As part of the 2022 Upperville Colt and Horse Show, Virginia First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin presented the inaugural Spirit of the Horse Award to longtime Middleburg volunteer and civic leader Dorothy “Punkin” Lee.
Youngkin, who is a past rider in the event, stopped in with her husband, Gov. Glenn Youngkin to view the final day of the competition, which culminated with the $216,000 Upperville Jumper Classic CSI4* won by Schuyler Riley of Wellington, FL, and Stockton, NJ.
The spirit award was established to recognize Virginia women who demonstrate exceptional service or dedication to, or promotion of, the equine industry and will be given annually at the show in celebration of the commonwealth’s robust agriculture and equine industry.
Lee was selected for her more than 30 years of volunteer service in helping run the show and serving as a board member. She is a second-generation volunteer, as her mother served as the show secretary.
“This award was quite the honor,” Lee said, “but it is really everyone working together that makes this show what it is. We are not one of the cookie-cutter shows—we’re a community show with international participation, run by the community.”
The award includes an engraved bowl, a gift certificate to a Virginia Governor’s Cup award-winning winery, a reception for family and friends and a $1,000 donation to an equine charity of choice. Lee plans to give the donation to a local therapeutic riding organization.
UCHS leadership will partner with Suzanne Youngkin each year to help identify unsung heroes and celebrate Virginia’s equine industry.