Pam Arthur receiving the Sherman Olson Lifetime Achievement Award from Bill Archibald. Photo by Totem Photographics

Pam Arthur receiving the Sherman Olson Lifetime Achievement Award from Bill Archibald. Photo by Totem Photographics

The Horse Council BC Awards Gala was held on March 8, 2014 to celebrate the athletes, coaches, horses, volunteers and all around amazing people who stood out in 2013.

The HCBC Awards Gala took place during the 2014 BC Equine Education Summit and was enthusiastically supported by the conference attendees. Many of the Awards Gala guests came just to celebrate at the Awards Gala and to get a chance to meet and mingle with the nominees, speakers from the Summit earlier in the day, and other guests.

QMFM Radio Announcer, Crystal Darche, was the host for this year’s big Gala and was an absolute star. She was the perfect host for the evening, adding an element of humour and lightness to the whole event. The HCBC Awards Gala would not have been the same without her. Steve Charles from Totem Photographics was the photographer for the evening and everyone had a great time posing in front of the logo banner and the “paparazzi” to get their photos taken!

The Youth High School Recognition Achievement Award was presented to Emily Lim, Courtney Palleson, Natasha Grapes, Kathleen Penner, Lindsay Stuart, Roechelle Hrehorka, Rebecca Alves, and Natalie Alves.

The Alf Fletcher Youth Sportsmanship Award was presented to five dedicated riders for their exemplary show of sportsmanship at competitions throughout the year. These riders were Winter Koyote, Sage Loeppky, Emily Winkel, Mackenzie Nelson, and Hannah Beaulieu.

The Best Competition of 2013 went to the Mountain Magic Endurance Ride CEI 1*. This was a full day of competition which included Limited Distance, Open 50 mile and FEI. Competitors came from all over British Columbia, including Vancouver Island. This ride increased the level of competition in B.C. and brought new enthusiasm for international competition to Endurance.

The Bob James Volunteer of the Year Award went to Deb Oakman, an extraordinary volunteer with the Back Country Horsemen of BC, North Vancouver Island Chapter. Deb was pivotal in getting Vancouver Island’s first equine campsites built and in having a 40km trail designated to be protected for all recreational users.

Coach of the Year was awarded to Brent and Laura Balisky. They are a remarkable team of coaches from the Lower Mainland. In 2013 not only did they successfully complete their High Performance Coach certification with Equine Canada, 2 of only 3 coaches in Canada to have achieved this level, they had a fantastic year of showing with their students.

Athlete of the Year went to Brian Morton. Brian was named Top Canadian Rider at the Spruce Meadows Masters in 2014 along with successfully competing and winning in hunter jumper shows across North America.

The Horse Industry Professional of the Year went to Jack Polo, General Manager of the Maple Ridge Equi-Sports Centre. Jack is known and highly respected for his generosity and ‘can-do’ attitude. He is always willing to work with clubs and riders to make their experience at MREC the best it can be.

The Horse of the Year Award – Non Competitive went to How ‘Bout Jose, New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society’s mascot. Jose was a favourite on the racetrack and is now a favourite at New Stride. He helps new volunteers get accustomed to working with horses and is the face of New Stride’s sponsorship program.

The Horse of the Year Award – Competitive went to the BC born and bred warmblood, Lucky Boy. Lucky Boy is the mount of local rider Kaylie Martinoff and had a very successful competition career in 2013. The newly named Sherman Olson Lifetime Achievement Award honours individuals who have made exceptional contributions to BC’s equestrian community.

This year the Sherman Olson Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Pam Arthur. It is hard to find an avid equestrian in BC who does not mention Pam Arthur as one of their key influences and mentors as coach, official or trainer. The extensive list of her past students who have gone on to achieve successful coaching and riding careers is impressive and shows Pam’s positive committed influence.

Canada’s Olympic Eventing Team Member, Hawley Bennett – Awad, had this to say; “Pam was instrumental in the success of taking ‘Hank’ from a pony club mount to a four star event horse. She is the best, most knowledgeable horse person I have ever been around, and is the best teacher I have ever seen teach.”

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners for the 2013 HCBC Awards! A big thank you to all of the sponsors and attendees.