MSU Extension Equine Specialist Receives Award

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension equine specialist Karen Waite, MS, has been named a recipient of the 2011 Catalyst Award by the Michigan Horse Council. The award, founded in 1995, recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the Michigan horse industry.

Waite was honored at the Michigan Horse Council's annual meeting March 11 in Lansing. She received a plaque inscribed with the words, "Your efforts and communication have made a significant contribution to the renaissance of the Michigan Horse Industry. This year's Catalyst Award recipient has made an impact on the horse industry through education, leadership and innovation."

A product of the Michigan 4-H program, Waite's primary project focus areas were horses and teen leadership, and she grew up participating in showmanship, pleasure, and equitation classes, and horse judging. She attended MSU on a 4-H Foundation scholarship, graduating with bachelor's degrees in education and animal science and a master's degree in animal science with a nutrition emphasis. Waite is presently completing her doctoral degree in the area of sports psychology with an emphasis on equestrian sports and activities.

Currently an MSU Extension equine specialist, Waite oversees the Michigan 4-H equine youth program and advises undergraduate and graduate students in the MSU Department of Animal Science. She also serves as the faculty advisor for the MSU Equestrian Team and the MSU Horsemen's Association and is a co-coach for the MSU Horse Judging Team. Certified by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association as a therapeutic riding instructor, Waite oversees the Michigan 4-H Proud Equestrians Program, a therapeutic horseback riding program for riders with disabilities and the volunteers who work with them.

Waite is a carded judge with the American Buckskin Registry Association and exhibits horses on the Palomino and Quarter Horse circuits locally, regionally, and nationally. She serves as the vice president of the American Youth Horse Council, is a member of the Board of Directors for the Michigan Quarter Horse Association and the Michigan Equine Partnership, and acts as the chairperson of the Michigan Horse Council Education Committee.

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