February 26, 2010 -- The Morgan horse breed was celebrated in Lexington, Ky., at the 2010 American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) Annual Convention, held February 17-20.
"The true measure of a successful convention is the satisfaction and feedback the board and staff hear from attendees," said AMHA Executive Director Julie M. Broadway. "By all accounts, the 2010 convention was not only successful in terms of being educational and informative, but fun, too. The convention committee did a great job with fabulous farm tours, great historical topics and some excellent present-day learning experiences. We had something for everyone."
This year's event started February 17 with a welcome party and stallion presentation at Bill and Sammi Hazen's PlayMor Farm in Lexington. Thursday morning buses were loaded to take attendees on a day-long farm tour to nearby Dragonsmeade and Saralin Morgan horse farms; Keeneland, where they toured the country's top Thoroughbred facility; and the Kentucky Horse Park. At the Annual Meeting of Members, Cindy Mugnier of Belchertown, Mass., was re-elected as AMHA president for her third term as well as a Region 1 director. Sara Foy of Kingston, N.H., was re-elected to represent Region 1 on the AMHA Board of Directors; Kathy Newcomb of Stockton, N.J., and Sharon Skelly of Byron, N.Y., were elected to serve Region 2; Linnea Sidi of Loveland, Colo., was re-elected to represent Region 9; and Bill Pettis of Linden, Calif., was re-elected for a second term to serve as Director at Large.
The AMHA/World Morgan Futurity Stallion Service Auction raised nearly $80,000, which will be distributed to the AMHA Marketing Program, World Morgan Futurity, AMHA regional horse shows and the AMHA Show Grant Program. The top-selling stallion's service went to Mizrahi for $5,800, a multi-world champion. In addition, $2,300 was raised for the American Morgan Horse Educational Charitable Trust, $2,700 will benefit the AMHA Legal Defense Fund, and $300 was raised for the youth program's charitable campaign, Justin Time for a Cure.
The event also saw special recognition given to those who have dedicated their time and devotion to the breed. Year-end awards were presented to many deserving recipients for their dedication and accomplishments in the breed in 2009. Man of the Year and Woman of the Year awards honor individuals for their continued support of the breed throughout the year. This year's honorees were Roger Barricklow of Sardinia, Ohio, and Connie Barker of Carmichael, Calif.
Nicole Nicholson of Manhattan, Ill., was awarded the Cecil Brown Memorial Sportsmanship Award, which is given to a Morgan exhibitor who has displayed outstanding sportsmanship throughout the past year.
Inducted into AMHA's Hall of Fame were Elaine Galatz of Las Vegas, Nev.; the late M. A. "Bud" Hanson of Lunenberg, Ontario, Canada; and Nancy Jewell of Post Falls, Idaho. These individuals have promoted the breed on a national level for many years.
The Breeders' Hall of Fame honored a breeder(s) who has produced Morgans that have had a significant impact on the breed. This year's honorees were Cedar Creek Farm in Perrysburg, Ohio; Tara Farm of Raleigh, N.C.; and Tennessee Valley Morgans of Knoxville, Tenn.
The Golden Reins Award is given to a Morgan professional who has a 30-year career in training or instruction. Harold Angell of Las Vegas, Nev.; Pierre Loiselle of Hemlock, Mich.; and Lynn and Kathy Peeples of Oxford, N.J., received this special recognition.
Claudia Grimes of Wooster, Ohio, was honored for her outstanding contributions to the Morgan youth program as the AMHA Youth Person of the Year.
Christine Harb of Plaistow, N.H., was the recipient of the Youth Achievement Award, which is presented to a deserving youth member for his or her commitment to the Morgan horse and community.
The Morgan International Award was given to Suzy Stafford of Bear, Del., for her competition at the world pony championship last summer.
AMHA's Professional Award, is an honor nominated by a professional's peers. This year's recipient was Steve Davis of New Haven, Vt.
Two Morgans were cited for their outstanding work with people with disabilities as the AMHA Therapy Horse of the Year. Janlees' Philharmonica and Lenawee Madonna both were honored.
AMHA will hold its 2011 convention February 23-26 at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, Mass. Founded in 1909, AMHA is a non-profit organization serving more than 50,000 Morgan horse owners, breeders, exhibitors and enthusiasts throughout the United States. AMHA serves as a parent organization to more than 100 recognized Morgan horse clubs and national service organizations. For more information, visit www.morganhorse.com.