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UPHA Herman Miles Horse Show Manager of the Year – Fred Nava

Editor's Note: The following speech was read by Ann Anderson, Friday, Jan.6, 2006 at the UPHA/AHHS Convention in St. Louis, Mo.

By definition, a horse show manager wears a variety of hats. He or she has to be a leader, a diplomat, a general contractor, a party coordinator, a financial advisor, a policeman and a hand-holder, among other things.  Our UPHA Horse Show Manager of the Year is all that and more. This year's honoree has faced all these job responsibilities together with the unique challenge of producing the oldest and second-largest Morgan show in the country at a sadly outdated county fairgrounds.  The UPHA is proud to recognize the many talents of Fred Nava, manager of the New England Morgan Horse Show, as the 2005 Show Manager of the Year.

The New England Morgan Horse Show, or NEMHS, began in 1939 as the original National Morgan Horse Show.  It moved to the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton, Mass., in 1952, and has been held there the last week in July ever since.  When the concept of a centrally located national Morgan show became a reality with the Grand National in Oklahoma City, the old show became known as the New England Morgan Region 1 Championship Horse Show.  In Morgan circles, however, it is often referred to simply as “Northampton,” similar to Louisville, Kansas City or OKC.

When Fred took over as manager in the late 1990's, he inherited a horse show that had been declining for years for a number of reasons, many revolving around the aging fairgrounds. Both the size and tradition of the show prohibit its move to another facility, leaving Fred faced with the monumental task of rebuilding and growing the horse show in its existing location. But Fred had a vision for this show, and immediately went to work to bring his vision to reality. Always mindful of preserving New England's very unique tradition and flavor, Fred instituted plans to improve the show, assisted by his hard-working wife Christine and enthusiastic show chairman Molly O'Brien.

Fred has worked on every aspect of the show to restore it to its place of prominence in the Morgan industry.  No detail is too small to escape his attention, no voice too small to be heard. Radical changes to the ring footing, the prize list and class offerings, traffic flow and parking, awards and hospitality have paid off in spades.  The development and implementation of the Pinnacle Awards, a unique prize money program, has added to the allure of the event by providing significant financial rewards to the show's 12 major championships.  As an example of the kind of support and recognition Fred has garnered for NEHMS, three Morgan trainers, Peggy Alderman, Rick Lane and Rick Stevens, pledged $30,000 from an auction they produced to present a $10,000 winner-take-all prize to the show's Amateur English Pleasure Champion for the past three years.

Under Fred's management, New England Morgan has grown from five days to seven days, with three rings running concurrently most of the time.  Entries have increased from under 600 to over 900.  But it has become more than just another horse show - it's a major social event on the Morgan calendar. Each year the show hosts a camper village of close to 250, horse auctions, the prestigious Breeders Sweepstakes, fundraisers, exhibitions of past champions, and retirement ceremonies of industry greats.  In 2005 Fred welcomed UPHA Chapter 14 when they wanted to hold a barbeque fundraiser to benefit the UPHA Benevolent Fund.  With Fred's complete support and promotion of the event, Chapter 14 raised over $5,000 for the fund which turned into more than $10,000 with the matching funds from Lynn Via's Fox Grape Farm.

Equally competent running a grader or a computer program, equally attentive to the concerns of a groom or a major financial sponsor, equally comfortable working in shorts in the blazing sun or wearing a tuxedo in the judges box, Fred Nava is what a great show manager is all about.  His background running a construction company has helped him in dealing with the old fairgrounds. His experiences as an exhibitor have made him sensitive to their concerns.  Most of all, his marriage to a very special woman and tireless partner, Christine, make him perfect for this formidable job.

Fred's untiring efforts and ongoing improvements to the show have earned him the support and respect of trainers and exhibitors alike from across the country.  The show is once more truly national in scope, bringing stables from both coasts and everywhere in between.  Northampton is again the place to be during the last week in July.

To speak of New England Morgan is to speak of our honoree, Fred Nava, because he has become the spirit of this horse show. There are people in this world who excel at creating a vision and others who are great at following a plan. Our honoree is that rare individual who can not only dream, but can bring that dream to reality, while inspiring those around him to work shoulder to shoulder in support of that dream.  It is my pleasure to introduce you to Frederick J. Nava, 2005 Horse Show Manager of the Year.

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