Merle Wood Humanitarian Award

Merle Wood Humanitarian Award

Dawn Forest received the 2015 Merle Wood Humanitarian Award at the 2016 AQHA Convention in Las Vegas.

Grand Hall, Hall of Fame & Museum, American Quarter Horse Foundation, American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum

text size

Dawn Forest of College Station, Texas, received the 2015 Merle Wood Humanitarian Award from the American Quarter Horse Foundation on March 13 at the 2016 AQHA Convention in Las Vegas.

Established in 1997 in honor of the late Merle Wood, this award recognizes an individual who exemplifies an ethic of kindness and benevolence in providing opportunities for young people to be involved with the American Quarter Horse.

Scared to death of horses, Forest didn’t start out like most horse-crazy kids. The mother of a daughter who became obsessed with the American Quarter Horse, Forest quickly learned the ropes. During daughter Katie Schroeder’s youth career, Forest became involved through various organizations and projects, traveling from show to show. She joined the Texas Quarter Horse Association Youth Committee, and spent the next 15-plus years on the show committee and as a youth director, all without ever touching a horse.

Forest began managing the TQHA Youth World Show team in 1997, and in 2000, she added the American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup responsibilities to her already busy plate. Her commitment to Texas youth is unwavering.

“She seeks out youth from all corners of the state to be members of the TQHYA team and enjoy the fun of the Ford Youth World Show” said Wanda Waters, TQHA past president. “She is paving a runway for a better future for AQHA with each youth she encourages and gets involved.”

Forest has had many roles while volunteering with TQHA, including serving as president in 2004, and she spends countless hours each year preparing for upcoming events. She is especially looking forward to 2018 when the Youth World Cup returns to College Station. On top of her activities with TQHA, Forest is an active volunteer for the Texas A&M University equestrian team and currently serves as a board member for the Texas A&M Equine Initiative.

“If there ever was a person who exemplifies the Merle Wood Humanitarian Award, that person is Dawn Forest,” said AQHA Professional Horsewoman Nancy Cahill of Madisonville, Texas.

The deadline for nominations for the 2016 Merle Wood Humanitarian Award is May 1, 2016. For more information, call 806-378-5029 or email

For more news on the Merle Wood Humanitarian Award, visit

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHAnews on Twitter and visit