2018 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.


Congratulations to the 2018 Wisconsin Horse Council Award recipients.  This year we are presenting awards in four categories.

  • Equine of the Year – Caz (Casadero Sin Par), a Paso Fino owned by Tracy Porter of Milton
  • Horseperson of the Year – Karla Kegley of Franksville
  • Judge of the Year – Dawn Brandow of Antigo
  • Lifetime Achievement – Richard Berner of Watertown

These people and horse will be recognized at the WHC Awards Ceremony that is held at the Midwest Horse Fair in the Coliseum on Sunday, April 22 at 11:30 a.m..  Please join us in applauding these people and horse for the contributions they have made to our equine industry in Wisconsin.  Please read each of their bio's below.

Do you know someone who deserves to be nominated for recognition for their work in our equine industry?  Check out the WHC Awards Program on our web site www.wisconsinhorsecouncil.org.

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Have you ever heard the term “historic farmer”? If not, you need to hear about the WHC’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Richard Berner. Historic farmers use horses and horse drawn machinery to do their farm work. They want to educate people about how things were done and preserve that knowledge so future generations can have an appreciation for the past. Dick was a founding member of the Jefferson County Draft Horse Association and wasn’t interested in showing his horses in the usual way we think of as showing. Dick was a farmer and it took a lot of time before he accepted that “farm” people and “show” people could work together for a common goal. His vast knowledge of draft horses, training those horses, and the use of horse drawn machinery made him a tremendous asset to the people who wanted to show their horses in the traditional sense or simply enjoy their draft horses. He was a mentor for all who shared his love of the draft horse.

He loved plowing, planting, threshing, logging, and giving sleigh rides, and could be recognized by the ever-present pipe in his mouth. He was also a regular contributor to the educational efforts of Old World Wisconsin. He could explain to visitors what was being done by exhibitors and why it was being done a certain way. He was always happy to help people with problems, and he dedicated 17 years to volunteering at Old World Wisconsin. In fact, he died doing what he loved – cutting down trees at Old World Wisconsin so he could drag them out of the woods with his team.
Dick was also committed to his community and church. He was a dedicated father, husband, friend, and neighbor who also loved his horses and cats. He may have seemed like a tough guy until you saw him cuddle his little kitties.

Richard is survived by his wife, Carol; daughter, Nina (Michael) Koester; and grandchildren, Eric and Melissa Koester.

Carol Berner will be accepting the award on her husband’s behalf.

He will be missed.

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Good educators not only educate others; they also try to continually educate themselves. This year’s judge of the year, Dawn Brandow, is a good example of this. While she spends a great deal of time giving clinics and instructing 4-H groups, Dawn also goes to many judging seminars to increase her own knowledge. She is also an exhibitor herself, so she sees the many different points of view involved in showing.

Dawn is known to spend whatever time it takes to get her message across when instructing. If a student doesn’t understand by teaching the lesson one way, Dawn will try another way. She is known to be fair and impartial and have knowledge of the different breed and discipline requirements.

The Wisconsin Horse Council is fortunate to have Dawn Brandow as one of its accredited judges.

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Horses are Karla Kegley’s life. That pretty well sums up this year’s Wisconsin Horse Council’s Horseperson of the Year award recipient. Karla is known as a judge, clinician, and trainer.

Perhaps more importantly, she is known for her kindness. She encourages people to try to attain their goals, and if a person is hurt or sick, Karla will step in and help. She may put on a benefit horse show for a sick or injured friend, or she will organize a clinic at her own facility to raise money for medical expenses for a fellow horse lover. She has even hosted a “day at the farm” to benefit the local Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization.

Karla helps everyone through her honesty, patience, knowledge, generosity and most of all, her heart.

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If you have an unusual task for a horse, this year’s Wisconsin Horse Council Equine of the Year, Caz, can probably pull it off. This Paso Fino has proven he can do it all and more. Do you want to get into team penning? Done. Go on a 25 mile trail ride? No problem; go water skiing behind a horse? Just tell him when to be there. Caz was the first horse to compete at the National Water Ski Show Championships.

He is a true ambassador by appearing in parades, giving novice lessons in the arena or going to schools for “hands on” learning. He is a survivor. After being badly injured by a tornado that blew though Tracy Porter’s, his owner’s farm, in 2005; it took him a year to recover. But Tracy was just returning the favor to Caz because Caz taught her to ride again after Tracy shattered her C5 and C6 vertebrae ion 2002.

In 2012 Caz was voted America’s Favorite Trail Horse: Professional Division.
In 2012 at the age of 17 and again in 2015 at the age of 20, Caz was a Two time Obstacle Grand National Champion

Caz is one of those once-in-a-lifetime horses who is honest and kind and who has successfully crossed discipline and breed lines. He is loved and appreciated for WHO he is and not What he is.

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Announcements and Notices


The WHC Office will be closed 6/12/24 & 6/14/24. Thank you!

WHC Calendar of Upcoming Events

Want to know what equine related events and activities are going on in your area? Please click on the heading above to access a list of up-coming events and a form that you can complete and send to us to have your equine related activity added to this new calendar!

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Legal Transportation of Horses Across State Lines

WHC would like to share this important information with you courtesy of TheHorse.com. Please click here to access this excellent article.

Attention All WHC Members

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Great News for WHC Members!

Did you know that if you are a member of the Wisconsin Horse Council (WHC), you are also eligible for the American Horse Council's (AHC) Advantage Plan?


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