Dr Nelson and Betty Lester
Dr. Nelson Lester was born in the City of Toronto, his father was a fireman, and kept a small flock of poultry as a hobby, competing at the first Royal Winter Fair in 1922. Nelson developed a love for animals which eventually took him to enroll in the Ontario Veterinary College at Guelph. Many summers were spent working on farms in the Lindsay area during his college years. Upon graduation in 1955, he moved to Lindsay, Ontario, and became a co-owner of a veterinarian practice. During his summers working on farms, he met a local girl named Betty Barber. For seven years they courted, and were married the year of his graduation. For over 60 years they have become quite involved with fairs and horse shows both in their local area and across Ontario.
With a special interest in horses, Nelson became a friend to many exhibitors of all breeds. He was chairman of the horse show at the Lindsay Central Exhibition and president in 1973. Betty continues to be keenly involved with the Lindsay Fair, and served as president and on the executive of the Homecraft division of the Ontario Associations of Agricultural Societies. They continue to be involved with the Fenelon Fair as well. In 1968, Dr Lester became the official veterinarian at the Royal Winter Fair Horse Show, continuing to be involved for 40 years. Nelson and Betty could be seen early in the show measuring each of the Hackney horses and ponies, Shetlands, Roadhorses, Welsh and Saddlebreds to ensure their entry in the correct class. Nelson later was on the FEI Veterinary Commission.
Initially, Nelson owned some Belgian horses, and a Hackney horse, but developed an interest in Hackney ponies, which he and son John drove for pleasure. King B was one
of their earliest ponies, followed by Blackmail and Avon Little Count. With the encouragement of Gerald Henry, Jean Smith, Glen Heath, Clare Hayes, Ralph Sadler, Dave Watkins, Don McAllister and Duane and Heather Miller, the Lesters started showing some ponies in 1992. Scott Free, Knee Pants, Uptown Brown, Albalarm Applause, Fitz's Grand Knight, Late-Nite's Party Flight, and the Shetland pony Michigan's Chief Whitecloud would win many ribbons and championships for the Lesters. Their current pony is Bonnie Dee Rocketman.
In 1990, Nelson was appointed Secretary of the Canadian Hackney Society, continuing until 2002. With the assistance of Betty and John they produced the first of five editions of the yearbook. Nelson and Betty have been great supporters of the Canadian Hackney Society, their local fairs as well as at the provincial level.
The Society takes great honour recognizing the long time support that Nelson and Betty Lester have given to the show horse industry in Ontario. (Inducted April 2018)