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Meg Allen: FRANK OGLETREE YOUTH AWARD



Posted march 8, 2002
Editor's Note: The following speech was read by Brooke Jacobs at the ASHA Annual Convention Awards Banquet held on Saturday, February 23, 2002.
This evening, the American Saddlebred Horse Association awards the 17th Frank Ogletree Youth award. This award honors an outstanding young person who has demonstrated an ongoing commitment and dedication to the American Saddlebred, who serves as a positive role model, who has earned awards for accomplishments in horsemanship at the local, state or national levels of competition and who exemplifies true sportsmanship principles.

This year’s recipient is especially deserving. Having fallen in love with horses at the age of eight, this bright young lady managed to win the World Champion title in this year’s Open Seventeen Year Old Equitation class at the KY State Fair. What carried Meg Allen, this year’s Frank Ogletree Award honoree, to this level of competition, is what makes her so special. For unlike so many young people whose work for the blue consists solely of improving their equitation skills, Meg, has also had to work to financially support her horse activities.

As a sales rep for her father’s heating and cooling business in Elizabethtown, KY, as well as doing any available jobs at the barn with her trainer and cheerleader, Tammy Devore, Meg has managed as a teenager to do something most adults won’t or can’t do…support a horse and the expenses that go with it! She knew what she wanted and had the gumption to go out and do what it took to make her dream of riding and showing come true.

It was her dad who got her into this at the age of 8.Dad’s gift of Santana’s Flash and two years on the county fair circuit sealed her desire to make horses a part of her life. At ten she started working at the barn with Tammy in exchange for riding lessons. It was not until she was fourteen and could lease a suitable mount that she was able to return to the show ring. And in that first year "back in the saddle" she qualified for Madison Square Garden’s NHS Good Hands final as well as the Saddle and Bridle Pleasure Equitation Medallion finals though she could not afford to go to either.

As a fifteen year old, she once again qualified for the Saddle and Bridle Pleasure Equitation finals, this time on a leased, blind and unequitated horse. She worked even harder and managed to finance the trip to St. Louis for the Medallion finals. She didn’t win a ribbon, but was thrilled just being there competing!

In 2000, at age sixteen, Meg bought a three-year-old horse herself and won the Pleasure Equitation classes at Harrodsburg and Shelbyville. This horse was sold at the end of the summer before the finals and made Meg enough money to buy her "dream horse"…one which would show off her talents in her final year in juvenile classes in 2001. This horse was Stoneview’s Joy! With her steadfast friend, supporter and trainer, Tammy Devore, Meg hit the road with " Stoney" and came out on the winning end at Atlanta Pro Am, Rock Creek, Lexington Junior League, Decatur, a Reserve National UPHA National Senior Pleasure Equitation Championship and as stated before the World’s Championship at the KY State Fair in the Open 17 year old age division! She truly saved the best for last! What more need be said?

Well actually there is more to say about Meg. She is graduating from Elizabethtown High School this spring where she is an A/B student! She is a member of the Spanish and Pep clubs and represented her school at the Future Business Leaders of America! She plays Powder Puff football as well as being a reporter for her school’s yearbook and paper. Meg volunteers her time to Good Will where she puts together baskets for needy families at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Meg will continue her studies this fall at college!

Tammy Devore says of Meg…."Meg is a hardworking, dependable, caring and loyal young lady who I have had the privilege of instructing since she was eight year old….as well as getting to know as a friend. Meg is one who is always there supporting all of my riders even when she couldn’t show herself and ……always with a smile on her face!"

Past recipients of the Frank Ogletree award have been Heather Cairns, Vickie Gillenwater, Kate Harvey, David Antonacci, Lindsay Lavery, Nicole Bearman, Adolph Zell, Jennifer Richardson, Gabe Deknatel, Sarah Howe,Matthew Shiflet, Ann Mary Robertson, Will Cannon, Deveau Zubrod and myself. Frank Ogletree encouraged commitment and dedication and would be especially pleased with this years honoree. As a past recipient of this very prestigious award, it is indeed an honor to present this year’s honoree, Miss Meg Allen.

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