Adding to the ongoing list of awards received by William Woods University equestrian faculty, adjunct faculty member Karen Craighead was honored Feb.1 during the American Youth Horse Council Annual Leadership Conference in St. Louis.
Craighead, who teaches western riding at William Woods, was one of the top three finalists chosen from throughout the United States and Canada for the 2002 National Youth Horse Leader of the Year Award.
The award is given annually by the American Youth Horse Council. Craighead was a finalist last year, as well. The two other honorees this year were from Pennsylvania and Calgary, Canada.
“Receiving this honor has made me stronger in my commitment to youth and education,” said Craighead. “It makes it all worthwhile that you are actually getting through to them. ”
To be eligible for the award, a person must first be nominated by peers; students and other youth can then send letters of recommendation. The criteria for the award include areas of leadership, education and work with youth.
The Fulton resident has remained heavily involved in youth activities. She works closely with 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA); she helped start the Missouri state FFA horse judging competition in the mid-90s, and she operates a training barn with her husband Bud just east of Fulton.
Craighead participates in a variety of horse associations, including American Quarter Horse Association, Missouri Quarter Horse Association, American Paint Horse Association and American Pinto Horse Association. She also serves on the board directors for the Missouri Horse Show Association and as a board member for Missouri Equine Council.
“All I’ve ever done is horses,” explained Craighead. “It’s great to take an occupation that you enjoy and then teach young people to enjoy it also.”