AHC Presents 2012 Van Ness Award to Kentucky’s Madelyn Millard
Each year, the American Horse Council presents the Van Ness Award to a person who has shown leadership and service to the horse community in her state. It is awarded in memory of Mrs. Marjorie Van Ness, one of the founders of the New Jersey Horse Council and the AHC’s Coalition of State Horse Councils. This year’s award was presented to Madelyn Millard of Lexington, KY for her great service to the horse community in Kentucky and nationwide.
“As president of the Kentucky Horse Council (KHC), Ms. Millard has made her state council effective and critical to the industry’s health and involved at the state and national level,” said AHC president Jay Hickey in presenting the award at the recent AHC annual meeting. “During her tenure as president, Madelyn guided the KHC board and staff to develop novel programs in such diverse areas as horse welfare, equine professional education, youth support and recognition, trail protection, and legislative involvement and communications.”
One of Ms. Millard’s major goals was to educate both the general public and Kentucky elected officials that the term “horse industry” not only applies to big racing and breeding operations in Kentucky, but to all breeds and all activities. She helped to create programs that emphasized that horse farms, whether commercial or recreational, play a large part in the agricultural life of Kentucky. Other noteworthy programs she helped create are: Save Our Horses, which funds programs helping unwanted horses; Gelding and Euthanasia Clinics, which supplemented funding for horse owners’ whose incomes did not allow them to pay for these services; and an Equine Disaster Relief Fund to assist horse owners nationwide if they are victims of floods, tornadoes, or other natural disasters. “These are all great programs and models for other states to follow,” said Hickey.
Ms. Millard also had the vision to recognize that the Kentucky Horse Council was not just a state organization, but also an important participant in the national industry through equine connections and partnerships. She believes it is critical to be involved with the equine industry at the national level and has been active in the Coalition of State Horse Councils, first serving as vice chair in 2010-11 and then being elected Chair in 2012 at the AHC’s Annual Meeting.
"I am honored to have been chosen as the recipient of the Van Ness award. However, without the support of a great Kentucky Board of Directors and a truly outstanding Executive Director I would not be accepting this award today. They shared my vision and supported the creation of so many new programs and I share this award with them,” said Millard.
Ms. Millard currently manages the Equine Division of Waterwild Farm, a 530-acre family-owned farm in Lexington, Kentucky. She is responsible for 40-50 client horses, as well as twelve Waterwild-owned horses, most of which are sport/pleasure horses involved in disciplines from dressage to eventing. She personally rides gaited American Saddlebreds, an off-the-track Thoroughbred or a Morgan.