Horse Illustrated chose the following from many great entries sent in by readers nominating their favorite female equine industry trailblazers.
With a never-ceasing need to learn more about horses, she is now on her biggest Trailblazing adventure. Her Quest is now to ride every breed of horse in the world and to document that journey for others to learn about, enjoy and protect the animal of her heart, the horse. This is something that has never been done, a true Trailblazer. She has developed a website called www.Discoverthehorse.com that allows anyone to join the journey. She will introduce breeds, their strengths, their breeding, their homeland and the continued struggle to keep certain breeds alive-a Trailblazer. Recently she became a licensed drone pilot so she can film from the sky to add different perspectives to her videos. Just recently she heard from a parent of a 2-year-old that had frequent night terrors. He found one of Alyssa’s one-hour relaxation videos with horses. He played this for his son and it relaxed him right away—a Trailblazer She wants to share her passion and love of horses to others and guide them in their journeys into the world of horses. I know that this is not just a dream. She WILL do this! Why am I so sure? Because her whole life she has been one that blazes a trail to guide others, a Trailblazer!
—Nominated by Rhonda Engness
Elizabeth ‘Lili’ Kellogg
Elizabeth ‘Lili’ Kellogg deserves Horse Illustrated’s “Female Trailblazer” Award, because she is one of the early pioneers of therapeutic horsemanship and continues to be a powerful advocate. Today, she serves as CEO of Dallas-based Equest (www.equest.org), the first Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) Premier Accredited Center in Texas and one of the largest in the country. She is also a board member of PATH Intl. Kellogg received her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from Colorado State University and has been involved in the therapeutic riding industry since 1987. She is certified from PATH Intl. as a master instructor (one of 24 in the world), site visitor, and faculty/evaluator. She has coached equestrian teams at national and international levels, including the 1996 Paralympics. Lili has served on numerous boards, committees and task forces to advance the industry, meanwhile establishing a world-class reputation of excellence for Equest’s programs, services and therapies. In 2000, Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal visited Equest where Lili gave her a tour of the facility and prepared riding demos. In 2002, Lili received the PATH Intl. James Brady Professional Achievement Award, the highest honor in the therapeutic riding industry. Before taking the helm at Equest, she served as the executive director of SIRE in Houston, the director of ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship in McKinney, and the program director and interim CEO at Equest. Prior to moving to Texas in 1984, she served on the faculty in the Equine Management Department of the University of Minnesota Technical College, Waseca.
—Nominated by Susan Friedman
I nominate Nadia Heffner of Double H Horse Farm. Nadia is an exceptional trainer of show horses, but her forte lies within her work with wild Mustangs. Her liberty acts are spellbinding! She is truly a horse whisperer. She will be participating in the Mustang Makeover again this year. In the past she placed in the top four!!!! Her many years of wisdom and knowledge make her a true equine trailblazer.
—Nominated by Michelle M. Eberle
I’ve read Heather’s book, Confessions of a Timid Rider, and was blown away by her raw honesty. She basically says what most of us riders are too scared to admit. By starting the conversation, she is opening up and saying it’s ok to have fear and be brave at the same time. She’s also a fierce advocate for supporting other woman in the equestrian world. While everyone is trying to tear everyone else down, Heather is building the bridge for community.
—Nominated by Jamie Baldanza
Thank you to all those who nominated our Female Equine Industry Trailblazers. Winners of our Female Equine Industry Trailblazers Contest will receive a subscription to Horse Illustrated.