Past Kylene Nelson Memorial Award Winners

TAP_7483 (3)Kylene Nelson

To Kylene, horses and showing was about much more than winning a ribbon. It was dinners with family and friends, responsibility, preparation, relationships with horses and humans, competition and just getting out there and doing it. Here is what the recipients of her award had to say……

2012 13/U Cole Voller –


2012 14-18 Paige Gabrielson –
“I chose to apply for the Kylene Nelson Award because she was not only a dear friend to me, but a mentor who had impacted my future equestrian career. She helped shaped me into who I am today. Her passion for the equine animal and desire to help others was obvious and will always be remembered, especially by those whose lives she impacted hands-on. With the award money, I invested it into my college career to become a Veterinarian and later specialize in Equine Chiropractic.”

2013 13/U Stephanie Filek –


2013 14-18 Abbi Gujer –
“Applying for this award was more than just about the money. It was more personal than that because I loved the person this award represents. I put the money I won from this my award, to good use by helping my mom buy new halters for the horses. It felt good to help my mom financially, even if it was a small piece, it’s the thought that counts.”

2014 13/U Ceci Charlsen –
“I applied for the Kylene Nelson Award because after reading the description on what it was, it made me think about how much I love showing, and how many endless reasons there are to be involved in the Minnesota Pinto community. This is my favorite award because it’s not about your placings or getting high point, it’s about your passion for horses and how much you love riding. The Kylene Nelson Award honors the memory of a woman, like you and me, who was so lucky to be involved with a horse club that supports youth participation, and gives us a chance to grow and learn about life. Kylene’s family wants to help MN Pinto document and reward the great experiences we have with our horses and friends at MN Pinto. If you have passion for horses, (of course you do!), take some time to write down your thoughts about what showing at MN Pinto means to you.”

2014 14-18 Alyssa Frickson –
“I was grateful to receive the Kylene Nelson Memorial Award in 2014.  I chose to use the money on textbooks for my engineering studies at the U of M. It was special to me as I share, in Kylene’s memory, that horses have taught me so much about relationships, responsibilities and to enjoy each moment.”

2015 13/U No Applicants

2015 14-18 Courtney Lynch –
“In 2015, I was honored to receive the Kylene Nelson Memorial Award.  Although I never met Kylene, I admired her strong love of family, friends and horses.  Kylene was a role model for the truly important things in life.  The award helped pay for the books I needed to start my college education at the University of Wisconsin Madison.  I am very grateful to have received an award with so much meaning.” 

2016 13/U Amanda Lundgren
“It meant a lot to me to win the 2016 Kylene Nelson award. It boosted my confidence and encouraged me to apply for similar awards. I plan to put the money in my college fund. I am hoping to study mechanical engineering at MIT.”

2016 14-18 Melissa Hacker –
“Being chosen for the 2016 Kylene Nelson award means so much to me because of how much horses and showing mean to me. With the money, I plan to help pay for my World Show expenses. I can’t wait to make my dreams come true at worlds and the money will help me make that possible. I greatly encourage all youth to write this essay about their appreciation to their horses, trainers, family, friends and those that impact our show careers like Kylene did.”

To apply for this award, send a ONE PAGE essay and digital vertical photo of you and your horse by November 15th to KaLeigh Berg at