Carla Wennberg and Connor Smith
Carla Wennberg with her St. Andrews University student Connor Smith, 2018 AQHA High Point  Western Rider at the IHSA National Championship Horse Show. Photo by EQ Media

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Feb. 19, 2019 – TThe Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) Lifetime Achievement Award is a prestigious accolade bestowed upon a board member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, commitment and exemplary service to the association. This year’s IHSA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Carla Wennberg, meets the criteria with her life’s work, positive outlook and dedication to her students.

“Carla has given tirelessly to the organization and we are proud to present her with this award,” said Bob Cacchione, executive director and founder of the IHSA. “As the IHSA celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Western divisions and its relationship with the AQHA, it is fitting that Wennberg is recognized for her service. The IHSA is proud to have such an outstanding person on the board.”

Coach of the St. Andrews University IHSA team, Wennberg has worked tirelessly to coach the next generation of top equestrians. In addition to coaching, she is also a longtime AQHA and NRHA judge, served as an FEI Reining Steward and is the former Director of Reining for the United States Equestrian Team.

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A graduate of the University of Georgia, Wennberg joined the St. Andrews University staff in 2006 as the head Western coach. Her previous university experience includes six years at Colorado State University, five years at the University of Georgia and nearly five years at Martin Community College.

“When I started working with Peggy (McElveen, director of equestrian programs at St. Andrews University), I just knew that we were all in, and that means not only for our university but everything,” Wennberg said. “You’ve got to be all in.”

As a three-time winner of the World Championships at AQHA Youth Worlds, as well as the All-Around Youth at American Quarter Horse Congress, winning the IHSA Lifetime Achievement Award is a well-deserved addition to Wennberg’s long list of accomplishments. She proves that to be a talented and dedicated horse person, means your skills can translate across discipline boundaries. In addition to her success in the Western disciplines, she also earned the United States Dressage Federation bronze and silver medals. In 2008 she was honored as AQHA Horseman of the Year, and in 2010, she served as an FEI steward for reining at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. She has judged for AQHA and the NRHA in many countries.

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Bob Cacchione, Carla Wennberg and Jerry Steinmetz at the IHSA Board Meeting after Megan Taylor, 2018 Lifetime Achievement award winner, presented Wennberg with the Lifetime Achievement tiara in fun and moving ceremony. Photo by EQ Media

As a coach, Wennberg led her St. Andrews University Western team to top titles. Together, they earned two IHSA National championships, a reserve National championship and qualified for nine National Championship Horse Shows. In 2018, her St. Andrews University student, Connor Smith, won the AQHA High Point Rider championship at Nationals. In 2012, she was awarded IHSA Sportsmanship Coach of the Year.

“It's such a great organization,” she said. “It's taught me so many great lessons – pushing people to the next level – getting along, respecting other coaches, being happy to win and gracious to lose. I think that's so cool.”

Wennberg joins a long list of exceptional horsemen and women who have been recognized by IHSA for their commitment to the organization. The list includes:

2018 Megan Taylor
2017 Peggy McElveen
2016 Lori Cramer
2015 Patte Zumbrun
2014 Eddie Federwisch
2013 Sally Batton
2012 Mary Drueding
2011 Cindy Ford
2010 Peter Cashman
2009 Teresa McDonald
2008 Jon Conyers
2007 Nancy Peterson
2006 Janice Callahan
2005 Jim Arrigon
2004 Olie Griffith
2003 Anne Brzezicki
2002 Jerry Steinmetz
2000 Sue Payne
1999 Naomi Blumenthal
1998 CJ Law
1997 Jane Flynn
1996 Claiborne and Tom Bishop
1995 Bob Cacchione
1994 George Lukemire
1993 Joan Johnson