Maggie O’Leary receives Vera Chenoweth Outstanding Equestrian Graduate Award

Maggie O’Leary of Florissant, Mo., is the 2012 Vera Chenoweth
Outstanding Equestrian Graduate at William Woods University.
The award is given annually to the equestrian senior
recognized as the most
outstanding graduate in the
equestrian studies division. The Chenoweth Award winner is that person who has given
the most to the total department
over the course
of their career at
WWU. The selection is made by the entire equestrian studies faculty.
O’Leary stayed in Fulton and
worked two summers for the equestrian studies division and the Summer Riding

She also managed and lived at the WWU
annex both her junior and senior years.
The annex, a small facility just off campus, has a six-box-stall barn,
outdoor paddocks and a small house. The horses that are there are on lay-up, thus the manager is in charge of any
special care that they might
require, as well as all normal horse needs.
The annex position also calls for one
to be available to haul horses to or from campus many times a week. Mike
Wessel, WWU stable manager, said of
O’Leary, “No matter what time of day it was, or where you were, she was always
willing to help.”
“When talking to Maggie,” Dr. Linda
McClaren, hunt seat professor,
remarked, “it was as if what it
was that you needed her to do was
exactly what she already had in mind; even her texts were like that.”

Karen Pautz, WWU dressage instructor
said, “Maggie worked at WWU for two summers, went to every dressage show she
could, rode in clinics,
worked for a FEI judge/trainer
for a summer and said
‘yes’ to every favor I ever asked of her.”

O’Leary took advantage of almost everything the
equestrian studies division had to offer. If there was an
equestrian elective, she took it, including such courses as Origins of
Modern Riding, Origins of Breeds, Conflicts and Controversies in the Equine
Industry and Therapeutic Riding.

She made a point to be
involved; she was “out for everybody,” not just herself.
Mike Wessel, reflecting on recipients of the Vera
Chenoweth Award, including O’Leary, said “They all have had a special
personality; one that you know is
going to take them somewhere in life.”