Four noteworthy Ontario equestrians were celebrated at the Can-Am All Breeds Equine Expo on Friday, April 3 during a ceremony that saw three new inductees into the Hall of Fame and the presentation of a special environmental award.
The Ontario Equestrian Federation would like to congratulate the following individuals on their exemplary achievements:
Kathy Fremes – Can-Am/Just Add Horses Environmental Award
Kathy Fremes was the recipient of the Can-Am/Just Add Horses Environmental Award for her commitment to minimizing the impact of Country Hill Equestrian Centre, the stable she manages in Goodwood, ON. When the 30-acre parcel of land was purchased in 1988, it was badly eroded and the runoff from the paddock flowed east to a protected pristine stream. Setting out to rectify the environmental damage being done, Fremes changed the grade of the land to create swales and buffer zones and added a holding pond for runoff.
When the Nutrient Management Act came into effect, her farm was recognized for its unique down-gravity manure storage that met all the regulations. It was a noteworthy achievement because Fremes had her manure storage plan in place before the act was passed. In fact, the design became a prototype for other farm owners and it also earned her the prestigious 2009 Just Add Horses Environmental Award of Excellence.
Her commitment to the environment started at home, but when Fremes was elected on the board of the Ontario Equestrian Federation she became its environmental point person, sitting on the newly formed Healthy Lands for Healthy Horses Committee. The committee developed workshops for horse farm owners and toured the province teaching environmental practices, encouraging them to do an Environmental Farm Plan.
In 2010, Equine Guelph invited Fremes to instruct its Management of the Equine Environment, an online course offered by the University of Guelph. Each year 60 or more students learn how to better manage horse properties. A subsequent course, Stewardship of the Equine Environment, was developed in which Country Hill is featured as a case study on manure management.
Hall of Fame Inductees
Bruce Brown was a horseman all of his life and dedicated his time to improving and serving the horse community. He was a director of the Ontario Equestrian Federation for many years, was a zone rep for the Trillium Hunter Jumper Association and one of the founding members of the Trillium Circuit. He was also a founding member of the Association of Riding Establishments on Ontario, a precursor to the OEF’s Horse Facilities Advisory Council, which was created to serve riding establishments and create safe environments for people to learn to ride.
Over the course of his life, Brown owned and operated riding facilities catering to many disciplines of horseback riding. He was involved with every facet of the equine industry, including Western, trail riding, Hunter/Jumper, Eventing, Dressage and Canadian Pony Club, to mention a few.
Brown passed away on March 17 but was thrilled to know that his life’s work was being acknowledged by Can-Am.
Greg Reeves and his family helped to establish international recognition of the Morgan breed in Canada.
The Reeves family became Morgan owners in 1966 with the arrival of the colt ‘Hippothous’ and Chestnut Hill Morgans was created. Reeves was an avid competitor and successfully showed the family’s horses to wins in a variety of classes, including Saddle Seat, Western Pleasure, Trail and Pleasure Driving. That experience served him well when he became a judge of Morgan horses. He also held his Saddlebred and Arabian judging cards and was known as a fair, impartial judge who enjoyed his job.
Reeves was competitive; he didn’t like to lose but he was always gracious and losing a class just made him work harder next time. He wasn’t just a rider, but a trainer who always sought out the solution to help his horse become better. He attended clinics and gave clinics, often without charging for his time. He donated his time and talent to many events for the Ontario Morgan Horse Club, Canadian Morgan Horse Association and the Quarter Horse Association.
The equine community lost a great horseman when Reeves passed away at the age of 54 on Nov. 12, 2014.
As a competitor, Tom Gayford had the distinction of being part of the first father-son combination to compete internationally on the same team when he rode alongside his father, Major Gayford.
The junior Gayford rode for Canada at the 1952 and 1960 Olympics as a member of the Canadian Eventing Team. He went on to become a member of the Canadian Show Jumping team that brought home gold at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. His impressive competitive resume also includes riding on the gold medal team at the 1970 World Show Jumping Championships.
In 1972, Gayford retired from international competition started coaching the Canadian Show Jumping Team. From 1978 to 1996 he served as the team’s chef d’equipe. Under his watch, Canada took home team silver at the 1979 Pan American Games and gold at the 1980 Alternate Olympics in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Gayford was also at the helm for countless Nations Cups victories, as well as the 1984 World Cup Final win by Mario Deslauriers and Gail Greenough’s historic achievement of being the first woman to win the World Championship title in 1986.
The Ontario Equestrian Federation would like to congratulate the 2015 inductees and award winners, as well as their families. Past Can-Am Hall of Fame inductees include Peter Cameron, Aidan Finn, James Elder, Brian Herbinson, John Rumble, Gayle Ecker, Jennifer Anstey and the Carter Family.