Canada’s history is intertwined with horses, which toiled in farmer’s fields and cities to help build the country. Horses are also an integral part of First Nations from coast to coast.
One prairie province has decided to give the horse its due, and the Saskatchewan Horse Federation Hall of Fame was founded in 2019. The initiative hails from the Saskatchewan Horse Federation (SHF) to honor the province’s horse and humans who have added to the “growth and awareness of the role horses played in the province’s culture, agriculture, industry, and sport.”
Inductees are selected each year from soliciting nominations from the community. These include people or horses who have made contributions to equine or equestrian activity, including breeding and First Nations Culture in Saskatchewan’s history, as well as those involved in equestrian sports. The SHF Hall of Fame also recognizes horses of any breed or lineage for its “significant contributions to the province’s cultural history, impact on agriculture or successes in equestrian sports.”
In a recent article, SHF executive president Greg Laroque acknowledged that due to the pandemic, promoting the Hall of Fame has been a challenge and therefore not many people know it exists. “We’re trying to make sure we’re exposing ourselves and our members to the general public,” he told the Regina Leader-Post.
The 2022 inductees were Dr. Hugh G.G. Townsend, a veterinarian and world-renowned expert on equine vaccines and their efficacy. According to the Hall of Fame website, “He devoted most of his career to the development, evaluation and improvement of equine vaccines and performed seminal studies to demonstrate vaccine efficacy at both the WCVM and the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO). As an advocate, Hugh worked closely with the horse industry and helped raise millions of dollars supporting the WCVM Townsend Equine Health Research Fund — renamed in his honor in 2015.”
Also inducted in the ceremony was Percheron breeder Mort Seaman. “In the early 1980’s, Morton purchased his first team of purebred Percheron mares,” reads the bio. “Since then, each summer, Mort would have a string of Percherons ready to show at many local fairs, and did so for over 30 years. ‘Morton Seaman & Family’ made many appearances at Agribition where he received many honours, one of which being the Supreme Champion Stallion.” Townsend and Seaman were inducted on March 17, 2023.
Other inductees include Olympic three-day-eventer Robin Hahn, champion Quarter Horse stallion The Jewel Snipper, Equestrian Canada Judge and steward Lil Williamson, and chuckwagon racer Raymond Mitsuing. See all the SHF Hall of Fame inductees here.