Hogan Wins ZOOM Challenge

Published: June 4, 2015 09:35 am EDT

Michelle Hogan of Millar Lake, Ont. is The I Love Canadian Harness Racing Fan Club’s Zoom Photo Challenge winner for May.

We asked Fan Club members to submit photos that they felt encompassed 'Spring Fever.' Anything from mares and foals to horses playing in the mud, we wanted to see submissions that reflected the many wonderful things about springtime.

Contest officials took on the challenging task of narrowing the field to five of the best. Now it’s up to you to select your winner; vote for the photo you like best!

Hogan managed to capture a photo of Conrad Seelster enjoying a spring mud bath in his paddock on a rainy Bruce Peninsula day.

If Michelle’s name is familiar to you, you may have come across some of her artwork. Michelle’s pen and ink artwork has been featured in the Equine Jubilee Art Show in Delaware, Ohio, as well as the American Academy of Equine Art Fall Open exhibit in Georgetown, Kentucky. She was also recently featured on the Harness Racing Fan Zone.

“I am passionate about racing and find that I can still live it through my art. Being in an area where racing is not well known, I use my work to promote the industry and get people interested in visiting their local tracks,” explains Michelle. “Each summer during my studio tour, I display my racing work alongside equipment and encourage people to ask questions.”

Michelle grew up in Lynden, just down the road from Flamboro Downs. With no family ties to the industry, she had an early love for horses and found her first job as a groom for Sandra Houghton.

“I was 14 and knew very little, but she quickly taught me the basics! It was there that I met my favourite horse: Shepherd Home. He and I bonded quickly, and went through a lot together,” recalls Michelle. “As most are, he was eventually claimed, and changed hands several times before I tracked him down at Scarboro Downs in Maine and brought him home several years later.”

Michelle also worked for Obeyd Ranch (Ruth Moore) for several years, where she learned more about training and breeding farm management, and for Heath Campbell for a short time. While working for Jeff Houghton, she was introduced to Conrad Seelster. Hogan was Conrad’s groom and traveled all over Ontario with him and the Houghton family to race at different small tracks. When Conrad finally retired from racing and was finished his time with the OHHA Youth Camps, he was given to OSAS.

Michelle adopted him through OSAS and brought him home to retire. For the most part he just hangs out and keeps her paint horse company, but she does ride him a bit on the trails. “He also gives rides to local kids and just soaks up the attention. You could not find a kinder horse,” says Michelle.

Congratulations to Michelle and thank you to everyone who submitted photos including our other Zoom finalists:

  • Jennifer Clark of Ponoka, Alberta for her shot of Minettaslustforme and Vertical Horizon

  • Lianne Head of Milton, Ontario, for her shot of "Chloe" (John Bax family's dog) meets Parkhill Lancelot, colt out of Muscle Mass-Harlequin Seelster at Parkhill Stud Farm.

  • Shannon Henry of Arthur, Ontario, for her shot of Herlin (a Western Terror colt) and his two buddies.

  • Tessa MacKinnon of Souris, Prince Edward Island, for her shot of a friend with a mare and foal

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