On January 24, over 150 MHSA members and other horse enthusiasts met at the Peachtree Banquet Center in Columbia, MO for the annual MHSA Celebration of Champions.  The morning led off with updates by representatives from the Hunter and Jumper disciplines, Dressage and Eventing disciplines, and the Saddle, Stock Seat and Driving disciplines on rule changes, legislative proposals, and other issues of concern for MHSA members in particular and the equestrian world at large.

Judy Werner, recent recipient of the USEF Jimmy Williams Lifetime Achievement Award, then spoke to the entire crowd, stressing the need for horse enthusiasts of all disciplines to join together.  Werner congratulated the MHSA for its “expand the tent” approach and noted that only by working together can we have a strong voice and successfully turn back initiatives by the ill-informed or un-informed.  The text of Werner’s speech is attached to this message.  An interview of her by Trevor Harris of the National Public Radio’s KBIA (91.3 FM) is also archived on that station’s website.

Other highlights of the festivities include presentation of the MHSA Youth Member Service Award to Cheyenne Gardi for her work in promoting the MHSA Stock Seat Medallion Finals; the MHSA Young Professional Award to Kris Wallace for her tireless support of the MHSA through her students who ride in all MHSA disciplines; the MHSA Horseperson of the Year Award to Gayle Lampe, for her promotion of equestrian activities throughout the world, and particularly through educating young people at William Woods University, and the Jeff Shikles Distinguished Service/Lifetime Achievement Award to Sarah and Landon Rowland for their support of the horse business in the Midwest, including their support, through gifts of time, talent and treasure, of the UPHA American Royal Horse Show and William Woods University.

The day wrapped with the presentation of gorgeous awards to members who competed throughout 2014 to ultimately be named Champions.  The awards booklet, produced by the design team of Stacy Wright (MHSA President Elect and Point Secretary), Sue Webster (Membership and Point Secretary), and Linda Puyear (Design Coordinator) is also attached to this message, and is available for download from the MHSA website.

Sue Webster for Janet Thompson, President