Professionals of the Year Announced at Convention

AQHA honored Dan Trein, Holly Hover and Gretchen Mathes at the 2018 AQHA Convention in Jacksonville, Florida.

American Quarter Horse Association

The Don Burt Professional Horseman of the Year, AQHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year and Most Valuable Professional awards were presented on March 4 at the 2018 AQHA Convention.

Three industry professionals were recognized by their peers March 4 at the 2018 American Quarter Horse Association Convention in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Don Burt Professional Horseman of the Year, AQHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year and Most Valuable Professional awards were presented during the Association’s General Membership Meeting. These individuals will also be recognized at the AQHA Awards Celebration November 11 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, coinciding with the 2018 Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show. 

Dan Trein
The 2017 Don Burt Professional Horseman of the Year is Dan Trein of Seville, Ohio. Trein has served AQHA for more than 60 years in a number of capacities including coach, judge and volunteer. He has dedicated his time to bettering the breed and the members of the Association. During Trein’s time as a judge, he has judged the Lucas Oil World four times; the AQHA Select World Championship Show, presented by Adequan® (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan); and the National Snaffle Bit Association World Show.

Trein began his training career in Seville in 1970. He has worked hard to give back to the equine community and to share his knowledge of the equine industry with others. As a trainer, he has coached amateur and youth competitors to world championship titles, year-end awards and numerous top-10 and top-five placings at championship shows.

Over the years, he has given his time to AQHA as a volunteer for the AQHA World Show Subcommittee, Professional Horsemen’s Council, Show Council, Judges Committee and as a national director for seven years. Trein is an AQHA Team Wrangler member, and has also been recognized as an Ohio Quarter Horse Association Affiliate Most Valuable Professional.

Holly Hover
The 2017 AQHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year is Holly Hover of Cave Creek, Arizona. With more than 45 years of service as a professional horsewoman, Hover has been involved as a judge, trainer and, more importantly, as a mentor to her youth and amateur competitors.

Hover is the head western coach for the Arizona State University equestrian team and is also a volunteer coach for an Interscholastic Equestrian Association team. Through the years, she has assisted with the American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup and helped format the AQHA Level 1 Championships. One of Hover’s passions is to teach amateur and youth competitors about horsemanship and riding in general. Her skills as a trainer are evident in the numerous world and reserve world champions she has assisted through the years.

As a judge, she holds cards with AQHA, NSBA, as well as the National Reining Horse and American Paint Horse associations. She has judged the Lucas Oil World 11 times, the All American Quarter Horse Congress six times and has officiated seven international events. She has volunteered for AQHA, as well, by serving on various AQHA committees through the years.

Gretchen Mathes
The 2017 Most Valuable Professional is Gretchen Mathes of Harwinton, Connecticut. Mathes is an avid horsewoman and volunteer for AQHA. She has given her time and knowledge to her fellow members and continues to advocate for the American Quarter Horse through her involvement with organizations such as NRHA, NSBA and the National Cutting Horse Association.

For 46 years, Mathes has operated Powder Brook Farm and has coached AQHA amateur and youth competitors to world and reserve world championship titles. Mathes is also the current president of the Connecticut Quarter Horse Association, an AQHA director for eastern states and serves on the AQHA Stud Book and Registration Committee.  

Regardless of her impressive resume, Mathes is known in her community as a selfless professional who is always eager to help others. She is passionate about the American Quarter Horse and teaching others that the horse always comes first. As an upstanding professional in Connecticut and AQHA Team Wrangler member, she has made it her mission to support the breed and its members through fundraisers, advocating for the horse and teaching riders to be better horsemen and women.

About the Professional Horsemen of the Year Awards
Being named an AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year is one of the top awards of the equine industry. These individuals were nominated and voted on by their peers.

Congratulations to the 2017 professionals of the year. Look for more information on this year’s winners in the November issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal.

For more coverage of the 2018 AQHA Convention, visit

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