Current Award Winners

Awards are given at the biannual Equine Science Society Symposium.

Distinguished Service Member Award

This award recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of equine science. The award is the most prestigious honor that the Equine Science Society can bestow upon one of its members.

2019 Recipient: Sheryl (Sheree) King

Sheryl (Sheree) King's contributions to the equine industry, academia, and our knowledge base of the horse have been nothing less than phenomenal. King earned her PhD in 1983 at the University of California at Davis with Warren Evans, and started her long and successful career thereafter at Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale. King served as the director of equine studies throughout her tenure at SIU, and as such proved herself to be an outstanding educator and mentor. She has been nominated for and has earned numerous awards for teaching, including the Outstanding Scholar in the College of Agricultural Science in 2010. In addition to her extensive teaching duties, King served the equine industry in Illinois as president of the Illinois Horseman's Council (since 2011), vice president, member of the Board of Directors, as well as various committee chairs and memberships. Her contributions to continuing education in the equine field are also extensive, spearheading workshops and symposia across the state from 1985 through the present. She was a member and served in the administration of the Equine Science Society (previously the Equine Nutrition and Physiology Society) since 1985 as a member of the Board of Directors and through numerous committees and session chairmanships. King has been a member of the American Society of Animal Science since 1983, and has served on the editorial board and as an ad hoc reviewer throughout her career. She has been a member of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists since 1995. Throughout, King has maintained a distinguished research program in reproductive physiology, with a focus on prolactin, season, and the corpus luteum in mares. She has mentored 22 graduate students through graduation, and has a lengthy list of grants and contracts through which her research has been funded. Nominated by: Erin Oberhaus.

Fellow of the Equine Science Society

This award recognizes distinguished service to the horse industry and to the Equine Science Society over an extended period of time.

2019 Recipient: Brian Nielsen

Brian D. Nielsen has authored over 60 peer-reviewed papers, nearly 200 book chapters, conference papers, and abstracts, and has secured $2 million in research funding. He is frequently invited to speak to various audiences having given over 50 invited international talks in countries such as Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Norway, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. He has written numerous articles for publications such as the Thoroughbred Times, Speedhorse, and the Quarter Horse Racing Journal. Nielsen is an active member of the American Society of Animal Science, the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, and served as the president of the Equine Science Society – an organization that presented him with the American Feed Industry Association Award in Equine Nutrition Research in 2017 and the Outstanding Young Equine Professional Award in 2001. He was awarded the Outstanding Teacher Award at the Midwest Section of the American Society of Animal Science and the American Dairy Science Association in 2005 and the Equine Science Award by the American Society of Animal Science and Equine Science Society in 2010. Besides having served on the editorial board for the Journal of Animal Science, the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, The Professional Animal Scientist, and the international journals Comparative Exercise Physiology and the Journal of Istanbul Veterinary Sciences, he is a diplomat in the American College of Animal Nutritionists and served on the 2007 National Academy of Sciences Committee on Nutrient Requirements of Horses. Nominated by: Karen Waite.

Outstanding Educator Award

This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated excellence in the area of equine education, either to students or persons in the horse industry.

2019 Recipient: Krishona Martinson

Krishona Martinson is a professor of animal sciences and horse extension specialist at the University of Minnesota. Martinson is known for her contributions in research related to pasture management and forage usage, as well as her innovative approaches to education and extension programming. Martinson is an early adopter of the use of technology to enhance her extension program and using her extension program to enhance her research program. She has developed two apps, Healthy Horse and Hay Price Calculator. The Healthy Horse app, the first one to be sold by the University of Minnesota, is based on research conducted by her and her team to develop a formula to accurately estimate weights of various breeds of horses based on a few basic measurements. The Hay Price Calculator app assists horse owners in calculating hay prices on a per ton basis, enabling these owners to more judiciously make hay purchasing decisions. In addition to her impact on horse owners in Minnesota, Martinson has been very active national and internationally in horse extension and education. Martinson has served as chair, and is currently past chair, of Extension Horses Inc., and is a major contributor of expertise in the use of social media in extension programs, as well as forage and pasture usage. She recently was one of the instructors for a new Extension Horses Inc. initiative, Hippology Academy, which had more than 250 participants enrolled in its inaugural offering. Martinson is outstanding as a collaborator and mentor with other horse extension specialists. She is endlessly willing to share her expertise, innovations, and encouragement with her horse extension colleagues throughout the country. Martinson is an educator in every aspect of her professional life and a great asset to the horse extension community. Nominated by: Colleen Brady.

Josie Coverdale Award for Outstanding Young Professional

This award recognizes an individual under the age of 40 with less than 10 years of service in academia or industry, who has made meritorious contributions to equine science in teaching, research, public service, or industry. In 2017, this award was renamed in memory of Josie A. Coverdale.

2019 Recipient: Jessica Leatherwood

Prior to returning as an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University in 2016, Jessica Leatherwood served four years as the equine science coordinator at Sam Houston State University (SHSU). In that position, she advised equine science students and taught nine undergraduate and two graduate courses across the scope of the equine discipline. In four years, Leatherwood’s efforts tripled the number from 52 to 158 students minoring in equine science at SHSU. She also worked alongside the America Quarter Horse Association to conduct international horsemanship programs throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and China. While at Texas A&M University, Leatherwood developed an international horsemanship program in conjunction with the Texas AgriLife Summer Horsemanship program that enables student instructors the ability to apply their skills in a global perspective. The program has provided students with an opportunity to conduct horsemanship schools in China, Italy, and Slovenia. A unique aspect to the program is the ability to utilize the horse as a model for students to communicate beyond language or simply observing husbandry practices in other countries. Leatherwood has secured nearly $900,000 in grant monies and over $640,000 allocated directly to her program. She enjoys advising multiple graduate students in equine nutrition and physiology research. Former students have matriculated into doctoral programs and secured both industry and academic positions. Josie Coverdale played a major role in helping Leatherwood choose a career in equine nutrition. Under Coverdale’s guidance, Leatherwood was motivated to adhere to exceptionally high standards in both research and teaching. In personal and professional areas, Coverdale taught and encouraged Leatherwood to meet challenges she once thought to be impossible. Josie Coverdale is missed daily by Leatherwood, and she wishes that her children, Charlie and Kelly, had met Coverdale. Nominated by: Tom Welsh.

The American Feed Industry Association Award in Equine Nutrition Research

This award is designed to stimulate research excellence in equine nutrition.

2019 Recipient: Carey Williams

Carey Williams, PhD, has been an equine extension specialist at Rutgers University since 2003, with an appointment in extension, teaching, and research. She has accomplished her goal of developing a collaborative and strong research, extension, and teaching program focused on equine nutrition and exercise physiology. Her research program has focused on antioxidant supplementation for equine athletes, examining stress and inflammation resulting from exercise, and improving equine grazing systems and their impact on horse health, economics, and the environment. Williams has been successful in garnering more than $1.1 million in support. She has been a prolific author and has published 47 journal articles, 11 book chapters, 17 conference proceedings, 34 extension publications, and 77 abstracts. She has successfully mentored graduate students who are currently involved in the equine industry and academia, and has advised or co-advised 37 Honors Program undergraduate research students. She is also a sought-after presenter and has given over 200 presentations including 24 invited presentations, nine of those at international venues. Through her extension program, she has successfully disseminated her research findings to horse owners and professionals through a variety of delivery methods. Williams is a member of scientific societies and has been appointed to the Coordinating Committee for the National Research Support Project (NRSP-9) of the National Animal Nutrition Program, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Equine Science Society. She also serves on national, regional, and local equine-related boards and organizations. Williams has made meritorious and significant contributions to the field of equine nutrition and has successfully disseminated research-based information to horse owners and professionals through the U.S. and world. Her research and education efforts have certainly resulted in improved nutrition and care for both equine athletes and recreational horses. Nominated by: Krishona Martinson.

American Society of Animal Science – Equine Science Society Equine Science Award

This award recognizes outstanding achievement in the areas of extension, research, teaching, or agribusiness in the equine industry. This award is formally presented at the annual American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) meetings.

2020 Recipient: Bob Coleman

Dr. R. J. (Bob) Coleman is an Associate Extension Professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at the University of Kentucky. He completed his BSc (Animal Science; 1975) and MS (Animal Science; 1978) degrees at the University of Manitoba and his PhD (Equine Nutrition; 1998) at the University of Alberta. He was the Extension Horse Specialist for Alberta Agriculture from 1980 to 1998. In 1998, Dr. Coleman moved to the University of Kentucky as the Equine Extension Specialist, where he oversees all adult equine extension activities. In addition to his Extension duties, Dr. Coleman teaches and advises in the Equine Science and Management program and is the advisor for the University of Kentucky Equestrian Team. Dr. Coleman serves on the AQHA Research committee, is a board member of the Midwest ARPAS, the Executive Director of the Equine Science Society, and the President-Elect for the Certified Horsemanship Association. He was awarded the 2019 ASAS Distinguished Teacher Award.

2019 Recipient: Shannon Pratt-Phillips

Shannon Pratt-Phillips is a professor in the Department of Animal Science at North Carolina State University (NCSU). She teaches in the field of equine science and nutrition, both via traditional classes and online. Her research focuses on glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, and obesity in horses. She is a NCSU Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor and won the Equine Science Society Outstanding Educator Award, the NCSU Outstanding Teacher Award, and the Gertrude Cox Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching and Learning with Technology, and is a North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Teacher Fellow. She is a member of the Equine Science Society, North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, American Society of Animal Science, American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition, and the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists. She is currently on the Board of Directors for the Equine Science Society and was host of the 2019 meeting.

Undergraduate Student Competition

1st place: B.J. Emmert, Michigan State University
2nd place: M. McKinney, University of Florida
3rd place: N. As-Siddiqui, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Exercise Science Graduate Student Competition

1st place: C.M. Latham, Texas A&M University
2nd place: A.R. Thompson, Tarleton State University
3rd place: A.A. Logan, Michigan State University

Equine Biosciences Graduate Student Competition

1st place: M.L. Tench, University of Florida
2nd place: E.L. Macon, University of Kentucky
3rd place: J. MacNicol, University of Guelph

Genetics Graduate Student Competition

1st place: Z. Williams, Michigan State University
2nd place: U. Tatu, University of California
3rd place: C.M. Frodella, Mississippi State University

Nutrition Graduate Student Competition

1st place: T.L. Hansen, University of Florida
2nd place: A.M. Grev, University of Minnesota
3rd place: A. Garber, University of Glasgow

Production and Management Graduate Student Competition

1st place: J.R. Weinert, Rutgers University
2nd place: N. Oliver, Middle Tennessee State University
3rd place: A.S. Reiter, University of Minnesota

Reproductive Physiology Graduate Student Competition

1st place: M. McQuagge, Colorado State University
2nd place: C.D. Sinclair, Kansas State University
3rd place: J. Shore, University of Arkansas

Teaching and Extension Graduate Student Competition

1st place: S.E. Kenderdine, Middle Tennessee State University
2nd place: A.E. Neu, University of Minnesota
3rd place: C. Wires, Purdue University

Journal of Equine Veterinary Science (JEVS) Graduate Student Publication Award

Awarded to the top two graduate students who presented research at the 2019 ESS Symposium and submitted their research for publication in JEVS within six months of the symposium.

1st place: T. Hansen, University of Florida
2nd place: J. Weinert, Rutgers University
1st alternate: S. Kenderdine, Middle Tennessee State University
2nd alternate: E. Macon, University of Kentucky

Award Sponsors

The Equine Science Society thanks the following sponsors for their generous support of the awards at the 2019 ESS Symposium.

  • Society Awards were sponsored by Kentucky Equine Research, Versailles, KY.
  • Graduate Student Competition Awards were sponsored by the North American Equine Ranching Information Council, Louisville, KY.
  • Undergraduate Student Competition Awards were sponsored by Alltech, Nicholasville, KY.
  • AFIA Equine Nutrition Award was sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), Arlington, VA.
  • American Society of Animal Science – Equine Science Society Equine Science Award sponsored by Zinpro, Eden Prairie, MN.
  • Journal of Equine Veterinary Science (JEVS) Graduate Student Publication Award was sponsored by JEVS.