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Morgan standing in a foggy field

AMHA Celebrates the Morgan Breed in California

March 3, 2017

Ted & Elaine Olsen, Merrihill After Hours GCH, Eric Antman & Austin Eversman with Anne Speck. (Photos © Kim Oplotnik for The Morgan Horse magazine)

Ruth Mazur  & Cathie Mendenhall conducted a Trail Seminar. Carol Fletcher, Ling Fu Wylie, Iann Fu Longenecker and Erica Eulau with Jeffrey Fetzer after their make-overs.
AMHA Registrar Erica Richard with the 2016 Professional of the Year, Stan Bodnar. Paralympian, Stefanie Putnam, gave a seminar on carriage driving.

Lots of Morgan fun and excitement took place at the 2017 American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) Convention. This annual gathering of Morgan members and enthusiasts took place February 22-25 in Riverside, California.

Some of the highlights of the three-day event included an equine clinic and visit to Rushton Stables with Gerry Rushton and Stacy Hennessy. Popular seminars included animal communicator, Lydia Hiby, leading makeup and hair stylist, Jeffrey Fetzer, and mental skills coach Linda Lehman.

“The convention was an exceptional experience for all this year," said AMHA Executive Director, Carrie Mortensen. "The venue was spectacular and everyone involved went above and beyond to make sure our attendees enjoyed themselves whether at the live clinic, during the seminars, or at the special events. I would like to formally thank everyone who made the convention such a great success, specifically the 2017 Convention Committee of Carol Fletcher, Tony Lee, Mari Sanderson, Ling Fu Wylie, and AMHA Staff Liaison, Erica Eulau.”

AMHA has changed it region structure and thus its Board of Directors, going from 17 directors to just nine in 2017. At the AMHA Annual Meeting of Members, C. A. "Tony" Lee, Kate Kirsch, and Karen Marlin were elected to represent the Eastern Region; Vicki Bennett, Kristin Breyer, and Harlan Grunden were elected to represent the Central Region; and Carol Fletcher, Mari Sanderson, and Linnea Sidi were elected to represent the Western Region. Bennett, of Royse City, Texas, was elected to serve as AMHA president.

More than $60,000 was earned at the annual AMHA/World Morgan Futurity Stallion Service Auction. The overall top-winning bids went to Graycliff Tony GCH and Dragonsmeade Axios each for $5,000. Net income following expenses from this auction will be distributed to the AMHA Marketing Program, World Morgan Futurity, AMHA regional shows, the AMHA Show Grant Program, and for marketing and promoting the breed.

Longtime Morgan supporters were recognized before the Morgan community on Saturday, February 25 for their dedication to the breed at the annual Awards Banquet. The Person of the Year Award honors an individual for his or her continued support of the breed and this year's honoree was Sally Plumley. Shanna Gish was awarded the Cecil Brown Memorial Sportsmanship Award, which is given to a Morgan exhibitor who has displayed outstanding sportsmanship. Inducted into AMHA's Hall of Fame was Nancy Ela Caisse and Renee Page. The Breeders' Hall of Fame honors breeders who have produced Morgans that have had a significant impact on the breed. This year's honorees were Broadfields-Highover Morgans and Silver Creek Stables. The Golden Reins Award is given to a Morgan professional who has had a 30-year career in training or instruction and this year Jonalyn Gwinup, Gerry Rushton, and Anne Speck were recognized. Stan Bodnar was selected by his peers as the recipients of the Professional Award. Mantic Mardi Gras received special recognition for her work with people with disabilities. Stefanie Putnam was selected as the recipient of the Morgan International Award for her Morgan breed promotion in Canada. Nicole Gorecki-Smith was honored with the Dr. Albert Lucine Promoter Award for going above and beyond in breed promotion. And finally inducted into the Show Horse Hall of Fame were Festival Calypso GCH, Funquest Berrybox, and The Master's Touch.

In 2018, the AMHA Convention will take place February 13-17 in Lexington, Kentucky.