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2011 Lifetime Achievement Awards - Dr. Leonard Blach and Sallie Pennybacker
2010 Horseman of the Year - John Collins
2009 Lifetime Achievement Awards - Dick Hensleigh and Eldon Reyer
2008 Horseman of the Year - Carolyn Bader
2007 Horsewoman of the Year - Val Cole
2006 Lifetime Achievement Award - Blair Darnell
2005 Horsewoman of the Year - Suzanne Norton Jones
2004 Horsewoman of the Year - Elsie Shollenbarger
2003 Horsewoman of the Year - Melanie Scholer
2002 Horsewoman of the Year - Karen Reyer
Rusty Cook has always loved horses and has owned, bred, raised and showed them since 1973. She has ridden in many local and regional shows, and her horses have winning records in many disciplines. Horses she raised have won honors at local, regional and national levels. After retiring from her first career (as a high school biology teacher), she embarked on a second career as a US Equestrian Federation Licensed Official. She is a Steward for many breeds and disciplines, a Dressage Technical Delegate and an FEI Dressage Steward. She has officiated at horse shows from coast to coast.
Rusty has been show manager for the
Zia Classic and Spring Fever Arabian horse shows in
Rusty has worked on Horse Council projects for many years, beginning with her creation of the NMHC web site when the Board needed to move into the modern era. NMHC no longer leased physical “office space” when we relinquished La Boca Negra Park, and the website and telephone were necessary to communicate with our members and others. Rusty has been a member of NMHC for ten years (she and her husband Martin are now both individual lifetime members), was appointed to a vacant Board position in 2005, and elected by the membership to the Board in 2006. Directors elected her President in 2007, a position she holds through this day.
As President, Rusty has participated fully in Board projects and guided events beginning with a “Horses in Action” day in 2008, the annual state fair booth, lobbying during the NM legislative session, and doing outreach with other groups, all of which increase the stature of the Council and help horses in general. She has also shaped fundraisers (since the Council’s sources of income are fundraisers, member dues, and donations) to help the treasury. As President, in addition to running the monthly Board meetings she represents the Council to various City, State and even national groups. And when energy fades, as it does in volunteer groups, she can be counted on to step up. Her perspective is always geared towards the horse, its owners, and a successful horse industry.
For years, horse owners nationally have grappled with a declining economy and increasing numbers of “unwanted” horses and what to do about them. The NMHC Board, again facilitated by Rusty Cook, moved ahead with a survey of membership and has successfully weathered the results. The results reached the national press, including several interviews with reporters in the print and television media. It is a measure of her success that the Council’s views were accurately quoted.
The members are extremely
reluctantly, but overwhelmingly, in favor of horse slaughter as a means to
reduce the numbers and make the remaining population “wanted”. They are also facing the necessity to help
with other means, including education, gelding assistance, and perhaps
eventually euthanasia assistance. Rusty
Cook wrote an excellent article for the New Mexico Stockman magazine's September 2012 issue explaining the subject. And this also brings the Horse Council and
horse owners closer to other stock owners, helping to support our view that
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Dr. Leonard Blach
Dr. Leonard Blach - “In recognition of a lifetime of dedication to horses and to the New Mexico horse industry. An original founder of the New Mexico Horse Council, he advocates uniting horse owners for the benefit of all equine interests. He has greatly advanced equine surgery and reproduction as a veterinarian and horse breeder. His induction into the Race Horse Hall of Fame, and his Triple Crown campaign with Mine That Bird in 2009, brought New Mexico horse racing to national attention. His involvement with 4-H groups and fairs shows his dedication to youth and their horses. He is a true asset to New Mexico.”
2011 Special Lifetime Achievement Award (Posthumus)
Sallie Pennybacker - “In appreciation of her activities with New Mexico horse groups, including helping to found the New Mexico Horse Council and serving often as director and officer; forming New Mexico Horseways, a trails advocacy group; publishing The Horsemen’s Voice beginning in 1982 and continuing for seventeen years; supporting and promoting the Rio Grande Horse Association and the New Mexico Hunter Jumper Association; helping to manage the Lions’ Club and Saddlebred Charity Horse Shows; and providing a home for the Albuquerque Vaulters and the Cloud Dancers Therapeutic Riding Program. She truly cared for the horses and riders of New Mexico.”
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2010 Horseman of the Year
From the beginning, this award was created to reward volunteer dedication to improving all aspects of the world of horses. The horse person may be a professional, but goes outside the scope of the profession to increase awareness of horses and raise the visibility of horse activities.
As a boy, John helped at his grandfather’s farm in all aspects of caring for and, later, training and exercising horses. He was also an athlete who excelled at school sports. This was followed by high school, college and an army career. Working at VA hospitals, he started several programs that are still used today, and is only the fourth Physician Assistant to reach the rank of full colonel.
Although he had spent thirty years away from the horse world, after marrying DJ in 1993 they both purchased horses. DJ specialized in jumping, dressage and English riding; John did competitive trail and endurance. Army duties filled a large part of his life after 2001, but they found time to build Cherry Tree Farm and manage 20+ horses. John also found time to take many clinics to improve his riding and ground handling skills.
He joined NM Dressage Association six years ago and has helped that group gain members and grow far more active. He and DJ have volunteered to host several shows and clinics each year since then, bringing in national experts. He will assume the office of President of NMDA in 2011.
John Collins joined the Horse Council two years ago and is now a lifetime individual member. He became one of the reliable go-to people, organizing the Annual Meeting dinner including extensive research choosing the venue, more extensive investigation of awards, and soliciting donations. He currently holds the position of vice-President.
He and DJ also managed the Horse Emporium for the Council this year. He donated Cherry Tree Farm as the event location, solicited items for the silent auction, created signage, created and distributed flyers, and visited every horse merchant in the central part of the state to publicize the event. (And the Emporium was a very successful fund raiser for the Horse Council.)
Most recently, he spent several days at the Horse Council booth at the Joint Stockmen’s Convention.
John is known for going out of his way to help any individual with a horse problem. He has purchased a new horse, and with his retirement from the Army this month, plans to be an active competitor.
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2009 Lifetime Achievement Awards
(presented in January 2010)
A special certificate was presented to Delbert Latham, in recognition of the many contributions he made to the equestrian community of New Mexico over many years. Delbert passed away shortly before the Awards Dinner.
2008 Horsewoman of the Year
Bader: My husband Dick and I arrived in
started training in
Our sons showed in Hunter Jumper youth classes and Quarter Horse youth activities. Later in high school they enjoyed High School Rodeo where they entered the team roping events. Both have competed through their junior years at all levels including the world shows.
I have been a
part of the horse industry in
Trainer and Instructor 1960-present
Trained 7 American Quarter Horse Association Champions, earning all points for those championships. Trained one World Champion, one Youth World Champion, one Reserve Amateur World Champion. Numerous other high placing horses and riders at World competitions. Numerous New Mexico State Champions in Open, Youth and Amateur Divisions of competitions.
Conducted and instructed Amateur and 4-H Horsemanship Clinics. Also gave two clinics in
Continuous program of private instruction in most phases of A.Q.H.A. competition and horsemanship.
Writer and subject of articles on horse training in several publications.
Owner/Manager: BaderTraining Stables, Quarter Horses
Owned and promoted many Quarter Horses, including standing stallions at Bader Training Stables.
Acted, and still acting, as agent for the purchase and sale of show quality Quarter horses.
Supervision of employees and day to day operations.Responsible for financial management.
American Quarter Horse Association
New Mexico Reining Horse Association
2007 Horsewoman of the Year
At the 2007 Annual Meeting of the New Mexico Horse Council, held January 19, 2008, Val Cole was awarded the honor of being named the Horsewoman of the Year. A nomination letter was submitted by Maura Lewiecki, and outlined the many ways in which Val has been an advocate for equestrians and equine activities in New Mexico and nationally for many years.
Val has represented equestrians on the Greater Albuquerque Recreational Trails Committee for three terms beginning in 1998. She was appointed to Governor’s Bicycle, Pedestrian and Equestrian Committee by NM State Highway & Transportation Department Secretary Pete Rahn in 1998, and the two-year appointment has been renewed as it expired, most recently in February, 2006 by NM Department of Transportation Secretary Rhonda Faught. She has served as the New Mexico delegate to the American Horse Council State Horse Council Advisory Committee (at her own expense), and served as chair from 2004 to 2006. She represented State Horse Councils at the national Unwanted Horse Summit in 2005, and has remained actively involved in the Unwanted Horse Coalition that evolved from that summit.
Val has been a member of New Mexico Horse Council for 25 years and currently serves as Treasurer. She has also been the Newsletter editor for 17 years, has worked on the Horse Fair every year, has actively lobbied on behalf of the equestrian community as a NM Horse Council member for the limited liability for trails legislation, funding for a State trails coordinator, and has been contracted to work at horse shows as paddock master and announcer in New Mexico and nationally.
Val is a thoughtful and informed equine supporter. She attends public meetings to serve as a voice for the equestrian community and then keeps everyone informed through the newsletter, or by telephone or email if immediate action is required. Through it all she has been supported by her husband who has also dedicated time, expertise, and a sense of humor to her passionate involvement.
We congratulate Val Cole as the 2007 Horsewoman of the Year!
2007 Certificate of Appreciation
NM State Parks' State Trails Planner, Jessica Terrell, was killed in a head-on collision near Farmington January 9, 2008. Jessica was full of energy and was making great inroads in the development of the state trails program. She worked closely with Tim Rogers, Bicycle/Pedestrian/Equestrian Coordinator for the New Mexico Department of Transportation, to develop local initiatives toward a greater Rio Grande Trail and other statewide trail activities. Jessica will be dearly missed.
Eldon Reyer accepted the Certificate of Appreciation for Jessica at the NMHC Annual Meeting.
First New Mexico Horse Council
Lifetime Achievement Award
2006 – Blair Darnell
At its 2006 Annual Meeting (held January 20, 2007) the New Mexico Horse Council departed from its “horse person of the year” award instituted in 2002. This year, the Board decided instead to present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Blair Darnell of Corrales.
Blair has been involved with horses since she was a very small child. For over fifty years, many horse owners, their children and their horses have benefited from Casey and Blair Darnell’s time and expertise. She has helped the Rio Grande Horse Association, Bernalillo County 4-H Horse Program, New Mexico Quarter Horse Association and the American Quarter Horse Association (where she has been appointed director emeritus), horse racing and breeding (including a runner in the 1994 Kentucky Derby), and of course has been involved with the New Mexico Horse Council since 1970. After Casey’s death in 2001, she promised to slow down a bit – and there are fewer horses in residence at Alamo Farm in Corrales. But in presenting the award, Elsie Shollenbarger spoke of her “imprint” on every part of the horse community. And she also said people kept finding Blair involved in many other activities – art, archaeology, music, education, travel. In all these areas Blair has made a difference.
Several members of Blair’s family were present to see her receive the award.
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