February 11, 2010
Ottawa, ON - Equine Canada has named Maura Leahy of Dugald, Manitoba, as the 2009 Volunteer of the Year.
Leahy became involved in the sport of endurance in 1997 and rides at the local level. She organizes and manages two to three endurance rides per year in her home province of Manitoba. Leahy has been involved with the establishment of Endurance Canada since its inception, serving on the board, the Fundraising/Sponsorship Committee, the International Committee, and as the Chair of the Rules Committee. She has also represented Endurance Canada on the Equine Canada Sport Council Rules Committee.
At the international level, Leahy became involved in Federation Equestre International (FEI) in 1999 by volunteering at the Pan Am Championship Ride at Spruce Woods Park in Manitoba, and from there her involvement has progressed from a groom to member of an organizing committee and now to an FEI Steward/Judge (Level 2).
She has also attended the 2006 World Equestrian Games as team manager and groom, and served as chef d'equipe for Canada West at the 2005 CEIO 3* North American Championships and the 2009 Kentucky Cup, and was the Canadian Team chef d'equipe for the 2008 World Endurance Championship in Malaysia, where Canada finished in seventh place out of 21 starting teams. Her attendance at these events is often self-funded and on her own time for the love of the sport of endurance.
"I was so honored to be nominated for this award, everybody in our equestrian organization is a volunteer in one capacity or another, finding out that I was selected was both overwhelming and humbling," said Leahy.
The 'Volunteer of the Year' award, sponsored by BFL Canada, is presented every year to an exceptional volunteer who has contributed to equestrian sport and to Equine Canada. It is presented to someone who has dedicated himself or herself to Equine Canada and it's ideals, who have worked tirelessly for the improvement of the organization, and who has had a noticeable impact on the sport.
At the Equine Canada Annual Awards Gala on Saturday, February 6, in Montreal, QC, Leahy was presented with the 2009 Equine Canada Volunteer of the Year by Sara Runnalls of BFL Canada, and Terre O’Brennan of Endurance Canada.