Mara Coote Freeman, 74, of Olds, Alberta, passed away suddenly April 8th, due to respiratory complications after a year-long struggle with cancer.
Mara is survived by her husband Barry, sisters Jennette and Joanne and brother Max, and will be missed as well by extended family and many friends.
In the Warmblood breeding community, Mara was well-known as a founding member of the Canadian Warmblood Horse Breeders Association, an esteemed senior judge, a pioneer into the digital world as the organization’s first webmaster, a past national and chapter director and longtime manager of the CWHBA booth at Spruce Meadows.
Mara’s volunteerism within the horse industry was legendary. She was the vice-president of the Canadian Equestrian Federation Board in charge of Breeds and Industry for six years, a founding member of the Canadian Horse Council, was responsible for getting the Horse Industry Association of Alberta up and running, served as a regional representative and Board member of International Arabian Horse Association Half and Anglo Arabian Registry, along with many other duties.
An avid world traveller, Mara operated MJ Farms since 1977, which began as an Arabian breeding operation before transitioning to Standardbreds, Trakehners and finally Warmbloods. Prior to her retirement in 2015 she was a well-loved teacher and managed the Continuing Education program for Animal Science at Olds College and their Race Track program in cooperation with Horse Racing Alberta, also sitting on that Board.
Chris Gould, CWHBA communications chair, commented, “Mara was the kind of volunteer that every organization dreams of – she always came through on her commitments, she had a creative mind full of ideas and she worked well with everyone, because her ego did not get in the way. For these reasons, she ended up on boards and committees throughout the industry; from Arabs, to EC to Warmbloods, to Racing Alberta and many more. When she was needed she was there. To top that off she had a great sense of humour, making it a pleasure to work with her. You could not ask for more.”