AHC Presents Van Ness Award to Iowa's Sally Blount

The American Horse Council presented its annual 2009 Van Ness award to Sally Blount during the group's National Issues Forum on June 16 in Washington, D.C.

The award is named for the late Marjorie Van Ness, and is sponsored by New Jersey Horse Council.

"Sally has worked tirelessly to maintain a thriving horse industry in her state and her community," said AHC President Jay Hickey. "She has been an Iowa Horse Council board member for nearly 30 years and the representative to the State Horse Council Advisory Committee for much of that time."

Blount has worked on projects with various youth groups, including 4-H, Future Farmers of America, and Ag in the Classroom. Her nominating materials noted that she has answered questions about horses from all over the country for 40 years.

The 2009 Van Ness Award winner is no stranger to the Iowa statehouse. She wrote, lobbied for, and succeeded in passing Iowa's Equine Liability legislation. She also lobbied for passage of the Iowa pari-mutuel horse racing legislation. After it passed, she served as a timer at the Iowa State Fair racetrack.

She helped to publish the Iowa Horse Industry Facts, which includes data about the horse industry, shows, attendance, and more, and formulated the idea of an exhibition of the horse in Iowa history. She and Carolyn Hasbrook then pitched the idea to the Iowa Historical Society, resulting in the "Hay Days: The Horse in Iowa History" exhibit, which opened in 1998.

"It is important to note that Sally's opinions are not always the popular opinion or met with favor by others, but no one can question that she has the best intentions and the interest of the horse, the club, and horse activities uppermost," her nomination materials read.

Hickey agreed, saying "That is a wonderful compliment and having been on the receiving line of some of those opinions, I agree with it. She has those interests at the center of her core."

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