AEF’s Annual Provincial Awards honour outstanding deserving members’ achievements within Alberta’s equine community. These awards acknowledge those who not only excel but have made a positive impact.

Every year we take this opportunity to recognize hard-working individuals, facilities, athletes, and horses that have gone above and beyond to make the equestrian community a truly special place.

Nominations are submitted by peers in the fall and the selection committee reviews every submission thoroughly.

Congratulations to the 2022 winners:

Outstanding Stable/Facility: Equine Haven Recovery Care and Equestrian Centre Ltd.
Outstanding Horse: NightWind’s Indigo Bey, and owner, Colleen DeVry
Outstanding Instructor/Coach: Lisa Denyer
Outstanding Equine Personnel: Judy Robertson
Sportsmanship Excellence: Savannah Hanson
Outstanding Volunteer: Kathy Marston
Above & Beyond Excellence: Jamee DeWit

For the first time in three years the Annual Award recipients will be celebrated in person during the AEF’s Stride With Us gala and banquet on March 18 at the Holiday Inn and Suites Calgary South Convention Center.

The Annual Awards would not be possible without our amazing community, members, volunteers, board, staff, and Annual Award partners Acera Insurance. We sincerely thank you for your commitment and ongoing support to the Alberta equestrian community.

Outstanding Stable/Facility

Winner: Equine Haven Recovery Care & Equestrian Centre Ltd.

The recipient of this award is a current stable/facility member of the AEF. They uphold the highest standard of horse care and welfare at all times in and around their property. Safety of horse and rider is always the number one priority. Maintenance and upkeep of the stable/facility is impeccable. They treat their clients with the utmost respect and communicate in a clear and appropriate manner. They employ knowledgeable staff and foster a safe and positive environment. They apply fair business ethics, ideal risk management protocols and exemplify best practices for riding and horse care. Their property is clean and safe for both horse and rider, and adheres to biosecurity protocols. The recipient of this award is being recognized for demonstrating excellence in horse welfare, and providing an outstanding environment.

From the nomination:

The team at Equine Haven Recovery Care and Equestrian Centre are extremely well organized, diligent, and knowledgeable. Many equine recovery cases have come in with seemingly no hope and have fully recovered to be healthy and happy horses. Stable owners Sadie and Heidi take the best care possible of every horse on their property and strive to continually improve the facility. They truly want their horse and rider teams to develop long-lasting relationships. Equine Haven Recovery Care and Equestrian Centre is a safe place for horses and their humans to learn, grow and laugh.

Outstanding Horse

Winner: NightWind’s Indigo Bey, and owner Colleen DeVry

This award is a designation given to an equine (horse, pony, donkey, or mule) regardless of age, who has accomplished an extraordinary achievement within their respective discipline/activity. This equine has made a significant impact on the community by doing something “above and beyond,” or has overcome many challenges in a particular situation. The recipient does not necessarily need to be involved in competition. It may be a school horse who has made an impact on many riders’ lives in a special way or accomplished an incredible goal, overcome incredible odds, stood out from other equines, or achieved top results in competition. The equine must reside in Alberta at the time of nomination.

From the nomination:

NightWind’s Indigo Bey, known as Indi, is a truly exceptional horse. In 2018 Indi and his owner, Colleen were chosen to represent Canada at the World Equestrian Games in North Carolina in the sport of endurance racing —a very high honour for any horse and rider team. Throughout his 15 years as a competitive endurance horse, Indi earned numerous top finishes, high vet scores, and coveted Best Condition Awards.
Indi remains in top shape and form at 20 years old. Now a schoolmaster, he continually proves his patience with the littlest of beginners in weekly lessons and summer riding camps. His kind eyes and laid-back nature in the barn makes him a favourite for all who visit.

Outstanding Instructor/Coach

Winner: Lisa Denyer

The recipient of this award is a current Equestrian Canada National Certified Coach (NCCP) or instructor. This individual demonstrates exceptional ability to mentor students, leading by example and teaching in a positive and informative light. They embrace continuing education with great importance and empower others to learn and grow in a safe manner. This individual is ethical and prioritizes equine welfare and the humane treatment of horses. They continuously strive for what is best for horse and rider and value the feedback of others. They focus on the complete development of their athletes (both horse and rider) at all times. Nominees are recognized for their contribution to equine sport and activity as an instructor/coach, whether their students are recreational or competitive.

From the nomination:

Lisa is a kind instructor who excels at teaching. She understands all levels of riders – from students competing at beginner schooling shows, to those aiming for Spruce Meadows.

In addition to being an NCCP certified coach, Lisa is an equine first aid instructor and Wild Rose horse show judge, seeking her Equestrian Canada judging designation. Lisa’s dedication to the equine sport is evident. She is continually looking for new ways to expand her knowledge and education in the industry to better help her clients and their horses. Watching her interact and teach is truly magical; she really loves what she does!

Outstanding Equine Personnel

Winner: Judy Robertson

This individual has consistently supported equine and human athletes alike and the care and welfare of equines in general. They are vital to the success of a stable (facility) and/or horse and rider team; they are reliable, supportive, professional, positive, and knowledgeable in their role. They display the utmost respect for keeping equines healthy and happy at all times. They are proactive and educated in the horse industry. They are a joy to have around the barn and/or competition; without this individual the facility or event(s) would not run the same. Recipients in this category may hold positions such as groom, stable-hand, farrier, massage therapist, veterinarian, etc. They are recognized for their contributions to the overall success of the community by demonstrating extraordinary horsemanship or horse industry skills.

From the nomination:

Anyone who has ever boarded, taken lessons, or visited the Whitemud Equine Learning Centre has most likely met Judy. Judy is a staff member at Whitemud and has been for more than 35 years! That alone speaks to her dedication to the horses and people she has looked after all these years. The health and welfare of all the horses, be it a lesson or boarder’s horse, is her top priority. Her knowledge of the horses in her care creates an environment that puts everyone at ease. While Judy is deaf, she has a heightened sense of how the horses feel. Rain or shine, she is committed to the horses and the facility; her meticulous care and attention is second to none.

Sportsmanship Excellence

Winner: Savannah Hanson

This individual’s character best exemplifies the definition of sportsmanship. Their conduct and attitude benefit all participants in sport. They value fair play, exhibit courteous behaviour, put the horse’s welfare first, and show a determined spirit and graciousness in victory or defeat. The individual maintains a positive attitude while showing support for fellow riders. They treat officials and competitors with respect, even when faced with challenging outcomes. They demonstrate cooperation and respect in dealing with their instructor/coach. This recipient is committed to “doing what is right”. They are selfless and committed to positive overall performance whether individually or as part of a team.

From the nomination:

Whether in the barn, arena, or out on the endurance trail, Savannah is a leader and a model competitor. At Savannah’s young age, she is an example for all competitors, making sure the welfare of the horse, the thrill of the ride, and the ‘to finish is to win’ motto of the Endurance Riders of Alberta is instilled into the hearts of all riders. Savannah leads by example and ensures that no matter how she finished the race, everyone had fun.

Savannah’s soft-spoken nature helps new and young riders feel at ease on their horse, praising them for the smallest victory and making sure there is a smile on their face at the end of their lesson. This young lady is the true picture of teamwork, kindness, and perseverance in sport.

Outstanding Volunteer

Winner: Kathy Marston

This award is designed to honour an individual who has contributed selflessly at an extraordinary level of dedication to benefit the equine industry. This individual is incredible to work with as they exude energy and approach tasks with enthusiasm, professionalism and commitment. They are reliable, positive, honest, and flexible. This individual is a team player and can breathe life into even the most mundane of tasks. They bring value to their volunteer position. The recipient does not necessarily need to be involved with equines on a regular basis, but rather may have contributed a significant impact to the equestrian community.

From the nomination:

For over 20 years Kathy has put in a tremendous amount of volunteer hours in support of several community equine organizations. She has been instrumental in organizing educational events for generations of Pony Club members in Alberta and beyond. She is a trusted source of knowledge for the National Pony Club organization when it comes to testing. Kathy has a great passion for the education of youth in the art of horsemanship and riding. She has often opened up her home to teach kids stable management, has volunteered as course designer, steward, tack check, show jumping judge, scribe, show organizer and chaperone. Kathy is great to work with and will always go above and beyond to make sure the event is a success.

Above & Beyond Excellence

Winner: Jamee DeWit

This individual demonstrates outstanding performance and has made a significant contribution to benefit the industry. They are considered an exceptional member of the equine community and demonstrate a high level of commitment, initiative, cooperation, and dedication that reinforces the values of the AEF. The recipient of this award demonstrates excellence and teamwork, and goes above and beyond expectations. The recipient does not necessarily need to be involved with horses on a regular basis, but may have contributed a significant impact to the equestrian community in Alberta.

From the nomination:

Jamee was nominated for this award by the entire Calgary Stampede Showriders team and their families. Jamee is the ultimate representation of someone who models above and beyond excellence! She has made a historical impact on the equine community in Alberta, as well as internationally, through her mentoring of the youth members of the Calgary Stampede Showriders. She has also worked with many 4-H clubs over the past 20 years, contributing to the growth of equestrian sport. Jamee is an exceptional member of the equine community and has made many significant contributions. She is an outstanding equestrian, coach, mentor, and team member who always goes “above and beyond” and helps the whole community achieve “excellence”!


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