Each year the American Horse Council (AHC) gives out the Van Ness Award, which is named in honor of the late Marjorie Van Ness of New Jersey, a long-time leader and friend to the horse industry. This award is presented to an individual that best emulates the dedication and commitment of Marjorie Van Ness to the improvement of the horse industry at the state level.
On Monday, June 10, during the AHC's Annual Meeting, Tim Capps was posthumously named as the recipient of the 2018 Van Ness Award.
“Tim Capps was intimately involved in promoting the horse industry in two states: Maryland and Kentucky, and was also one of the industry's most staunch advocates,” said AHC president Julie Broadway. “Due to his wisdom, guidance and vision, the collective Maryland equestrian community is today seen by the Maryland government as a legitimate, large, and economically impactful industry.”
Accepting the award on his behalf was his daughter, Meredith Capps. “Few are lucky enough to build a career that keeps them continuously engaged and challenged, but my father did just that in his various roles in the racing industry, an industry for which he held deep affection,” said Ms. Capps. “His dedication to this field was obvious to anyone who knew him, and the positive impact he had on colleagues and students over the years is evident. I know he would have been tremendously honored by this recognition from his AHC peers, whom he held in such high regard.”
From 1996 to 2004, Capps was a director on the board of the Maryland Horse Council. He was closely involved with the Maryland Horse Council's issues, goals, and undertakings during this period. He served on various committees, attracting talented and new members, and helping it grow into the organization it is now. His involvement in the MHC was a major factor in every legislative and regulatory success the MHC had during this time. He also served the Maryland industry in other roles such as executive vice president of the Maryland Jockey Club, executive vice president of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, and executive director of the Maryland Million.
During his time in Maryland he was deeply involved in the development of a much-needed, strong and effective equine lobbying network in Annapolis to deal with legislation and state regulations affecting the industry. He was also active in the formation of the Maryland Horse Industry Board, which has grown to become one of the most successful state equine boards in the country. Each of these successes led to the rebirth of the Maryland horse industry during a very difficult period.
As the director of the Equine Industry Program at the University of Louisville, he spent 10 years mentoring and molding hundreds of young equine business minds. His extensive knowledge, experience, and connections within the equine industry provided an invaluable experience for his students. Both his students and colleagues within the industry often referred to him as the “ultimate mentor.”
“On the whole, he was an invaluable resource to the entire horse industry,” said Ms. Broadway. “He never missed an opportunity to educate Maryland, Kentucky, and federal legislators and regulators about the economic size and importance of the horse industry.”
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