The American Horse Council (AHC) presented the Van Ness Award to Ann M. Swinker, PhD, of University Park, Pennsylvania, on June 13 during the organization’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

The Van Ness 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. Van Ness was one of the organizers of the AHC’s Coalition of State Horse Councils.

“Dr. Swinker has dedicated more than 45 years of her professional life to the horse industry,” said AHC President Jay Hickey in presenting the award. “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.”

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 and a professor of equine science at Colorado State University. She most recently served as the Extension horse specialist and associate professor of equine sciences at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). At Penn State she was involved in the development of a number of cutting edge programs on behalf of their Extension programs. Most notably she is co-founder and chair of the Equine Environmental Stewardsh