The accolades keep coming for Lucan, Ontario’s Seelster Farms. Not only did the longtime breeding operation win the Armstrong Breeder of the Year Award at last Saturday’s O’Brien Awards, Seelster picked up another Breeder of the Year Award the same weekend.
Equine Canada presented the 2013 Canadian Breeder of the Year Award to Seelster Farms during the 2013 Equine Canada National on February 7 in Winnipeg, MB. The EC Awards Gala was part of the 2014 Equine Canada National Convention, which took place at the Radisson Hotel Winnipeg from Feb. 5-9.
Seelster Farms has been owned and operated by the Van Bussel family for over 40 years, and has been passed down through three generations. Together, they have established a Standardbred breeding program that is regarded as one of the best in North America. The operation began with one filly in 1969, and has since grown to encompass 600 acres, four barns, 61 broodmares, and six breeding stallions.
One of their most notable stallions is Camluck. To date, he has sired over 2,000 horses, and his progeny have claimed more than $209 million in earnings. However, Camluck is just one of many successful horses produced by their breeding operation. In 2013 alone, Seelster Farms’ horses had 1925 starts, 248 wins, and brought in more than $2,149,413 in race earnings.
Seelster Farms is also widely known for its innovation and dedication to the Canadian breeding industry. It was one of the first breeding operations in Ontario to use artificial insemination exclusively. In addition, the late Chris Van Bussel (son of founder, Frank) was instrumental in the implementation of freeze branding technology, and generously gave his time and expertise as a director and president of the Canadian Standardbred Horse Society. He was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2004.
Chris’ wife, Cathy Van Bussel, sister, Hubertina Van Boxmeer, and daughter, Ann Straatman, are the current operators of the farm, and continue to uphold the family’s longstanding commitment of giving back to the Standardbred racing industry through volunteer efforts within multiple committees, boards, and associations.
“Seelster Farms wishes to thank Equine Canada for this great honour. As a third generation breeder in the Standardbred industry, it is heartwarming to know that our everyday efforts have been recognized across all breed barriers,” said Straatman.
Equine Canada is pleased to recognize the exceptional accomplishments of Seelster Farms and the many contributions the Van Bussel family have made toward the Canadian breeding industry.
(with files from Equine Canada)