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Greatmats 5th Annual National Horse Trainer of the Year Contest

Accepting nominations for 2019 National Horse Trainer of the Year

More than 14,000 votes poured in for the 2019 Greatmats National Horse Trainer of the Year Award Contest and two stellar horse trainers found themselves in the finals for the annual award. PJ O'Connell of Cowboy Way Ranch and Victory Shaw of Astoria Equestrian Center compiled more than 11,000 of those votes to earn a chance at the title - as well as new stall mats and hay nets.

Congratulation to PJ O'Connell for being named the 2019 Greatmats National Horse Trainer of the Year!

National Horse Trainer of the Year: PJ O’Connell - Elizabethtown, Kentucky


Want to honor a horse trainer for his/her outstanding achievements, unique style, humanitarian or animal rights efforts, etc.? Then nominate him/her for the Annual National Horse Trainer of the Year Award, sponsored by Greatmats. The award, part of Greatmats National Award Series, is designed to recognize Horse Trainers who have made a difference in the lives of their clients, animals and community through the virtues of service, integrity and quality. The 2019 award has also been sponsored by Hay Chix, which is generously offering each finalist three of its half bale original hay nets.

Learn more about Greatmats National Award Series.

How to Nominate

(The nomination period has ended.)

To nominate the trainer for this award, email the following information to before Nov. 1, 2019 or fill out the online nomination form. Nominators will not be identified.
  1. Trainer's Name
  2. Name and location of the training facility (Must be located in the USA)
  3. A brief description of why you are nominating this trainer, including how he/she meets the criteria of high-level service, integrity and quality
  4. A photo and/or video of the trainer

How the winner is chosen:

  1. Voting will take place Nov. 14-Dec. 1, 2019 for the Fifth Annual National Horse Trainer of the Year Award. The two horse trainers with the most votes will be named finalists.
  2. Greatmats will judge the two finalists to determine the winner based on:
  3. Demonstration of Service
  4. Demonstration of Integrity
  5. Demonstration of Quality

Grand Prize

  1. $250 in Greatmats Products (or $150 Cash Option) for the training facility
  2. 3 Hay Chix Half Bale Original Nets
  3. Trainer/training facility profile to be released with the announcement of the winner in December 2019.
  4. National Horse Trainer of the Year Certificate

Nearly 25,000 votes have been cast in the first 5 years of the contest, which is part of Greatmats' Annual National Award Series. The Greatmats National Award Series is designed to recognize instructors, trainers and coaches, who have made a positive impact in their communities and the lives of their students/clients.

Voting Instructions:

Visit the contest page during the voting period to vote for the National Horse Trainer of the Year. Click the vote button next to the photo of the Horse Trainer you'd like to win. Feel free to share the ballot with friends and family and encourage them to vote. The two horse trainers with the most votes will be named finalists. From that point, Greatmats will choose the winner (scroll down to see prizes) based on demonstration of service, integrity and quality.

Greatmats is a national horse stall, stable and trailer flooring leader based in Milltown, Wisconsin, since 1999. Identified as one of the top 3,000 fastest growing companies in the USA three times since 2008, Greatmats gives back to its local community by donating 5% of its annual profits to local non-profit organizations. It also supports green initiatives through the use of solar energy at its Wisconsin headquarters and by offering a large variety of products made from recycled and renewable resources.

View all of Greatmats' horse stall mats at

All media submissions, including text, photos and videos become property of Greatmats.

Read about past winners of the award:
2016 National Horse Trainer of the Year Jessica Montezuma
2017 National Horse Trainer of the Year Kelly Murphy-Alley
2018 National Horse Trainer of the Year Tammy Smith


Past Greatmats National Horse Trainer of the Year Nominees


Tammy Smith - Fox Mask Basic Horsemanship - Chandler (2018)
Chelsie Kallestad - Chelsie Natural Horsemanship - Holbrook (2018)
Austin VanWyck - Victory Lane Training Center - Phoenix (2016)
Andrea Fappani - Fappani Performance Horses - Scottsdale (2015)


Ashley Salter - iRide4U - Santa Ynez (2017)


Tina Wright - Diamond in the Rough Horsemanship and Training - Fort Lupton (2018)
Ben Grogan - Drifter's Hearts of Hope - Franktown (2018)
Justin Dunn - Justin Dunn Horsemanship - Guffey (2017)
Frances Carbonnel - Mariah Farms - Castle Rock (2017)
Andrea Datz - Integrative Horsemanship - Fruita (2015)


Stacey Pierce - Jumpers Academy - Mystic (2016)


Tom Johnson - Costa Nova Farm - Pierson (2018)
Lacey Salvatore - Haven Horse Ranch - Saint Augustine (2018)


Sandra Williamson - Rackettown Mustangs - Toombs County (2018)


Gena Loper - Duns N Roses Ranch/Post Falls Equestrian Center - Post Falls (2016)


Jessica Moctezuma - Moctezuma Stables - Woodstock (2016)


Cody Keller - Keller Horse Training - Seymour (2016)


Farold Russett - Russett Quarter Horses - Kinsley, Kansas (2016)


Kelly Murphy-Alley - Striking KMA Performance Horses - Wilmore (2017)
Beth Harris - Walnut Way Farm - Simpsonville (2017)
Maria Borell - Borell Racing, Beacon Hill Farm - Lexington (2015)


Rachel Bertrand - Bertrand Training Stables - Crowley (2018)
Susan Morris - 333 Ranch - Pride (2018)


Bill Thomas - Bill Thomas Performance Horses - Saginaw (2018)
Bill Brown - Chase Lake Equine Center - Fowlerville (2017)


Terry Nowacki - American Equine Scenting Association - Argyle (2018)

New Jersey

Pete Corby - Overview Equestrian Center - Belvidere (2018)

New Mexico

Kendra Loring - Enchanted Equine Adventures - Albuquerque (2018)

North Carolina

Carley Wheelis - CW Horsemanship - Hillsborough (2018)
Mandy Helton - Helton's Horsemanship - McDowell (2018)
Kelly Woodlief - Woodlief Show Horses - Ruffin (2017)

North Dakota

Rylan Sundsbak - Sundsbak Performance Horses - Hazen (2018)


Lisa Moad - Seven Oaks Farm - Hamilton (2018)


Jan Lindsay - Diamond Bar Z - Coos Bay (2018)

South Carolina

TR Potts - Potts Performance Horses - Fountain Inn (2017)


Chrystal Crispin - Crispin Unlimited - Jonesborough (2017)


John M. Joyner, Jr. - Joyner Arabians - Canutillo (2018)
Jeremy Dull - Jeremy Dull Horsemanship - Hempstead (2017)


Claire Silver - Up North Stables - Derby (2018)


Clarence Crumpton - Crumpton Horsemanship - Thornburg, Virginia (2016)


Heidi Bach - Genuine J - Kennewick (2016)


Sharlyn Fellenz - Mytalisha's Dream Riding Center, LLC - Eau Claire (2017)
Jessie Baillargeon - Victory Farms - Amery (2015)
Sid Zacharias - Rockin Z Ranch - Spooner (2015)
Bryanna Larson - Pony Tales Refuge and Rehab - Colfax (2017)

West Virginia

Mike Hurst - Mike Hurst Horsemanship - Philippi (2017)


For more on this topic please review our Horse Stall Mats, Equine Rubber product page.