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AMHA Announces Youth Of The Year Contest Winners

The 2011 American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) Youth of the Year Contest took place at this year's Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show™, held October 8-15 at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City. It is with great enthusiasm that AMHA honors Kate Foy of Kingston, New Hampshire, and Louisville, Kentucky, as its 2011 Youth of the Year winner, and Irina Shavlik of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, as the reserve champion.

The contestants participate in a rigorous four-part test throughout the course of two days. Included are a written exam, an oral presentation and interview, a ridden or driven horsemanship pattern, and a judging division with a reasons portion. Foy placed first in both the oral presentation and written exam and received second place in the horse judging portion. The winner of this prestigious contest earns a custom-designed awards package valued at $2,500. Shavlik was second in the written exam and won the Horsemanship portion of the contest, giving her the Brooke Burress Memorial Trophy. She also has earned a custom-designed awards package for her accomplishment.

Foy is a senior at the University of Louisville and is working toward degree in Equine Administration. She would like to get a job in the horse industry and graduate school is a future possibility. Shavlik is a senior at White Bear Lake Area High School and will be attending the University of Wisconsin, Madison next fall.

"It is really amazing to win after working for so long toward it!" Foy said. "Being able to count my name in the ranks of past winners is a huge honor."

"The Youth of the Year Finals was a great experience," Shavlik said. "The program and the contest have helped me to become a well-educated horseperson, a more rounded rider, an informed Morgan judge, and a better public speaker. I think the AMHA has a great youth program and I encourage everyone to take part in it. I will definitely be back for more!"

"Organizing this contest and actually being a part of it to make it happen was so rewarding," said Taylor Royals, AMHA Youth Coordinator. "Seeing the contestants have fun and succeed brought back many memories I have of my youth years in the Morgan world." The winner's package is generously sponsored by the Cynthia Elaine Epperson Trust. 

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