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Horse Health & Welfare Award

We are pleased to announce the recipient of our 3rd Annual “Horse Health & Welfare Award”

 Congratulations Andrea Bresee

2017 Nominees

Amanda Stolarchuk

Amanda has always worked closely, alongside equine health professionals when creating a training program for her own horses and the horses of her clients. She works around the horse’s needs first and foremost as to not push a horse beyond its physical and mental capabilities. The horse’s well being always comes first to Amanda before any training or horse show goals. She believes a healthy, sound and happy horse is what makes a great equine athlete. Amanda is always willing to set aside time to explain any horse health care issues to her clients and is always there to show her clients any health care procedures and always willing to lend a helping hand.

Andrea Bresee

Everything Andrea does at Foxfire is always in the best interest of the horses and their health. Andrea oversees the preventative health care program at Foxfire and notifies clients regarding worming and needles and offers clients the choice of veterinarians. She calls in the Veterinarians to administer barn wide vaccines to all the horses. Worming meds are ordered and administered by her and her team. Andrea selects the hay and grain according to the horse's weight management and work. 

Andrea also stresses the importance of stall, barn cleanliness and paddock manure management for the preventative health care of horses. Indoor and outdoor arena footing is well maintained with respect to depth, structural integrity, moisture. Dust closely monitored. 

She is also extending her knowledge through a Veterinarian Ride Along, and by attending the Farrier Conference. 

Keeping in mind a horse's past medical history, Andrea is constantly observing the animal while it is being ridden. She ensures that the level of competition intended is appropriate for the horse at its particular level of development. Her training program works on those aspects of the horse's development that will ensure performance at the intended level. She is quick to respond to what she observes and as soon as she feels the need for medical intervention, she takes steps to inform the owner and, call the vet or orders the required medicine. Andrea or her staff take whatever action is necessary until the vet/owner arrives. Whenever the vet is there for a horse in her care, she is present and gives the staff instructions on what to do, some of which she does herself. Should a recovery period be required, with the veterinarian, she sets out a training program appropriate to the level of injury in order to fully recover the horse. 

As busy as Andrea's day is, she is there for the horses in her barn and the riders, owners. No question is silly. Andrea takes the time to explain information in terms that the rider understands. 

She knows the horses intimately, their personalities and knows what each likes or dislikes and how to handle them. Andrea is always observing the horses and educating clients on why she is working the horse as she is doing. She knows what all the horses do in their paddocks and for instance tells the owner if the horse doesn't move around very much and so should be ridden and trotted and cantered even on light ride days. 

Andrea has a good relationship with her staff and only keeps the staff who are good and reliable and who report everything that goes on in the barn to her. All communication from clients goes through her and she is on top of everything that goes on in the barn. She even does night check. 

Darcy Hayes

The success of a horse in the ring, not only on a per show or season basis, but measured on the basis of longevity in terms of how long a horse can sustain success in the ring is directly correlative with a trainer's commitment to the welfare of the horses they ride and train. Darcy Hayes epitomizes how every trainer ought to conduct their business, horse health first before and above all else. As a starting principle, the goal of Hayes Ltd. is not to do every show or to collect points, but rather to facilitate quality class rides on well prepared athletes in order to minimize the number of shows required. Before the season starts and between horse shows, horses are jumped schooled on a minimal basis for the sole purpose of maintaining fitness in order to preserve their legs. Prior to the commencement of the season, every horse is checked by a vet, with massage therapy, acupuncture and other horse wellness strategies employed.  During competition, schooling and other classes are kept to a minimum as well as lunging and any other prep. Vets are also routinely called during the season to consult on ways to best preserve the horse while maximizing performance.  In addition, the mental happiness of the horse is crucially important to Darcy. This means lots of paddock time and hacking between shows and flat work done outside of the ring.

As is the case with owning and training any horse, injuries occur and in those circumstances, it is how a trainer reacts and treats those injuries as indicative of the commitment of the trainer to horse welfare despite the revenue loss associated with an injured rather than active competition  horse.  Darcy is not only committed to her show horses and riders, but has also demonstrated commitment to the rehab of my horse having a season ending injury- which means having her staff employ rigorous adherence to icing twice a day, hand walking and grazing. This injury diagnoses was made  by a vet called after the horse had been minimally lame after only 1 day when most trainers may wait to see if the lameness resolved itself. Most importantly, Darcy conveys the commitment to a horse's health to her clients, in particular to her younger riders who may not have their horse boarded directly with Darcy. Notwithstanding that these horses are not boarded with Hayes Ltd., a watchful eye and oversight of the care of these horses is undertaken.  There is a reason why Hayes Ltd. is so successful and it is because of the commitment to the horse's health. The clients that Darcy has are with Darcy not only because she is a great rider and trainer but principally because of this unwavering commitment.

Dona Grosser

It is an honour to nominate and write in support of Dona Grosser for the McKee-Pownall Horse Health and Welfare Award. If you have not already heard her name, seen her work, or been part of her extended horse family, I hope to provide some insight as to what makes her an ideal candidate for this award.  

A lifelong equine educator, Dona dedicates countless hours each year towards the education and support of young riders through the Equine Canada rider level programs. She offers formal instruction in equine anatomy, healthcare routine, feeding and exercise as well as emergency first-aid as part of her rider preparation lectures. Her rider level preparation exceeds the expectations outlined in the syllabus and as a result, each year her clients have all achieved exceptional status in the stable management portion of the exam. This high praise of her students is a testament to her dedication to educating and supporting both her clients and their horses. 

As a steward of equine health and wellness, she stresses the importance of proper bedding, superior feed and individualized supplement programs and regular vetting for horses both under her immediate care and those of her clients. Though not a stable owner herself, she ensures regular deworming and vaccination of privately and school owned horses as well as corrective farrier services and proper saddle fit to optimize performance. She encourages school owners to invest in equipment and feed of the highest quality to keep the school horses in high performance shape. 

During the busy show and rider camp season Dona advocates on behalf of the school and show horses for frequent breaks from the heat, increases in feed and constant access to clean, fresh water. She can regularly been seen scrubbing buckets, delivering hay and feed, assisting riders in bandaging for shipping, cooling out and cold hosing after a hot show or lesson. During the cold winter months she carefully checks water access, proper blanketing and hay supply. She even spends Christmas Eve and Christmas day haying and feeding special treats to the school horses giving barn staff a much needed break to be with family and friends. She always puts the needs of the horses first, treating them all with respect and compassion, holding herself, her students and the barn staff to the highest of standards. 

A true animal enthusiast, Donna cannot willingly allow a horse to go without. On a number of occasions she has donated her personal blankets, tack and even feed to ensure a horse’s comfort and quality of life. She has gifted countless dollars to provide necessary veterinary, dental and farrier work for horses in need, including school horses and rescues outside of her direct client base.  

She herself is a proud rescue owner, working with Long Run Thoroughbred Rescue, the vets at McKee-Pownall and her farrier to rehabilitate a severely injured gelding whose very future was in question. Under her watchful eye, her gelding that suffered from a twice broken leg during his racing career has made a full recovery. Upon a recent chiropractic visit, the veterinarians at McKee-Pownall did not even recognize the horse that stood before them. Through her regular vetting, consultations with her farrier and horse nutritionists, Henry (aka El Grande) is now happily returning to the ring, this time as a novice hunter, and loving life. 

Many of her clients and students have been inspired by her dedication to horse care and welfare, going on the volunteer with different animal groups and some even going on to pursue equine and veterinary sciences. She is a leader in the equine community, someone who truly embodies the term horsewoman – it is my honour to nominate Dona Grosser for this award.

Jenna Rogerson

In my opinion there is no coach more deserving than my trainer Jenna Rogerson from Skyland Stables. I have ridden with Jenna for almost 5 years and over the years what’s always made me admire her as a coach is she always puts the horse’s wellbeing before anything.  Her passion for horses and training is demonstrated on a daily basis when she goes above and beyond for all her clients. Her number one priority is ensuring that all the horses are happy and healthy. She works closely with nutritionists, blacksmiths, veterinarians and alternative therapists to ensure your horse is always performing at its best. Not only does Jenna make sure the horses needs are met she is a great teacher always ensuring I know why it's important to do this or know that.  

In a business that is extremely competitive it is hard to find someone who possesses such passion, high standards and professionalism about their business. I have found this at Skyland with Jenna and know that my horse’s wellbeing is always number one.  

John Jamieson

John Jamieson has been riding, coaching and training horses almost his entire life. As a trainer and coach, John is highly respected in the equine world for his thorough knowledge of horses, horse training, and the overall care and well-being of the horse. Running a large and ever growing showing facility, John makes it a priority to be actively involved in the care of all the animals both at the farm and while they are attending shows. He puts the care of the horses above all other considerations when making decisions about showing, schooling and training. There are often difficult decisions to be made when you are working with young riders, and it can be difficult to explain to young riders and their parents why you may choose to rest an animal or pull it out of a show at the last minute, but John does an amazing job of involving all the stakeholders in the discussion and decision making process. He educates all his riders about individual animal health, and he has the highest standards for grooming, cleanliness, and horsemanship, and he instills these qualities in his staff and clients. He uses all the resources available to him to ensure that his animals and those of his clients are getting the absolute best care. John works closely with an experienced veterinarian who regularly visits the farm, not only for any emergency care, but also for regular preventative care and maintenance. John is also not afraid to involve a broader team of specialists when required and has consulted equine services from outside his immediate circle of resources to diagnosis and to develop treatment plans when required. Although he has been trained as a farrier, John has an outside farrier visit the farm almost weekly to keep the feet and legs of the horses in top condition. John also believes strongly in nutritional excellence as a critical component of the overall wellness of his horses and he works closely with his feed specialists to ensure every horse has the balanced feed program that they require. John demonstrates his knowledge, his willingness, and his passion for horse health and welfare every single day. I can't think of a recipient more deserving of the MCKEE-POWNALL Equine Services Horse Health & Welfare Award. It doesn't matter if it is a short stirrup pony or an FEI Jumper, John spends the time and resources required to ensure each one is cared for and their health is enhanced while in his care. 

Kristy Gasparini

On several occasions over the last few years (I have been training with Kristy for 3 years now), Kristy has suggested I contact my vet for multiple healthcare and behavioural issues. On Kristy's recommendation when my horse suddenly began acting up about 20 minutes into a ride she suspected perhaps an ulcer and she recommended that before we look at changing our angle training wise we immediately get her checked out for pain in relation to her acting out. As It happens we did a scope and sure enough she had an ulcer. With the appropriate medication, my mare regained her health and her acting up became a thing of the past. Kristy has also recommended that I pursue professional assistance with regard to preventative health by way of chiropractic and massage. As my riding has moved forward and more physically demanding movements are requested of my mare, she began to display some mild to moderate soreness. Upon Kristy's recommendation I have enlisted the services of both chiropractic care and equine massage. Amazingly once again, my horse is happy and healthy again and moving freely. Kristy has taken her level of education to the next stage also and has successfully gained her degree in Equine Science at Hartpury College in England. She also has a diploma in equine massage. Kristy has been instrumental in helping my set my horses up on a feed program that works for both my mares. We have an easy keeper and a draft cross who could quite possible live on air, and Kristy has worked alongside with our vet to determine a feed/supplement program best suited for their individual needs. She has come to help me out on several occasions with injuries that I needed help with and has even come to help me remove a bent shoe when J found myself In trouble late in the evening. I have called her many times after hours only to receive accurate and caring recommendations. 

Laura MacKinnon

Laura Mackinnon, a dedicated coach & avid trainer from Dartmouth Nova Scotia has only the best intentions for the safety & well-being for all horses at her farm - Querencia Stables- not just her own. As a result of utilizing a schedule for annual vaccinations, dentistry, deworming & farrier visits, no small detail is over looked. Not only is this demonstrated daily by Laura, this is also expected of all staff members to ensure the horses welfare is consistent. This also guarantees that each horse’s individual needs are met whether they require multiple supplements, night time turnout or a different kind of feed. By doing this Laura can further educate her staff members, students, & their parents. To help further educate the future of our industry students who attend camp spend an afternoon with an equine professional including a saddle fitter, massage therapist, farrier, veterinarian, or chiropractor. Consulting & seeking professional help is something that Laura encourages all clients to do (when needed) & preferably before a problem arises. Taking this a step further Laura can be found reading published studies & Online articles to seek out current research & the latest news in equine welfare. In 2016 one of Laura’s horses was quite ill & sadly the veterinarian was unable to officially diagnosis him after he tested negative on all tests performed. After doing plenty of her own research & discussing ideas, Laura & the veterinarian narrowed down the possibilities & eventually found a supplement & medication that worked. While an official diagnosis was never made this horse is now sound, happy & thriving. Without Laura having done her own research the outcome may have been much different. Preventative maintenance is another key role in Laura’s program, all students are expected to use liniment & wrap horses not only after jumping but after vigorous flat rides as well. This is elaborated further for the competitive clients who are expected to do poultice wraps immediately after the horse has finished showing not upon arriving at home. In conclusion while we are fortunate enough to say that there are many trainers and coaches who exemplify the welfare of their horses we couldn’t be more proud to nominate Laura MacKinnon for this award. 

Mac McQuaker

Mac McQuaker knows that horses do their best when they are sound, fit and healthy. That's why every horse that boards, trains or competes under the Gryphon banner has an individual plan for its welfare. These plans are designed cooperatively by owners, riders and trainers. They are carried out by a wide-ranging team of professionals providing-veterinary and farrier services, equine dentistry, massage therapy, chiropractic treatment, diagnostic imaging and nutritional advice. Owners are encouraged to participate in all conversations with professional that participated in their horse health care. Mac takes the time to ensure all his clients including his young clients and  new to the industry clients understand about their horse's health and how it affect their performance. Mac is always available to explain horse care and demonstrate health care practices. 

Preventive maintenance,. including annual vaccinations and dental checkups and regular deworming and farrier  services, is mandatory. Horses proposing to compete, start training or enter a new phase of training undergo a  general health and soundness assessment to ensure that they are fit to handle greater demands. Their care plans may be updated to provide more support, and changes in workload may be postponed until any shortfalls are fixed. All horses in active work are monitored regularly to make sure that any fall-off in condition is dealt with promptly. 

All of Gryphon's equipment and facilities are designed and maintained to keep the possibility of accident and injury to a minimum. Staff has been thoroughly instructed in emergency procedures, and summary instructions including contact information for emergency services (fire, ambulance, vets, farriers) are posted prominently in key locations. 

Michelle Johnson

Michelle Johnson ALWAYS makes sure her animal's well being are taken care of. She schedules regular vaccinations and dental for her school horses, as well as requires all the show horses to have chiro on a monthly basis during the show season, and then regularly in the off season. No matter what, if a horse is not 100% well Michelle never pushes them even if it is show season. Understanding signs and symptoms of an unwell horse is taught to her students. 

Michelle always goes above and beyond when it comes to her animals, as well as the animals boarded at her facility. She treats all the horses as if they were her own and will never provide anything but the best care, best advice and best facility for a horse. Those that know Michelle knows she has great horsemanship skills and is beyond deserving of this award.

Sarah Roberts

Sarah Roberts personifies all the criteria for the "Horse Health & Welfare Award" AwayzAway Farm thrives on Sarah's abilities to manage, single handed, an Eventing competition coach tor rider/owners, a training & sale facility for young sport horses, as well as a selective breeding program that aims to improve the next generation of eventing horses. 

''Horse first, that's Sarah Roberts. She is humble, patient and kind, great philosophy, shows integrity, honest with exemplary care of the horse" 

"From the moment a horse steps through the doors at a AwayzAway, Sarah designs a comprehensive feeding & health care plan based on each horse's individual needs. Turnout is of utmost importance to the overall happiness of all her horses. Even after years of experience and constant collaboration with equine industry professionals, Sarah continues to actively upgrade her own knowledge & training, thus ensuring that each horse or student commences their training fully prepared and capable. She takes full advantage of her connections at OVC which offers her clients opportunities to participate in various research & studies designed to improve horse health."

"I have known Sarah Roberts for the better part of 15 years and have enjoyed every part of it. Animals that come under her care are the better for it. Well versed, she manages her yard and trainees, equine or human, with skill, calmness and sense of humour. Sarah Roberts makes my job easier!"  

"Sarah's experience as a certified coach, Eventing competitor, and trainer ensure that each client receives an individualized program based on each horse & riders capabilities. She excels in assessing and nurturing a horse's temperament, athletic ability and aptitude for each of the three phases in Eventing. She understands the need for careful and gradual development of both horse and rider in all three phases of Eventing. Her lesson plans are creative, constantly changing and methodically develop the skills and instincts that each horse & rider partnership will require to safely compete in this sport. Goals are assessed, conditioning programs developed, off property schooling encouraged & show schedules are planned thru one on one dialogue with each student individually. "

"I have been a client and student of Sarah's for 7 years and have never once doubted her decisions regarding the care of my two horses ... Sarah's complete understanding of the horse from all aspects of  the animal allows her to give each one the best care possible and stay ahead of heath issues such as arthritis, ulcers or even farrier needs .... She will research high and low to find an answer to a problem and has even been known to take extra university courses just for the fun of learning more and trying to be even better at her job ..... There is no one else I would rather have juggling the health issues that surround my retired competition horse or coaching me on my 7 year old training level horse." 

"From minute to minute & day to day Sarah strives to provides nurturing environment so that the horses in her care to thrive!She is passionate about the sport of eventing. It is an extremely demanding sport that demands versatility & bravery from both horse and rider. She is proud of any horse who willingly carries their human partner through rain & mud on cross, with rhythm & cadence in the dressage ring, over huge obstacles in show jumping. Sarah rewards the loyalty of these equine athletes by respecting their needs and maintaining the environment in which they thrive."

"Sarah leads by example. She always puts the horses first and thus sets a good example for all her boarders -especially young, inexperienced ones ..... Her first aid cabinet contains many of the supplies needed for daily care and she 1s happy to share these .... she provides a good learning environment for her boarders by holding free clinics. These are great opportunities to build horse-care skills which support a preventative approach to horse welfare and solid training practices." 

"To take care of any horse is a privilege. To take care of an Event Horse is a privilege that we, and many more, would only give to Sarah Roberts!"

Shellie Coppin

Shellie has trained me for over a year. She has always put the welfare and health of the horses first. She has taught me the importance of investing in keeping my horse sound by not only having routine care but also ensuring my horse has acupuncture to relieve pain in back and neck. After shows, Shellie ensures all the horses have a long period of downtime in the paddock before training resumes. She always promotes supplements in feed and ensures that horses have adequate water and electrolytes during the Sumer. She promotes ensuring horses have a feeding program that prevents or reduces risks for colic. Shellie always puts the health and welfare of our horses first. 

Susan Duncan

Susan is a multifaceted horsewoman. As a trainer, she puts the health and welfare of all of the horses in her care above all else. Whether the horses are retired from their careers, active as school horses, ridden occasionally by their owners, or competitors on the Bronze or Trillium circuit their care is not overlooked. Weekly farrier appointments are scheduled and all horses are on a rotation for care. All the horses at SJD are on a structured barn-wide vaccination and de-worming schedule. In barn health records are maintained and updated with information from each appointment, Routine dental appointments for each horse are scheduled yearly and dental surgery appointments are completed on an as needed basis. Diets are structured for each horse as an individual. The diet is monitored and adjustments are made after consulting an Equine Nutritionist. The horses benefit from her living on site and clients know that she will contact the veterinarian whenever a horse requires treatment. Susan has opened her heart and her barn to many rescues over the years. One being a neglected horse from a sale and others when asked by a boarder if she could help someone out. These horses required months of additional care, frequent farrier appointments, parasite control and structured diets to nurse them back to condition. Looking after the health both physical and mental of these horses were of utmost importance. 

The horses in Susan’s care who show have their condition monitored before, during and after showing. Adjustments are made as necessary to maintain them in top condition. While away at a show id=f ab emergency arises, the veterinarian is called, Additionally, in-barn clinics for her riders and their “support staff” are held. Riders. parents. siblings, and partners are all educated as to what is required to maintain and exceed ideal health of the horses as well as the services being provided. Education never stops at SJD Equestrian and all of her riders and their families benefit greatly from this practice. 

About the Award

McKee-Pownall Equine Services is pleased to announce our Third Annual “Horse Health & Welfare Award”. This accolade is valued at $1000 and will be awarded to the trainer that best demonstrates attention to the health and welfare of the horse. One recipient will be selected, from trainers in good standing with Equestrian Canada, who directly and effectively enhances the health of the horses in their care.The award is based upon:

  • Incorporating veterinary care as part of the overall training routine of horses in their care.
  • Putting the best interests of the horse’s health first over competition and training schedules.
  • Educating their clients about horse health care.


  • Nominee must be a member in good standing of Equestrian Canada
  • Nominee must be a trainer or coach. They must train both horses and riders and these horses must be in their immediate care.

Complete Nominations include:

  • A completed nomination form.
  • In order to nominate a trainer for this award you must complete the attached form and provide 2 supporting signatures in addition to your own.

Nomination Procedure:

  • Nominations must be complete.
  • You may type/write directly onto the nomination form.
  • Candidates for this award can be nominated by their clients, riders, owners, colleagues. Nominators are confidential and are not publicized.
  • Completed Nomination forms must be received by August 25, 2017, 5:00 pm.
  • All e-mailed nominations will be confirmed.
  • Please send completed nomination forms to
  • Voting will open after all qualified nominations have been received.

Voting Procedure: Once qualified nominees are submitted the voting process will begin. There will be an online poll available for the public to vote for their choice for the recipient of this award. Voting will commence on September 1, 2017 and run until September 15, 2017. Each person can vote once.

Presentation: Canadian Show Jumping Tournament, September 20-24, 2017 at the Caledon Equestrian Park. (Details will be provided when available). In order to be eligible for this award the Trainer must be available to attend the presentation.

Download your nomination form HERE

Download Form With Fillable Fields HERE

Please note that trainers can be nominated in consecutive years but recipients (winners) must wait a three year grace period before being nominated again. 

Past Recipients

First Annual McKee-Pownall Equine Services Horse Health and Welfare Award 2015 recipient is Di Langmuir.  

Second Annual Horse Health and Welfare Award was presented to Jennifer Sweet.