Merle Wood Humanitarian Award

Merle Wood Humanitarian Award

Nancy Cahill received the 2021 Merle Wood Humanitarian Award at the 2022 AQHA Convention in Las Vegas.

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Nancy Cahill of Madisonville, Texas, received the 2021 Merle Wood Humanitarian Award from the American Quarter Horse Foundation at the 2022 AQHA Convention in Las Vegas.

Watch the 2021 Merle Wood Humanitarian Award Winner video.

Established in 1997 in honor of the late Merle Wood, this award recognizes individuals who exemplify an ethic of kindness and benevolence in providing opportunities for young people to be involved with the American Quarter Horse. The award exemplifies the Foundation’s mission to connect horses and people through charitable giving to develop and support programs and initiatives that preserve the legacy and further the overall wellbeing of the American Quarter Horse and the people in the Quarter Horse family.

A longtime American Quarter Horse enthusiast, Cahill has been involved with the equine industry for more than 50 years. Her heart not only led her to horses, but to also share her passion for horses with others. A founding member of the Texas Quarter Horse Association, she has served on the AQHA Board of Directors, Youth Committee, Halter and Performance Committee, and Foundation Scholarship Committee. She is also the current vice president of the TQHA Foundation whose primary focus is on youth scholarships.

In 1996, Cahill was recognized as the AQHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year. In 2005, TQHA honored her with the TQHA Most Valuable Professional Award. She was also selected as a member of Team Wrangler in 2018 and has volunteered to instruct free Ride the Pattern Clinics over the years. A passion for youth and a love of horses, Cahill exemplifies service and selflessness through her dedication to paving a future for youth.

Past Merle Wood Humanitarian Award Recipients

  • 2020 Gail Mann, Scio, Oregon

  • 2019 Sandy Huebner, O’Fallon, Missouri

  • 2018 Ed McNelis, Nampa, Idaho

  • 2018 Ruti Shadmot, Israel

  • 2017 Butch Hammer, Norwalk, Iowa

  • 2016 Cathy Hanson, Fallbrook, California

  • 2015 Dawn Forrest, College Station, Texas

  • 2014 Pat Hunt, Cannelton, Indiana

  • 2013 Betty L. Flarida, Springfield, Ohio

  • 2012 Judy Bonham, Norco, California

  • 2011 Homer Stude, Wright City, Missouri

  • 2010 No Recipient

  • 2009 Laurel Walker-Denton, Skull Valley, Arizona

  • 2008 Col. Earl Lilley, Emmett, Idaho

  • 2007 Joyce McDonald, Great Falls, Montana

  • 2006 Willard A. Rhodes, Southern Pines, North Carolina

  • 2005 Dr. John Yost, Hastings, Nebraska

  • 2004 Jerry Hedrick, Olathe, Kansas

  • 2003 Cliff Keesee, Bluff City, Tennessee

  • 2002 Dr. David Whitaker, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

  • 2001 Charles Watkins Sr., Atchison, Kansas

  • 2000 Richard Fortner, Lincoln, Nebraska

  • 1999 Anne B. Marion, Fort Worth, Texas

  • 1998 LaRue Sauers, Sedalia, Missouri

  • 1997 Mary H. Hopkins, Vicksburg, Mississippi

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