American Horse Council Announces 2024 Award Recipients

The American Horse Council (AHC) is delighted to announce its 2024 Honorees who will be recognized at AHC’s Award Luncheon on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, as part of AHC’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

These awards highlight the remarkable achievements and contributions made by those dedicated to advancing and promoting the horse community. The annual awards include:

The Van Ness Award is presented to an individual(s) who best emulates the dedication and commitment of Marjorie Van Ness to the improvement of the horse industry at the state level.  This year’s award winner is a husband-and-wife team, Bud & Gwen Wills, of the PA Equine Council. “Dedicated volunteers and the belief you can make things better creates success.“ added the Wills.

 The Hickey Award is named in honor of past AHC President James J. Hickey Jr., who served the AHC from 1993 to 2016. This award is presented to an individual who has been a great supporter of the horse industry and the AHC.  This year’s award winner is Dr Katie Flynn, DVM who worked for the CA Dept of Food & Agriculture, served as the KY State Veterinarian and presently works for United States Equestrian Federation as Senior Staff Veterinarian for Equine Health and Biosecurity. “I am extremely honored to receive this award as it is a great privilege to serve the equine industry. I am grateful to be able to follow my passion every day to protect and promote equine health and the equine industry” stated Dr. Flynn

 The AHC Champion Award honors an AHC member who has demonstrated extensive and exemplary advocacy for the industry and the AHC. The recipient of this award was selected from nominations by AHC staff and leadership. The 2024 AHC Champion Award goes to Ward Stutz, Director of Breed Integrity at AQHA. Stutz stated “It is certainly an honor and humbling for me to receive the AHC Champion award! When I think back on what the horse has meant to me and what a powerful impact it has had on my life, it was a fulfilling and natural commitment to share that feeling with the industry.”

 The UHC’s Unity Award recognizes an individual (or organization) active with the United Horse Coalition, takes the initiative to be involved in, and works towards programs that promote responsible ownership and breeding, and/or programs that support horses at-risk or in transition and their owners, and uses their industry relationships to work collaboratively to further strengthen and promote the mission of the United Horse Coalition. The 2024 winner of the UHC United Award is Retired Racehorse Project. “Empowering Thoroughbred owners through education, service, and inspiration is at the core of the Retired Racehorse Project’s mission. Our work has made a marked difference in the efficiency and effectiveness of the aftercare industry in the US, and we are honored to receive the AHC’s Unity Award in recognition of our efforts,” added Kristen Green, Executive Director of the Retired Racehorse Project.

 The Rolapp Award is presented in honor of the late Rich Rolapp, President of the AHC from 1974 to 1993. This award is presented to a Member of Congress who has been a great supporter of the horse industry. The recipient of this award will be announced shortly.

Please join us in celebrating these very deserving winners. Tickets are available to attend the Awards Luncheon at

About the American Horse Council
As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities. Organized in 1969, the AHC promotes and protects the industry by communicating with Congress, federal agencies, the media, and the industry on behalf of all horse related interests each and every day.

Contact: Julie Broadway
American Horse Council
Phone: 202-296-4031