Professionals of the Year Announced

Professionals of the Year Announced

AQHA honors John Pipkin, Cindy Hale and Robin Frid as the 2022 AQHA Professionals of the Year.

running horse herd (Credit: Kellie Pierson Geddes)

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The American Quarter Horse Association is proud to announce the 2022 Nutrena Don Burt AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year, Nutrena AQHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year and Most Valuable Professional award winners.

John Pipkin
The 2022 Nutrena Don Burt AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year is John Pipkin of Canyon, Texas. Pipkin is an AQHA director and currently serves on the AQHA Judges Committee and World Conformation Horse Association Judges Committee. He has been an AQHA approved judge since 1992. He previously served as the chairman of AQHA show council, as well as AQHA judges, show, professional horsemen, equine research and show violations hearing committees. Pipkin is a director and officer of the National Horse Judging Team Coaches Association and has been involved in the equine industry for over 40 years.

Pipkin has developed educational and testing materials for the AQHA judging program and has been instrumental in developing many of the scoring systems currently used to judge classes such as western riding, trail, showmanship, horsemanship and equitation classes. Prior to entering his current profession, he trained and showed professionally in halter, reining, working cow horse, western pleasure, western riding, trail and other classes.

He is devoted to his work of educating young people who are pursuing their dreams in the horse industry. Pipkin’s heart and dedication to his vocation have led to extraordinary success in his field and the success of his students as he encourages them to pursue excellence with integrity, commitment and class.

Cindy Hale
The 2022 Nutrena AQHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year is Cindy Hale of Perryton, Texas.

Hale has supported and promoted American Quarter Horse Youth Association activities and events her entire career. She has donated her time in many capacities to assist and advance the youth of our industry. She has served as a Nutrena Ride the Pattern clinician at multiple AQHA championship shows and has dedicated many years as an AQHA-approved judge.  

Hale has been an AQHA Professional Horsewoman since 1995 and AQHA judge since 2001. She served five years on the AQHA Youth Activities Committee. Her career with AQHA includes instructing hunter under saddle and working hunter at AQHA Judges Educational Seminars, judging multiple AQHA world championship shows and is an AQHA 20-year breeder.

She began providing riding lessons in the mid-1980s and hauled students to horse shows, which led to a lifelong love of learning and teaching. She won her first AQHA world championship in halter in 1974 and in 1988 attended her first world show as a professional trainer. As a horse trainer for more than 30 years, her passion has not changed, it is about horses and youth. Her appreciation for all disciplines and her desire to be a better horsewoman fuels her fire for continued learning.   

Robin Frid
The 2022 Most Valuable Professional is Robin Frid of Pilot Point, Texas. Frid and his wife, Jenny, opened their training facility in 2006. They have trained and coached many of their clients for years. As a world champion and highly sought after judge for national and international American Quarter Horse competitions, Frid’s chief passion and duty is to give his all.

Frid has been an AQHA Professional Horseman since 2011. He has also served as a past chairman on the AQHA Show and Professional Horsemens councils. He has been an AQHA judge for 16 years and is also an AQHA director. With 40 AQHA world and reserve world champion titles and 75 Congress and reserve Congress champion titles, his success speaks for itself.

Frid is a strong teacher and guide. His complete loyalty to and respect for each client knows no bounds. He took his innate love and passion for American Quarter Horses and their riders, combined it with his strong ethical fiber and shares his talent and experience with everyone.

About the Nutrena AQHA Professional Horsemen of the Year and Most Valuable Professional Awards
Being named a Nutrena AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year or Most Valuable Professional are the top awards an AQHA Professional Horseman can receive in the equine industry. Each year, individuals are nominated by AQHA Professional Horsemen for the prestigious honor of being named a Nutrena AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year. From these nominations, the slates of nominees for the Nutrena Don Burt Professional Horseman of the Year and Nutrena Professional Horsewoman of the Year awards are compiled by the AQHA Professional Horsemen’s Council and approved by the AQHA Executive Committee. All AQHA Professional Horsemen then vote to determine the Nutrena AQHA Professional Horsemen of the Year award recipients. The Most Valuable Professional is nominated by their home affiliate and then voted on by their fellow AQHA Professional Horsemen.

Learn more about AQHA Professional Horsemen.

Nutrena supports AQHA Professional Horsemen by sponsoring the Ride the Pattern clinics at AQHA championship events. During the clinics, donations are accepted for the Professional Horsemen’s Endowment Fund, which Nutrena matches.

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