Over the weekend of February 21 and 22, 2015, The American Saddlebred Horse Association of Georgia (ASHAG) gathered in Athens, Georgia, to “Celebrate Saddlebreds 2014.” ASHAG teamed with The University of Georgia (UGA) to offer its members several activities over the awards weekend. The theme of this weekend was “Celebrate Saddlebreds 2014” with a goal of giving the membership an enriching and engaging weekend experience. In all aspects, the weekend was a huge success!
Saturday afternoon was focused on the junior members. A group of over 80 ASHAG members and family gathered at UGA’s Animal and Dairy Science Livestock Arena to be addressed by Dr. Kari Turner. Dr. Turner is well known across the State of Georgia, being heavily involved with equine exercise physiology as well as youth development. Her energetic lecture focused on how to become involved in 4-H activities such as Quiz Bowl, State Judging Contest, and Horse School; and also offered available career paths in the Equine Industry that the junior members can pursue besides veterinary medicine. Several of Dr. Turner’s current students shared their stories of their love of their horses and how 4-H supported their success in the Animal and Dairy Science Program at UGA.
On Saturday evening, the 2014 ASHAG Awards Banquet and Silent Auction was held at the State Botanical Gardens of Georgia in Athens, Georgia – a Night of Fine Dining, Awards and Dancing. This was among the most beautiful venues and successful banquets in recent years. Barns from across Georgia made the trip to Athens. They included, but not limited to Autumn Oaks, Bluff Creek, Brian Reimer Stables, Creekside Farm, Fairhope Stables, Golden Isles Riding Academy, Impossible Dream Farm, Marshallville Park, Mountain Laurel Saddlebreds, River Bend Stables, Southern Legacy Stables and Willowick Farm. A total of 42 Academy High Point Awards, 7 Equitation Awards and 30 High Point Performance Awards, including 2 ASHA National Awards, 13 ASHA Region 10 Awards and 9 ASHA State Pleasure Awards were presented to enthusiastic and talented recipients. The ASHAG Scholarship was awarded to Travis Parker who will be attending Georgetown College Lexington, Kentucky, this Fall. It is refreshing to see the large number of Junior Riders that are actively involved in Saddlebreds throughout the State of Georgia! The Awards presentation can be seen at: http://youtu.be/MEtfHKqQluk
The highlight of the evening was the recognition of three longtime ASHAG members: Lynn Pace, and Doug and Susan Norton.
Lynn Pace is the 2014 recipient of the prestigious Frank Kennedy Humanitarian Award. This special award is presented to an individual who has shown themselves to be outstanding in character, kindness, fairness and generosity. The recipient of this award goes beyond the call of duty and impacts others through their efforts. Lynn has all of these accomplishments and more to her credit. Lynn has been the owner of Dixie Stables and Riding Academy in Allenhurst, Georgia, for over the past 40 years. She has committed her life skills to teaching young and the not so young, horsemanship and riding techniques and has earned respect for her dedication and generosity from her clients and the Saddlebred Industry as a whole. This past year Lynn retired and entrusted the reins of Dixie Stables Riding Academy to Caitlin Jarriel, who renamed the operation Southern Legacy Stables. It was Caitlin who aptly presented Lynn with the 2014 Frank Kennedy Humanitarian Award, after showing a video of loving tributes from many of Lynn’s past and present students and friends. Lynn’s two sisters, Key Agnew and Madge Bass were in attendance to see Lynn receive this esteemed award. See the loving tribute to Lynn Pace at: http://youtu.be/aHm8abxTnek
The ASHAG Hall of Fame award is given to a member of ASHAG that demonstrates a desire to perpetuate and improve the association and its functions through their efforts and expertise as a trainer, exhibitor, breeder, owner, and volunteer and/or supporter. The 2014 recipients of the ASHAG Hall of Fame are Doug and Susan Norton. The Nortons have proven their dedication to the American Saddlebred as well as to ASHAG. Doug served the Association as President for five years and Susan as Vice President for two years. Both held other State and/or National posts and responsibilities during their tenure. The Nortons are Saddlebred breeders and exhibitors out of their Briarcreek Farm. This couple is perhaps most known for their love of the Saddlebred Parade Horse and their extensive silver parade saddles and tack collection. The revitalization of the Parade classes is notably due to their efforts and generosity for loaning their beautiful silver saddles to those who want to participate in a Parade Horse classes and exhibitions across the nation. It was fitting that their longtime friend and 2012 Hall of Fame recipient and Parade Class supporter, Susan Reimer, inducted Doug and Susan Norton into the ASHAG Hall of Fame.
The final event of ASHAG’s “Celebrating Saddlebreds 2014” weekend was memorable and inspiring. On Sunday morning ASHAG members were treated to a private tour of the University of Georgia’s new Veterinary Medical Center in Athens, Georgia. The new complex is scheduled to open to the public on March 25, 2015.
The UGA Veterinary Medical Center is over 300,000 square feet and includes a new teaching hospital for small and large animals. The tour on Sunday focused on the Large Animal Hospital. The Large Animal Hospital is systematically designed to the condition of the patient. The first area is the outpatient receiving area where healthy patients can be evaluated and discharged without having to enter the main hospital. This unit includes the reception area, private consolation rooms, six stalls and two exam rooms. The second unit is the main Large Animal Hospital featuring two exam rooms and 16 stalls. This unit will house patients for eye conditions, orthopedic and soft tissue injuries and other minor medical issues. This unit is naturally ventilated with yoke exterior stall doors to allow horses to put their heads outside for fresh air. The third unit of the Large Animal Hospital is the ICU unit and is considered the heart of the hospital. This unit is dedicated to the critically ill patients, such as neonatal foals and colic surgery patients.
Other areas that the group toured included the impressive wood-covered equine performance arena with advanced hard and soft footing. The ASHAG group also saw was the Field Services building. This building had a dentistry suite, production and theriogenology center as well as a diagnostic laboratory. To complete the hospital footprint is a separate Isolation Barn to house animals diagnosed with an infectious disease and an education building for teaching and continuing education courses.
UGA has invested greatly in state of the art clinical equipment including a radiation cancer therapy linear accelerator, a CT scanner with special large animal table, and a 3T Open Bore MRI. The most notable over reaching aspect to the design of this complex is the priority given to human and animal safety. A very informative Q & A exchange session was held by Dr. Eric Mueller and ASHAG members at the completion of this impressive and educational two-hour morning tour.
ASHAG would like to thank the following for making this tour a reality:
Dr. Eric Mueller – Professor, Director of Equine Programs and Chief of Staff, Large Animal Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
Dr. Andrew Parks – Professor, Olive K Britt & Paul E. Hoffman Professor of Large Animal Medicine, Department Head
Martha Cagle – 2003 ASHAG President, UGA Veterinary Staff Tech Member
Tour guides: Dr. Phil Kieffer, Dr. Katie Seabaugh, Dr. Jared Williams, Dr. Kurt Selburg, Dr. Eric Mueller, Martha Cagle, Dr. Kelsey Hart and Dr. Andrew Parks
Congratulations to all of the 2014 ASHAG Award Winners, Trainers and Owners. Looking forward to 2015!
Respectively Submitted by the ASHAG Banquet Committee: