of his two training centers either in Shelbyville, Kentucky or Ocala, Florida, but Ekstrom admits there is no place he’d rather be than supporting therapeutic riding centers like Vinceremos. The opportunity to act as a judge for the Special Olympics was not something he was willing to let pass by.
The Special Olympics took place in the Vinceremos covered arena on Sunday, April 1st, and included riders ranging in all age groups and backgrounds. “I had a phenomenal time as the judge for the Special Olympics,” said Ekstrom. “These programs are so important to our community and to the people who participate in them. The value of equestrian therapy in settings such as Vinceremos is immeasurable, and I am always ready to lend support and promote these events, be it any chance I get! The facility is beautiful, the staff is amazing with their knowledge, and then add to this the kind, wonderful horses. I believe it to be a very positive situation for all involved.”