The Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) will present its January 2013 “Touch of Class” Award to Kristen Wilson of Eldersburg and her national champion 4-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse mare, The Midnight Ride, during the Horse World Expo in Timonium this weekend.
"This award means everything to me," Wilson told Patch.
Originally from Annapolis, Wilson said it was growing up in Florida where her love for horses and riding flourished. Wilson spent her childhood and teen years riding and showing horses competitively. She earned degrees in Animal Sciences and Extension Education from the University of Florida and then returned to Maryland.
Wilson said she took a position with the University of Maryland as Extension Horse Specialist working primarily with the 4-H Horse Program and teaching in the 2 year Equine Business Management Program until August 2012.
While working fulltime, she showed The Midnight Ride and other horses regularly on weekends on the national walking horse circuit.
The MHIB, a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture, started the Touch of Class awards in September 2011 to honor Maryland horses and people who achieve national and international success. The award, which is presented every month, is named after “Touch of Class,” the Maryland-bred mare who won two Olympic Gold Medals in Showing Jumping in 1984 according to a news release.
"To be recognized for our accomplishments by my peers in the equine industry is one of the best recognitions I could ever receive as a rider and horse owner," Wilson said. "It also is reflective of our great team approach -- my trainer, Mikal Spooner had a huge part in all that Ryder (The Midnight Ride) has accomplished, not just me."
Wilson will accept the award Saturday, Jan. 19 at 4:30 p.m. at the Horse World Expo at the Maryland State Fair Grounds, 2200 York Road in Timonium.