The horse community in Alberta has selected their 2023 Annual Provincial Award winners. These awards recognize the hard work and dedication of eight individuals in our communities and industry.
The winners for 2023:
- Outstanding Stable/Facility – Milestone Farms
- Outstanding Horse – Sweetheart, owned by Joyce Enders
- Outstanding Instructor/Coach – Gabriele Klotz
- Outstanding Equine Support Personnel – Mollie Ferris
- Outstanding Volunteer – Daphnine Di Lillo
- Outstanding Athlete/Rider – Daniel Klotz-Dedora
- Sportsmanship Excellence – Dolly Lehne
- Above & Beyond Excellence – Christine Collins
Over 140 nominations were put forth by peers, an increase of over 300 per cent from the previous year’s nominations.
“We are extremely proud of our equestrian community in Alberta,” says Sonia Dantu, AEF Executive Director. “The fact that the winners were selected by their peers adds a special touch, as it reflects a sense of community involvement and support. It’s certainly rewarding to celebrate the high calibre of individuals in our membership.”
Award winners will be celebrated at the annual Stride With UsStride With Us awards banquet and gala at the Sheraton Cavalier Calgary Hotel on March 23, 2024.
The Annual Provincial Awards are presented in partnership with Acera Insurance.
Outstanding Stable/Facility: Milestone Farms
At Milestone Farms, safety and horse care are paramount. Horses are treated as individuals, hay is tested, fences are pristine, and the facility and grounds are impeccable. The barn family operates on the foundations of communication, inclusivity, and respect. You can’t help but feel at home at Milestone Farms.
Outstanding Horse: Sweetheart, owned by Joyce Enders
This little horse is simply amazing! She has done more to grow equestrian sport than any other horse, she has raised kids and given countless others wonderful introductions to the world of equines. She has competed at Spruce Meadows and taught hundreds of kids to ride. Sweetheart is a favourite of everyone she encounters.
Gaby is an outstanding coach for so many reasons. She keeps her students focused and supports them to keep going when they need encouragement. She never lets them leave a lesson without ensuring they fully understood the lesson. She does so many “extras,” always making people feel at ease and motivating them to continue improving. Her students are not only friends, but part of her extended family.
Outstanding Equine Support Personnel
Mollie demonstrates an unwavering passion and commitment to horses, the equine industry, and equestrian sports in Alberta. She maintains an Alberta Veterinary License, and with her equine expertise, Mollie is not only able to serve as a caring and efficient groom, she also effectively monitors the horses’ health and happiness. At competitions and clinics, she is always the first to step up and help work with other grooms and owners to aid in the success of all horse and rider combinations.
Outstanding Volunteer: Daphnine Di Lillo
Daphnine is the Calgary Stampede Showrider Committee Chair. She loves being a part of this amazing group and she is the biggest cheerleader and supporter. The group can count on her professionalism every time. She is always available to answer a question or lend a helping hand; she truly goes above all expectations to help bring out the best in everyone. She selflessly devotes many, many volunteer hours to the program.
Outstanding Athlete/Rider: Daniel Klotz-Dedora
Daniel is a disciplined and driven vaulter who trains tirelessly and always takes time to support his teammates, mentor new vaulters, and ensure the horses get the best care possible. In 2023 Daniel competed in vaulting as an individual and in squad, representing Canada at the FEI level in both, at the World Junior Championships in Sweden. This level of competition requires an immense amount of dedication and training, not only for the human athlete but also the horse, to ensure they are physically and mentally prepared.
Sportsmanship Excellence: Dolly Lehne
This young lady exudes sportsmanship excellence. She places the welfare of her horse at the forefront, showing a deep understanding and respect for her equine partner. In response to challenges faced by her peers, at the age of 16 Dolly took a remarkable step by establishing the Love, Dolls Equestrian Society to promote mentorship and connection between members. Dolly has volunteered countless hours to many non-profit organizations in her community. She maintains a selfless attitude, embodying the true essence of sportsmanship.
Above & Beyond Excellence: Christine Collins
Christine always goes above and beyond what is expect of her duties as a judge, coach, and volunteer in the equestrian community. Her services, donations, and mentorship among the equestrian community have encouraged all ages of riders in and out of the show ring. Christine ensures educational opportunities and fair judging are affordable and accessible in all corners of the province. Many years of her dedication and guidance have enabled the sports of dressage and eventing to flourish in Alberta.