2016 Annual Award Winners
Each year, the Wisconsin Horse Council presents awards for the Horseperson of the Year, Judge of the Year and the WHC Director of the Year at the Midwest Horse Fair®. In some years, there is also a Legislator of the Year. 2008 was the first year that nominations were accepted for the Special Achievement Award and Lifetime Achievement Award, and new in 2016, Equine of the Year was added. All of these awards will also be presented at the Midwest Horse Fair®.
Recipients of the Horseperson, Special Achievement Award and Lifetime Achievement Award are nominated by the public and voted on by the WHC Board of Directors. The WHC Director of the Year and Legislator of the Year are nominated and voted on by the Board of Directors. The Judge of the Year is an annual award given by the Wisconsin Horse Council and is based on a person’s contributions to Wisconsin’s equine industry as a judge. The winner is chosen by past, active Judges of the Year and is presented at an Awards Ceremony held at the Midwest Horse Fair®. The Equine of the Year candidates are submitted by members in each district to their District President and appointed district members chose a winner. The winner from each district is then sent to the WHC Board of Directors and a final WHC Equine of the Year is chosen.
Horseperson of the Year Award - Gary Gibson
This year's Wisconsin Horse Council's Horseperson of the year recipient, Gary Gibson, is known in many different circles of the Wisconsin equine industry. Gary has been acknowledged for over 30 years for his humane training methods, showing, judging, and giving clinics. He has shown horses in both local and various national breed association shows.
In addition to offering training and boarding, he regularly hosts clinics for all horse owners. He also hosts clinics that feature local veterinarians, farriers, and nutrition experts, providing valuable information to horse owners.
Gary is a strong believer in life long learning. He spends a great deal of time studying and learning, whether it be reading publications, attending clinics, viewing instructional videos or sharing ideas with other horsemen. All who know Gary greatly benefit from this as Gary freely shares what he learns. When Gary judges, he often gets compliments on his fair approach to judging and his ability to take time to offer a piece of advice to encourage a participant who may have had an issue during the class. He is truly committed to helping horses and riders be the best they can be and enjoy the process. The Wisconsin Horse Council is pleased to introduce the 2016 Horseperson of the Year, Gary Gibson.
Equine of the Year - Cisco (Hez Got The Time) owned by Mike McGowan
This is the first year for a new award presented by the Wisconsin Horse Council. The first winner of this award was purchased as a wedding present for Mike and Patti McGowan's daughter but ended up back at Mike and Patti's home as a forever horse. Their daughter was supposed to sell Hez Got The Time, aka Cisco, back to her parents if she no longer wanted him, but the best made plans often go astray.
Mike McGowan tried to buy Cisco back when he was looking for a new show horse. The people who then owned Cisco didn't want to sell him because he was such a good show horse. Later they changed their minds and contacted Mike. Mike jumped at the chance and bought Cisco back for his wife, Patti. However, Patti then gave Cisco to Mike.
A good story could end right there, but there's more. Mike is a paraplegic caused by a riding accident when he was thrown by a horse. Cisco's extensive training and great mind made him a perfect horse for Mike's needs. Mike trained him to side pass up to a loading ramp so Mike could get on. Just like that, Cisco became a therapy horse as well as a show horse. Cisco has gone on to help many physically and mentally disabled people have the thrill of riding. He also is Mike's mount on trail rides in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. Cisco's versatility also allows Mike to show in Wisconsin Foundation Quarter Horse Shows where he patiently waits for Mike to get in and out of his wheelchair and then loads and/or unloads from the horse trailer all by himself. The WHC is proud to introduce the 2016 Equine of the Year, Cisco.