The Michigan Horse Council (MHC) presented Karen Waite, Michigan State University Extension equine specialist, with the 2011 Catalyst Award March 11 at its annual meeting in Lansing. Last weekend was a great illustration of why Karen was highlighted for her catalytic effect. She had proposed two years ago that Michigan would host the annual meeting of the American Youth Horse Council (AYHC), for which she serves as vice president. Under her leadership, Michigan hosted the AYHC meeting in Lansing last weekend, which was the same weekend as the MHC’s annual Horse Expo: two horsey events in one weekend, and she had responsibilities at both. It was a great idea, because the AYHC participants were able to attend the Michigan Horse Expo as well. But it meant a pretty crazy week of preparations and very busy weekend for Karen.
Karen oversees the Michigan 4-H equine youth program and the Michigan 4-H PEP (Proud Equestrians Program), a therapeutic horseback riding program for riders with disabilities. She advises undergraduate and graduate students in the MSU Department of Animal Science. She serves as faculty advisor for the MSU Equestrian Team and the MSU Horsemen’s Association and co-coach for the MSU Horse Judging Team. She serves as chairperson of the Michigan Horse Council Education Committee and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Michigan Quarter Horse Association and the Michigan Equine Partnership.
The award reflects her impact on the horse industry through education, leadership and innovation. We already knew of her impacts, and it’s great that colleagues at the Michigan Horse Council recognize them, too! Congratulations, Karen.