2019 Annual Award Winners

Each year, the Wisconsin Horse Council presents awards for the Horseperson of the Year, Judge of the Year and the WHC Director of the Year at the Midwest Horse Fair®. In some years, there is also a Legislator of the Year. 2008 was the first year that nominations were accepted for the Special Achievement Award and Lifetime Achievement Award, and new in 2016, Equine of the Year was added. All of these awards will also be presented at the Midwest Horse Fair®.

Recipients of the Horseperson, Special Achievement Award and Lifetime Achievement Award are nominated by the public and voted on by the WHC Board of Directors. The WHC Director of the Year and Legislator of the Year are nominated and voted on by the Board of Directors. The Judge of the Year is an annual award given by the Wisconsin Horse Council and is based on a person’s contributions to Wisconsin’s equine industry as a judge.  The winner is chosen by past, active Judges of the Year and is presented at an Awards Ceremony held at the Midwest Horse Fair®. The Equine of the Year candidates are submitted by members in each district to their District President and appointed district members chose a winner. The winner from each district is then sent to the WHC Board of Directors and a final WHC Equine of the Year is chosen.

CONGRATULATIONS 2019 WHC ANNUAL AWARD WINNERS!

Director of the Year - Pat Miller
Equine of the Year - Choke owned by T.J. Clibborn of WHC District 4
Horseperson of the Year - Terry Kluever
Lifetime Achievement - Robert Housel, Ron Miller and Wes & Jane Licht
Special Achievement - Dr. Anne Clary and Friends of Gov. Dodge Equestrians
Show Judge of the Year - Sara Gronski

These people and horse were recognized at the WHC Awards Ceremony that was held at the Midwest Horse Fair in the Coliseum on Sunday, April 14th..  Please join us in applauding these people and horse for the contributions they have made to our equine industry in Wisconsin.

Do you know someone who deserves to be nominated for recognition for their work in our equine industry?  Check out the WHC Awards Program on our web site www.wisconsinhorsecouncil.org.

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PAT MILLER - 2019 WHC DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR

In 2003, Pat Miller became a Member of the Wisconsin Horse Council (WHC) Board of Directors as a representative for her business, Pat’s Chaps.  Currently, she serves as the co-chair of the WHC Championship Challenge Committee, a program for equestrians competing for top honors in open shows and also is chairman of the WHC Awards Committee.  Since 2008, she has been a member of the Midwest Horse Fair Board and chairperson of it for the last 4 years.  During her years on the MHF Board, the Midwest Horse Fair has risen as a national leader in equine expos and has enjoyed an increase in financial success as well as production excellence.  As a volunteer, Pat committed a lot of her personal time, along with other Board members, in guiding this important WHC asset through various difficulties and enjoying the successes of their hard work.  Pat is very deserving of this recognition.

Wisconsin Horse Council is pleased to present the 2019 WHC Director of the Year award to Pat Miller.

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CHOKE - 2019 WHC EQUINE OF THE YEAR

T.J. Clibborn was given Choke as a computer draw to compete in the Madison Extreme Mustang Challenge Makeover in 2009. After 90 days of training, Choke went on to be one of the top ten finalists in the competition. She also won the colts division of the Extreme Cowboy competition in Belvidere, Illinois. Choke was an area divisional champion of America’s favorite trail horse in Wisconsin. When she competed in Texas at the America’s Favorite Trail Horse event, she finished second out of 100 horses.

TJ and Choke have given many demonstrations all over the state, even appearing at Career Days in Sun Prairie in 2017 to give children an idea of what an equine career might be like. In Atlanta, Choke also gave rides to children who had never touched a horse. Choke and TJ have even been Salvation Army bell ringers.

Choke is a great example of a great equine ambassador!  Wisconsin is pleased to present the Equine of the Year award to Choke and TJ.

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TERRY KLUEVER - 2019 HORSEPERSON OF THE YEAR

Having the title Horse Person of the Year means you need to be a staple to the horse community. Terry is a quiet watcher on the fence, a conversation waiting to happen with whomever will stand still long enough, and a man of his word. Terry has participated in events across the country ranging from the Quarter Horse Congress to local fun shows. Terry is educated with extreme diversity of breeds, disciplines and levels of competition. He holds WHC and WI 4-H judging cards. He helps local clubs and national organizations raise funds for projects.

Terry loves to educate.  You’ll never have to ask Terry to help kids; he teaches them without stressing them. After all, it’s supposed to be fun! His kindness and sincerity extend well beyond the horse community. If Terry had his way, he would adopt every dog, donkey, or child in need of a home. The man would donate a kidney if you needed one; in fact, he actually did that!

Wisconsin Horse Council is pleased to recognize Terry Kluever as Horse Person of the Year.

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ROBERT HOUSEL - 2019 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Bob Housel has been an active committee member of the Heart of the North Rodeo for over 50 years. He was voted Committee Person of the Year in 2000 and has been a rodeo delegate at the National Finals Rodeo for 28 years. He serves on several committees including Animal Welfare and Exceptional Rodeo (an event for children with special needs).

Bob’s commitment to the industry is evidenced by the fact he has organized and worked at the local 4-H horse shows for over 37 years and has managed the trail class at the state 4-H show for 20 years. Bob also has helped organize and worked at the state 4-H tack sale at Midwest Horse Fair.

Bob has fostered a strong and growing horse industry in both his local area and at the state level. He  is a very deserving recipient of the Wisconsin Horse Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

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RON MILLER - 2019 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Ron Miller’s nomination for a Lifetime Achievement Award chronicles an unbelievable life as a horseman and mentor/teacher.  It is obvious from his many accomplishments that he must have 2 or 3 clones to have done so much and been so many things to so many people.  His career as a public school teacher prepared him well for his personal career of showing and judging horses and encouraging the future of our industry – the youth.  His commitment to excellence and fairness has meant positive experiences for every young person as well as every adult who has been fortunate enough to meet him in the show ring, Junior Judge with him, ring steward for him, learn from him, and strive for the same qualities he preaches.  Over and over you hear stories of how his mentoring, common sense, and just plain good manners have made a turning-point difference in many lives.

Ron pursued his equestrian life in the Quarter horse world.  He is a very active member of the Wisconsin Quarter Horse Association (WQHA) as well as the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and spent most of the past 40 years as either a director or officer in WQHA.  During the 80’s, he was the WQHA Futurity Secretary and Wisconsin had one of the most successful futurities in the country during that time.  He served as the AQHA Region 3 show manager and committee chair for 5 years and it built up to be the largest in the country.  He holds judging cards in several different horse organizations.  For many years, Ron has been serving as the WQHA representative on the Wisconsin Horse Council Board of Directors (WHC), serving as the WHC treasurer for 20+ years and co-chairing the Judges and Championship Challenge committees.  WHC appreciates his dedicated attention to managing the complex finances of its organization and offering his sound, reasonable advice on many issues.

Ron’s wife, Pat, says that one of his best attributes is that he is genuinely happy when he sees people succeed whom he has competed against or has mentored.  He gets many calls every year asking for advice from people who just started judging and he is always ready to help.  According to Pat, “Ron really believes that showing is about simply improving yourself, not trying to beat someone else.” 

Wisconsin Horse Council is pleased to recognize this powerhouse in our horse industry and present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Ron Miller.

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WES & JANE LICHT - 2019 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Wisconsin is very fortunate to have Wes and Jane Licht as ambassadors in the world of horses.  Over the years they have generously given their time and talents to aid and encourage the sport of carriage driving.   

Wes and Jane were founding members of Dairyland Driving Club where Wes served as president and Jane was on the board of directors and served as club webmaster, newsletter editor and photographer.  Back in the 1980’s and 90’s, they set up the first Dairyland booths at the early Midwest Horse Fairs and organized the club’s driving demonstrations in the Coliseum. Wes and Jane also helped organize the first Dairyland Driving Club youth camp where club leaders mentored young drivers to learn proper skills in correct harnessing and hitching with an emphasis on safety.    At other Dairyland clinics, Wes has used his horses to introduce novices to pair driving, obstacle driving and training procedures.  While driving mostly singles and pairs, for the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial in 1998, Wes drove his four-in-hand at the Midwest Horse Fair and in the unique Coach Run from Madison to Prairie du Chien, with stops at schools and nursing homes along the way.

Wes has always had a passion for carriage driving and for helping others in the sport.  When his daughters were young drivers he served as a local 4-H leader and for several years he was the driving clinician for Dane County 4-H youth.  He taught the youngsters how to drive safely and compete in ring classes and obstacle competition.  In 2004 and 2005, Wes was the official driving clinician at the Midwest Horse Fair sharing his knowledge and skills in teaching horses to drive.  Over the years he has also demonstrated his horse-centered approach to training at the Iowa Horse Fair and with driving clubs in Wisconsin and Minnesota. 

Wes loves to compete with his horses and he mentors other drivers to successfully participate in combined driving events, carriage pleasure driving shows and distance driving competitions.   He was the co-founder of Midwest Distance Driving Association in 1997 and as president he encouraged many drivers to get involved in the new sport of distance driving.  For the Midwest Horse Fair in 2005, 2006 and 2018 Wes helped organize the Driving Derbies and he participated in these exciting events.

Wes and Jane are proud owners of Morab horses and Jane has served on the board of directors for the International Morab Breeders Association.  For many years, she has assisted with organizing the Morab breed demonstrations at the Midwest Horse Fair while Wes did the driving in interesting costumes and using various carts, carriages and in one year, a homemade chariot.  This couple has raised many Morabs on their small Rocking L Acres farm near McFarland, Wisconsin, sharing them to teach youngsters and oldsters the fine art of horsemanship and especially driving.  It was only fitting that when they recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with family and friends, that it was at the Villa Louis Carriage Classic, and Wes and Jane were driving their horse and buggy.  Congratulations to Wes and Jane Licht.  Wisconsin Horse Council is pleased to present a Lifetime Achievement Award to them.

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FRIENDS OF GOV. DODGE STATE PARK--EQUESTRIANS - 2019 SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

A Special Achievement Award for the Equestrian Committee of the Friends of Gov. Dodge State Park recognizes this group’s ambitious goal of funding and building a new equestrian campground in one of Wisconsin’s most popular state parks near the Wisconsin-Illinois border.  A permanent campground for horses and their owners was an element of the Master Plan for this park dating back to the 1980’s.  However, funding was never allotted in the State budget for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to build the proper campground for equestrians.  Today, this group of dedicated trail riders (all volunteers) has come together to work with the DNR and make this project a reality.  The monetary target was originally over $3 million dollars.  Working with the Park’s land manager, the Gov. Dodge Equestrians found a solution that is more attainable without sacrificing amenities.

The final campground plan was chosen and approved in 2018 and has 21 pull-through sites appropriate for both large and small trailers with electric and a price tag of $650,000.  The Equestrian Committee organized formally in 2015 and began a capital campaign in 2018 with various fund-raisers, grant writing, and soliciting donations.  Since June 2018, the group has raised close to $200,000.  A raffle with incredible prizes was just completed with the drawing held at this year’s Midwest Horse Fair.  Fund-raising events continue. 

The improved campground will be an attraction for trail riders well into the future.  Trail riding is the number one horse activity in Wisconsin.  Once this project is completed, it will ensure a place to camp and ride for generations to come and contribute to the economic impact of the horse industry in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Horse Council is pleased to recognize the dedication and hard work of this group with a Special Achievement Award.

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DR. ANNE CLARY - 2019 SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Wisconsin Horse Council is presenting a Special Achievement Award to Dr. Anne Clary for her dedicated work in the draft horse world, specifically the Percheron breed.  Dr. Clary is a licensed veterinarian and equine chiropractor.  In addition to her veterinary practice, she and her husband, Joel, own and operate a farm--breeding, raising, and showing Percherons since 1997.  One of their proudest accomplishments is breeding, raising, and training a six-horse hitch from their own herd.

Dr. Clary has taken a leadership role in the Wisconsin Draft Breeders Association, serving as the president and scheduling educational workshops by professionals to teach cart driving, equine law, halter showmanship, and draft riding to both adults and youth.  At the national level, she was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Percheron Association.  She was heavily involved with the planning and implementation of Percheron World Show.

On a personal level, Dr. Clary initiated a youth crew comprised of her 3 sons and 4 of their high school friends and taught them all the skills needed to prepare for the Percheron World Show held in October 2018.  The crew spent endless hours learning from Anne braiding, clipping, showmanship and driving techniques, team building, and problem solving.  She took her crew to draft horse shows both in-state and out-of-state to gain the experience they needed in the show ring.  Her type of teaching and mentoring young teamsters is especially vital in the draft horse world, keeping it primed and growing.

Wisconsin Horse Council is pleased to recognize the work and accomplishments of Dr. Anne Clary with a Special Achievement Award.

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SARA GRONSKI - 2019 SHOW JUDGE OF THE YEAR

The WHC Judge of the Year is just the person you want to see standing in the middle of the pen when you go to a show. Sara is fair, friendly, moves the show along with precision and is always professional in and out of the arena.

Sara is especially good with kids who need a confidence boost. She works with kids to communicate better with their horses so they feel less frustrated when in a difficult situation. Sara is hard-working, ethical, generous, and represents the WHC very well.

Wisconsin Horse Council is pleased to present this award to Sara Gronski.

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