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.”