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MD Barns Silver Spur Award Nominations Open

August 21, 2008     E-mail this page to a friend!

No words can describe the bond between you and your American Quarter Horse. AQHA and MD Barns know that finding the right words to describe your amazing horse is not easy. But to honor American Quarter Horses who have impacted the lives of humans through outstanding training, contribution or accomplishment, AQHA and MD Barns have created the MD Barns Silver Spur Award.

Tell the world about your special equine by nominating him or her for the MD Barns Silver Spur Award. Nominations for one of the American Quarter Horse Association’s most unforgettable awards close September 30, 2008.

The nominee must be a living, registered American Quarter Horse, and AQHA ownership records must be current at time of entry. In addition, the owner of the nominated horse must have a current AQHA membership.

Visit to download nomination forms and contest rules. Along with the entry form, please send one clear photo of the horse and an essay limited to 500 words to AQHA. No binders, VHS tapes, CDs, DVDs or letters of recommendation will be accepted.

The top five finalists will be placed on AQHA’s Web site November 3, where AQHA members who have an AQHA online personal identification number (PIN) will be allowed one vote. Voting will continue through December 31. This year’s award presentation will take place at the 2009 AQHA Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

The owner of the Silver Spur Award winner will receive a specially designed Montana Silversmiths belt buckle and a $25,000 MD Barns gift certificate. The first and second runners-up will receive a specially designed Montana Silversmiths belt buckle as well as other AQHA Corporate Partner products.

The 2007 MD Barns Silver Spur Award winner was Tippys Sugar Bar.

The bay mare changes the lives of kids. In fact, “Tippy” has had such an impact, she was nominated twice for the Silver Spur – once by a former rider and the other by the mother of a young boy who now sits tall in the saddle.

Sarah Johnson says her life changed 11 years ago when she met a big bay mare named Tippy. Sarah was born with half of her right arm and leg missing and only two fingers and a thumb on her left hand.

“I grew up with her, and she became the legs I never had but always wanted. As our relationship grew and strengthened so did my confidence,” Sarah said.

In the show pen, Tippy and Sarah earned the title of Reserve National Champion at the 2003 Exceptional Challenge Cup in Kansas City, Missouri. After a few years of showing together, the pair graduated to competitions not restricted to handicapped people and began to bring home many blue ribbons.

When Tippy turned 25, Sarah made the difficult and tearful decision to retire the mare and return her to her former home – a therapeutic school.

The senior mare didn’t like retirement. She began losing weight along with her zest for life.

Soon, Tippy would meet Stephen Orengo, who was born five weeks early and had his arm damaged during birth, and her magical powers would be unleashed again.

With Stephen on her back, Tippy was soon back to her old self, and the new team began collecting blue ribbons.

“Stephen really loves Tippy and has come out of his shell with horses,” said Stephen’s mom Tammy.

Stephen’s time riding Tippy has replaced the physical therapy he once needed for his arm. Stephen loves the mare and showers her with treats such as apples and sugar cubes. Tippy enjoys the treats, but she loves the kids even more.

Owner Dee Staley explains: You don’t give Tippy to a kid, you give the kid to Tippy, and Tippy takes care of all the rest.

For additional information on the MD Barns Silver Spur Award, visit or contact AQHA Director of Media Relations and Communications Specialist Jennifer Hancock by calling (806) 376-4811 or e-mail