Farm History

 

Seelster Farms was established in 1969 by Frank and Gerarda Van Bussel. Frank and Gerarda immigrated to Canada with their 12 children from Holland in 1950 and settled in Lucan, a small town just north of London, Ontario. The farm started out with one standardbred yearling filly, Luella Brogue, who was purchased from Walter Riddell of Thorndale as a riding horse for the Van Bussel children in 1958. Luella Brogue was eventually bred to Ideal Song in 1960, with the resulting foal being Sharon Song, who would in turn become one of the foundation mares of Seelster Farms' breeding program.

 

Sharon Song, along with Edgewood Bertha, who was purchased from Leroy Revington, convinced the Van Bussel family of the need for standing their own stallion, as numerous trips to Michigan and Ohio to have the mares bred were unsuccessful and time consuming.

 

In 1969, Seelster Farms stood their first stallion, Scarlet Wave p, 4, 1:59.4f ($119,621), who they had purchased from a $10,000 claimer in New York. For Scarlet Wave's first season at stud, he stood at Clayton Brock's farm in Arva, Ontario for a service fee of $300 for a live foal. The second year, Scarlet Wave was moved to Seelster Farms in Lucan and the Van Bussel's became one of the first Ontario breeders to use artificial insemination exclusively. Seelster Farms was operated at this time by Frank Van Bussel, his three sons, Gerry, Jim, and Chris and his daughter, Hubertina.

 

In 1972, Seelster Farms added their second stallion, Goodnuff p, 3, 1:59f ($235,944) to their stallion line up. Over the years, such stallions as Tarport Count, Armbro Splurge, Cold Comfort, Surge Hanover, River Rouge, Threefold, Totally Ruthless, Worthy Bowl, Cheyenne Spur, Modern Art & Apaches Fame have stood stud at the farm.

 

It was not until 1993, that Camluck p, T1:48.4 ($1,003,260) arrived at Seelster Farms. Camluck's success in the breeding shed came quick, as he produced such standouts as D M Dilinger p, 5, 1:49.3f ($1,226,789), Northern Luck p, 3, 1:49.1 ($907,974), and the Canadian Horse of The Year, Whenuwishuponastar p, 3, 1:53.4 ($578,752), all from his first crop. Camluck continues to produce numerous Ontario Sire Stake and Grand Circuit champions.

 

In 1994, Seelster Farms purchased the Forest City Yearling Sale from Susan McElroy and Doug Weldon. It was not until 2000, that some of Ontario's other leading standardbred breeding farms joined forces with Seelster Farms in owning and operating the Forest City Yearling Sale. Currently, the Forest City Yearling Sale is owned by Seelster Farms, Stonebridge Farm, Northfields Farm & Kentuckiana Farms.

 

Today, Seelster Farms is owned by Cathy Van Bussel, the wife of the late Chris Van Bussel, and her sister-in-law, Hubertina Van Boxmeer. The farm encompasses approximately 600 acres and four farms, all of which are located on the Roman Line. In addition to Camluck, the farm currently stands Artistic Fella p, 1:48f ($2,640,532), Big Jim p, 2, 1:49.1s ($1,544,580), Federal Flex 3, 1:53.3 ($840,643), Holiday Road 3, 1:52.4 ($462,200), In Conchnito 3, 1:54s ($1,084,918), Ponder p, 1:48.1 – 1:49h ($1,686,134), Santanna Blue Chip p, 2, 1:51.3 ($1,633,643), Stonebridge Regal p, 1:48.1 ($1,065,578) and Up The Credit p, 3, 1:49s ($1,161,643).  The farm currently has 85 broodmares. Yearlings produced by Seelster Farms are sold annually each fall at the Forest City Yearling Sale.