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2024 Annual Convention & Youth Conference

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ASHBA to Honor Major Award Winners at 2023 ASHBA Annual Convention and Youth Conference

The American Saddlebred Horse and Breeders Association is excited to announce our member major awards recipients. Each award had a nomination pool submitted by our general membership and committee volunteers to be voted on by the ASHBA board. The 2022 class of ASHBA major awards will be honored at the 2023 Saddlebred Legends Gala at the Hilton Downtown Lexington, Lexington, Ky. on Feb. 18 as part of the ASHBA Annual Convention. More information regarding the ASHBA Annual Convention can be found here.

ASHBA Major Award Recipients 

Lifetime Achievement Award – Rob and Sarah Byers (Simpsonville, Kentucky)

This award honors a person for his or her lifelong contributions to the Saddlebred industry, dedication to the improvement of the breed, and support of American Saddlebred Horse and Breeders Association.

C.J. Cronan Sportsmanship Award – Rick Daigle (Fort Kent, Maine)

Recipients of this award are chosen for their sportsmanship and their contributions to the breed. Such attributes considered are participation in ASHBA programs, support of ASHBA, and contributions to the ideals of ASHBA. 

Lurline Roth Sportsmanship Award – Mary Gaylord McClean (Simpsonville, Kentucky)

Recipients of this award are chosen for their sportsmanship and contributions to the breed. Such attributes considered are participation in ASHBA programs, support of ASHBA, and contributions to the ideals of ASHBA. 

Frank Ogletree Youth Award – Lilia Shope (Alex, North Carolina)

This award honors one youth each year who has exhibited a sportsmanlike attitude throughout his or her show career. Nominees must be active ASHBA Junior Members who have demonstrated participation and achievement within the show ring, exhibited positive personal characteristics, as well as having served as true role models for their peers.

Gordon Jenkins International Award – Nealia McCracken (Hardwick, New Jersey)

This award is designed to honor a person who has gone the extra mile to introduce and promote the American Saddlebred horse to other countries.

Meritorious Service Award – Elisabeth Goth (Lexington, KY)

The Meritorious Service Award honors persons for their contributions to ASHBA on almost all levels over a long period of time. 

Paul and Dorothy Gillenwater Family Award – Brock Family (Roanoke, Virginia)

To be awarded by the ASHBA Board of Directors in recognition of the American Saddlebred as the ideal family breed, with a suitable horse and competition division for participation by each member of a family. The honoree shall be recognized for its sportsmanship and dedication as an entire family to the advancement of Saddlebreds, as amateurs and purely for the love of sport, whether for recreation, competition, breeding, or otherwise. 

Wing Commander Medal – Judy Werner (Waterloo, Illinois), Sally Jackson (Overland Park, Kansas), Joyce Webster (Hartselle, Alabama)

Individuals receive this honor for demonstrating outstanding service to ASHBA and the breed, and through their dedication, have attracted interest in the highest quality show horses of the breed, thereby contributing to advancing the popularity of American Saddlebreds to the public.

Breeders Hall of Fame – Jack and Donna Finch (Greensboro, North Carolina) and Sandra and Virgil Helm (New Bloomfield, Missouri)

This honor is bestowed upon a person(s) involved with a successful breeding operation that has made an impact on the American Saddlebred breed and industry.

Breeder of the Year – Miriam Hirshon and Burt Honaker (Wytheville, Virginia)

Recipients of this award are chosen based on a statistical analysis of their successful show performance during the entire competition year, relying on records produced by the American Saddlebred Horse & Breeders Association. 

Visit the ASHBA Major Awards page for more information pertaining to the criteria for each award.