New Jersey equine stalwart honored with Van Ness Award

Dr Ann Swinker
Dr Ann Swinker

Long-time equine professional Ann M Swinker PhD has received the Van Ness Award from the American Horse Council.

The award is presented annually to an individual who has shown leadership and service to the horse community in his or her state.  It is awarded in memory of Marjorie Van Ness, one of the founders of the New Jersey Horse Council.  Mrs. Van Ness was one of the organizers of the AHC’s Coalition of State Horse Councils.

“I am truly honored to have been chosen as the recipient of the Marjorie Van Ness award,” Dr Swinker said.

“It definitely takes more than one person, it takes an entire council, to get legislation and policy passed. I wish we could give an award to all the people that helped in Pennsylvania and in Colorado with past programs!”

In his presentation of the award, AHC President Jay Hickey noted Swinker had given more than 45 years of service to the horse industry.

“She has had a great influence on the development of state policies as they apply to horses, agriculture and people. Her success as a horseman, educator, and person are grounded in her commitment to people and her high standards for integrity,” Hickey said.

Swinker has been a board member on the Pennsylvania Equine Council for more than 16 years, and a representative on the State Horse Council Advisory Committee and Coalition of State Horse Councils since 1991 for both Colorado and Pennsylvania.

From 1990 to 2001, she served as the Extension Horse Specialist at Colorado State University and a professor of Equine Science. She most recently has been the Extension Horse Specialist and Associate Professor of Equine Sciences at Penn State University. At Penn State she was involved in the development of a number of cutting edge programs on behalf of their Extension Programs.  Most notably the “Equine Environmental Stewardship Program,” which has been recognized as one of the top programs in the nation, of which she is co-founder and chair.

She was also successful in the development of the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo, Pennsylvania World Horse Expo Educational Sessions, the Colorado Horse Development Authority, and the Penn State University Farm Bureau Club.

She has received several awards from the National Association of County Agricultural Agent and the American Society of Animal Science. She was also named “Horse Person of the Year” in 2001 by the Colorado Horse Council.

Her research activities have addressed several management and environmental issues such as: stable air quality, small acreage management, and composting and manure management, water quality, in addition to behavior and reproductive issues. She has served on numerous extension, university and professional society committees.

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