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Klinger Perpetual Award for Honor & Service

The EQUUS Foundation is proud to support the Washington International Horse Show Klinger Perpetual Award for Honor & Service. The award recognizes a horse, individual or organization each year that best demonstrates the values of honor and service as embodied by Klinger.

The award recipient will be recognized in center ring with Klinger during the annual Military Night at the Washington International Horse Show. The award recipient will have the opportunity to select an equine charity on the EQUUS Foundation Equine Welfare Network to receive a $750 grant from the EQUUS Foundation and a matching $750 grant from the Stephens Family.

The Klinger Perpetual Award for Honor and Service was created in 2013 following the induction of Klinger into the Horse Stars Hall of Fame in 2013. Klinger has touched the lives of many through his life of service with the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Caisson Platoon. Klinger has served as the official escort to the President of the United States, led the Presidential Inaugural Parade, and acted as a TAPS Ambassador bringing comfort to veterans and families of our fallen heroes.

Check back in July to submit a nomination.


2018 - Big "D" & Sergeant Russel Robar

L to R: John E. Franzreb III, Klinger, SFC Christopher Taffoya, Denise Quirk, PhD, Katherine Pinkard, Victoria Lowell, Emma Suarez-Murias, SGT Russel Robar, Big D, Officer John Potter and Officer Eric Grove
Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography

Big D is a 16-year-old palomino draft cross named in honor of fallen officer Forrest Edward "Dino" Taylor. Sergeant Russel Robar, leader of the Baltimore Police Mounted Unit, and "Dino," have been partnered since 2016, when Robar joined the unit.

Baltimore's mounted police unit has helped keep the city's peace since 1886. As the unit's leader, Sergeant Robar makes sure the unit continues to serve as a positive and efficient force in Maryland while maintaining its recognition as the oldest continually operated unit in the United States. The pair leads the unit in over 170 community and service events each year.

"Dino's our alpha lead horse and a no-nonsense workhorse," Robar said. Dino and most of the unit's horses came from Amish farms and were retired after years of pulling plows and farm wagons. "The children on the Amish farms would be climbing all over them. They're used to people," Robar said. These horses are well suited for the routine patrols of city streets and their crowd control duties. Big D and the seven other equine members of the unit also serve as a model to teach Baltimore youth about the value of public service.

Currently stabled downtown, the unit is scheduled to get a new home. The grant awarded to the Klinger Recipient will be used to help construct an equestrian facility on the property of the B&O Railroad Museum to address the needs of the Baltimore Police Mounted Unit's human and equine officers as well as to create new and strengthen existing partnerships between the Baltimore City Police and the people of Baltimore. The interactive learning site will provide visitors with an immersive educational experience with planned programs, activities, and demonstrations to build positive interaction between the community and Baltimore City Police officers - both two and four-legged.

2017 - Admiral

Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography

Admiral is a mainstay of the equine-assisted activities and therapies programs at Bridle Paths in Leesburg, Virginia. This gentle giant, a 12 year old Percheron-Thoroughbred cross gelding standing 17 .3 hands high, serves with honor in all facets of the program.

Admiral demonstrates sensitivity, kindness, and even humor in challenging clients to transform struggles into triumphs, cultivating resilience along the way. His strength, leadership, and benevolence in the herd are powerful examples for each person with whom he works. Admiral helps clients whose trust and boundaries have been destroyed by trauma to rebuild relationships based on respect, acceptance, and understanding.

Perhaps nowhere does Admiral shine more than in his work with veterans, service members, and their families. In both mounted and unmounted work, he inspires those who serve to connect with honesty and authenticity, and to lead with clarity, consistency, and integrity.

Through his work with the Bridle Paths program, Admiral builds relationships in which clients can be genuine and sincere, think clearly about their challenges, and achieve growth, learning, and healing.

2016 - Maryland Horse Discovery Center Network

John E. Franzreb III, Beverly Raymond, Jim Steele, Kathleen Tabor, Esq., Karen Fulton, Ross Peddicord, Vicki Lowell, Lynn Coakley, Alison Borris, Klinger and SFC Jeffery Tyree. Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography

Under the leadership of the Maryland Horse Industry Board Chair, Jim Steele, the Horse Discovery Center Network was established in 2015. "Like the horse Klinger, the goal is to showcase the best of the horse world, give the public the opportunity to enjoy these wonderful animals and help our industry prosper and grow", said Executive Director Ross Peddicord. It's hard to imagine a future without horses, but the Maryland Horse Industry Board continuously heard a litany of terrible first-time experiences with horses. "It became obvious to us that despite the over 700 riding schools and boarding barns operating in Maryland that we needed to a establish network where folks could encounter horses in a safe, friendly and knowledgeable environment", said Peddicord.

Four workshops were scheduled across the state at which over 60 stable operators gathered to develop criteria for the network centers. 46 applications were received. The inspection team, including equine attorney Kathleen Tabor and Bev Raymond, winner of the American Horse Council's Van Ness Award, traveled over 3,000 miles in a three-month period to inspect facilities, make sure they had airtight insurance policies, bomb proof horses and programs in place to teach very basic horsemanship and riding instruction. Eventually 35 centers in 15 counties were certified.

2015 - Andy

Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography

Everyone would agree at the Loudoun Therapeutic Riding Program in Leesburg, Virginia, that the Haflinger pony Andy "serves by choice". He is opinionated and will openly protest submitting to the will of his human leaders. However, he transforms into the embodiment of service and honor when in the presence of adults and children with emotional, physical or cognitive challenges. For this reason, his service is all the more beautiful - a true gift to all those who work with him and benefit from his work."

He is completely trustworthy, a steady presence, and serves with equal talent and participation in multiple disciplines (e.g., therapeutic horseback riding, hippotherapy, carriage driving,equine facilitated learning,trauma recovery, Equine Gestalt Coaching Method). He adjusts his behavior depending on the setting,the client, and the therapeutic modality, and excels in all of them to make each session with him very special. He tunes into the needs of each participant with uncanny perception.

2014 - KIPP DC Riding Team

Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography

The KIPP DC Riding Team was founded in 2007 by Lelac Almagor, a teacher with KIPP DC, which describes itself as part of a national network of public schools that prepares students in underserved communities for success in college and in life. KIPP builds a partnership among parents, students, and teachers that puts learning first. Over 86 percent of KIPP students are from low-income families.

None of the students on the riding team had ever been on a horse before joining the team. As they learn horse care, horsemanship, grooming and tacking, and equitation, they learn learn independence, creative problem-solving, compassion, and teamwork. Their experience has deepened their connection to school, their empathy for others, and their commitment to their own futures.

2013 - Klinger

Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography

The WIHS Klinger Perpetual Award for Honor and Service was created in 2013 to honor Klinger, a special horse who has touched the lives of many in his life of service with the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Caisson Platoon. Among his duties, Klinger has served as the official escort to the President of the United States, led the Presidential Inaugural Parade, and acted as a TAPS Ambassador bringing comfort to veterans and families of our fallen heroes.

Klinger was one of the inaugural inductees of the Horse Stars Hall of Fame, a joint program of the EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation CELEBRATING the extraordinary talent of horses and the magical bond between horses and people; HONORING the contributions of amazing horses; SHARING the stories of their athletic and humanitarian feats; and BUILDING a more informed and compassionate America that values the impact of horses in our lives.

Klinger has also been an important part of the Washington International Horse Show for many years – visiting with children on WIHS Kids' Day, joining the Breakfast with the Mounted Police, and participating in the Caisson Platoon Exhibition on WIHS Military Night.

Learn more about Klinger HERE.