Karen Dodge from Pittsfield, NH was awarded the NHHC 2011 Horseperson of the Year award during a ceremony at the Farm & Forest Expo on Friday evening February 3, 2012. Karen, a life-long horsewoman, lives, works and owns Chinquapin Hill Farm, in Pittsfield, New Hampshire. The farm is a boarding, breeding and training facility where the manure is conscientiously composted for recycling on the beautiful flower gardens planted and tended by Karen herself. Extra compost is distributed to local landscapers and gardeners. Chinquapin Hill clients range in age from five to over sixty-five. Disciplines include, but are not limited to: driving, pleasure showing, ranch skills, recre¬ational riding, hunters, trail and dressage! As a result of this variety, Karen has versatile horses and happy clients from all over the country. A recreational rider or nationally recognized competitor both gain skills and confidence with Karen’s personal and special gentle “hands on” approach to learning.
Karen has always been an active rider and horse trainer in the Appaloosa Horse Club (APHC) and New Hampshire Quarter Horse Associations (NHQHA). She often volunteers her time with these Associations, hosting clinics at her farm and other venues. She is a long time NHQHA Platinum sponsor. Promoting the interest of youngsters interested in equines, is very special to Karen. Karen also gives of her time and effort to a wide range of other types of horse events in New Hampshire; breed and open shows, fairs, clinics and recreational rides. And she also strongly encourages her students and clients to volunteer at events and shows as a way of “giving back” too. She has for many years been a contributor of WLNH Children’s Auction. Even in these difficult economic times, Karen does her part to support the equine industry in New Hampshire.
Over the years, Karen has held numerous positions on Boards and Committees at the State and Regional level. She is an American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Professional Horseperson, and is involved in the show rules/regulations committee and monitors fair and humane treatment of horses at nationally sanctioned shows. Each year she volunteers her time, working with APHC and AQHA at the Massachusetts Equine Affair in November.
Karen works to maintain a good rapport with other industry professionals both locally and across the country. She encourages her students of all ages to “try everything”. She trains her horses to be versa¬tile; taking pleasure show horses to ride on the beach, go on a trail ride, compete at a dressage school¬ing show, and even participate in a cow-working clinic! She invites other instructors to her farm for special sessions and continues to take lessons herself, updating her own informational base.
With Karen horses come first. She is “there” for the horse that needs extra attention at whatever time the horse may need it. Karen is the one who will be up all night with a mare and her new foal or a sick horse. In sub zero temperatures she will be out in the barn adding an extra blanket or extra shav¬ings to the stalls. Often in mid-summer, Karen will drive at night to keep the horses cool while trav¬eling to a show. Karen is that selfless person “behind the scenes” for so many other people’s personal success stories. As clients progress with their interest and skills, she travels with them to regional, national and world shows, where she has coached many successful rides. Recently a senior client who had been off horses for a year was patiently encouraged to ride after hip replacement. Karen is the trainer that makes the un-rideable Mustang able to trail ride with its owner. She is the teacher that empowers a student too scared to get back on her horse after a serious leg injury, not only to ride again, but to show and win many high point awards. Karen’s upbeat “can do” attitude and patience motivates an over fifty “mom” to go from the sidelines to riding and winning AQHA All Around High Point Award in two years!
Karen lives the life and the passion of horses! Her selfless devotion during a lifetime of work and accomplishments are the undeniable reasons for her being chosen as the 2012 NHHC Horseperson of the Year!
(New Hampshire Horse Council media release)
Congratulations Karen. The Appaloosa Horse Club is proud of you!