Last week I was honored to receive the 2014 AQHA Professional Choice Professional Horsewoman of the Year. It is especially rewarding since the award is given based on the vote of my peers, fellow Professional Horsemen. Standing in front of the group to receive the award I was overwhelmed by emotion. Had I more control of my emotions at the time this is what I might have said:
“Wow! What an honor. It is such an honor to stand before you tonight and receive this award. I am humbled by your support and so very grateful to have been introduced to the American Quarter Horse back in 1966 at Murphy’s Stable.
You all are more than friends or acquaintances – I so appreciate the family you have become, the protection you have offered, the hands who taught me how to use my own hands to accomplish a greater understanding of the horse. You have seen me through my biggest challenges and cheered my greatest successes.
You have given me your children to teach – perhaps the greatest honor of all. I thank each of you who trusted me to spend time with your children. They have been the greatest gift of all and as I look back on my life, their accomplishments, the families they now raise, the jobs they now work, the people they have become, make me the most proud. That I had an opportunity to touch their lives is a privilege beyond belief. Thank you for your trust.
I would be remiss not to individually thank a few people who have been incredibly influential in my life. Of course, my mother who insisted the Lynn family, all five of us at the time, take riding lessons. I am sorry Dad, but at least you rode a horse once! My family put up with my absence from Holidays and family celebrations yet offered me the greatest of support and have loved me unconditionally, although a sister or two would have run my life differently, they have always been there for me.
But I would not be here tonight without the guiding hand of fellow horsemen. I have to single out Dianne Eppers who has offered me guidance since before I could drive a car. Because of you, I believed I could succeed. Thank you for your never-ending support.
Thank you Jerry Erickson for reining in my teen-age spirit and making me understand I must walk before I could run. You introduced me to a world I had not previously known existed. And you were way too young at the time for me to have caused any gray hairs!
And thank you Lynn Palm for recognizing my desire to learn and achieve. You gave me the opportunity of a lifetime and have played a major roll in shaping who I became as a horseman.
And of course, thank you to the American Quarter Horse Association. We have the best horse on earth and I am forever grateful to have found this out early in my life. I have loved this horse and this Association my entire life. It has given my life purpose, meaning and direction.
Thank you to all who have supported me along the way. You are what make my life complete. It is a privilege to work with and for you. And thank you for never refusing to help, you have always been there when I needed you, answered my questions and offered your assistance. Thank you for never refusing to help. Thank you for giving me a wonderful life.”
Life can be lived well without the horse, but a good life is not possible without the horse.
** This was written in one draft, with no edits, re-reads or do-overs – just straight from my heart but not without a tear!