Minnesota Horse Council Announces 2022 Horse Person of the Year

                                            Rae Ann Bartz

Since 1970 the Minnesota Horse Council has bestowed the honor of the Horseperson of the Year to both individuals and on a few occasions, couples who have met all the requirements to have earned this honor. The requirements are a long term commitment to the equine horse industry in Minnesota, including the other Midwest States. Professional or Amateur, the committee looks for that special person or persons who has contributed in the various areas that our Equine industry touches. Often the individual or individuals have been horse owners for a number of years, but it is not a requirement. The committee is very aware of those persons who have worked “behind the lines” to help others to great achievements. In the actual words of our mission statement, we look for a mature individual and have an excellent character in this industry. 

 The honoree or honorees should also be recognized by members of a number of horse-related groups (this does not necessarily include horse-ownership therapy groups) and perhaps recognized by the general population.
At the Minnesota Horse Council Annual Meeting on January 21, the Horseperson of the Year was
awarded to Rae Ann Bartz. RaeAnn grew up in McIntosh, Minnesota. Rae Ann has been involved in 4-H and horses all her life. She received her Associate of Applied Science degree from the University of Minnesota, Crookston in Light horse Management in 1974. She was the FIRST female at the University of Crookston to compete on the General Livestock Judging Team. She also graduated from the Minnesota School of Horse Shoeing and has been a farrier for 35 years.
Rae Ann was an exhibitor at the first State 4-H Horse Show in Minnesota and Since then she has served in various leadership roles in every State 4-H Horse show since. She was the Chairman of the State Show for over 10 years. She has volunteered as a judge, serving on the State 4-H Horse Show Committee, chairedthe 4-H Horse Judging Contest as well as many, many other activities. One of the special activities thatoccurs at the State 4-H Horse Show is the Grand Entry on Saturday night. RaeAnn has choreographed this event, like forever! Youth leaders who have met special criteria are nominated to represent their counties in the choreographed parade that honors their leadership. With only 1 hour of practice (often past midnight on Friday night), 85 or more youth carry their county flag and entertain the crowd with an amazing performance! No Rodeo on the Cowboy Channel can hold a candle to Rae Ann’s Grand Entry of 4-Hers!
When the Minnesota Horse Expo approached the 4-H Horse Project regarding the Tack and Clothing Sale at the Minnesota Horse Expo, RaeAnn developed the proposal for the Tack Sale and chaired the Tack Sale for many years. RaeAnn has touched the lives of hundreds of young people through her work with the Kandiyohi County Horse Project, the Minnesota State Horse Project and the Arabian Horse Association.
She has been the voice of encouragement, setting expectations for youth that they work hard to achieve, been the voice of tough love when needed and the voice of comfort and understanding.
Rae Ann along with Lyle Wick developed the State 4-H Horse Training and Achievement Program that has become a major part of the Minnesota 4-H.
Rae Ann enjoys horse judging and has coached horse judging teams since 1975. Rae Ann’s teams have earned trips to many National horse judging contests consistency placing and winning those contests. She has a talent for working with youth and helping them develop to their highest potential. Her work with judging teams—preparing them for judging and for giving reasons, a skill most hated and didn’t ever realize how important a skill it would be until much later, has given her much satisfaction in watching youth grow and develop. Traveling with teams to National Horse Judging contests has led to memorable experiences.
Rae Ann currently owns Equine Connections in Olivia and specializes in Arabians, Half-Arabians and Morgans. She also works with all breeds and disciplines. In her spare time, she also works in equine therapy which continues to be so awarding as she sees the success her clients receive through bonding with the horse. Rae Ann is an advocate for all breeds and most especially All Youth! Do you have a question about 4-H? When I do, I call RaeAnn! SO....the committee recognized the motion by Cherlyn Becker! We hereby, second the nomination and am thrilled to introduce you all to Rae Ann Bartz, the Minnesota Horse Council’s 2022
Horseperson of the Year!
The Minnesota Horse Council recognizes her many contributions to the horse community of Minnesota with this award and a plaque to hang in the MHC Horseperson of the Year display located in the Coliseum at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

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