2007 Alberta Horse Industry
Distinguished Service Award

Doug Milligan has been called the quintessential public servant – an infinitely complimentary moniker that represents the virtual trailer load of superlatives used to describe his three decades of service to the province.  From the moment he became the first head of Alberta’s  Horse Industry Branch ( the first of its kind in Canada) in 1974 until his retirement in 2007, his passion, vision, and arsenal of skills have been  pivotal in building Alberta’s now undeniably dominant place in the equine world.


An educator, researcher, and administrator, Doug  has consistently masterminded the development of the unique programs, partnerships, marketing initiatives and opportunities  that have transformed the potential  of our equine industry into reality.  He has thrived on participating in the free and open exchange of ideas, encouraging key individuals and groups to dare to turn their dreams into reality, and being the catalyst for a great many initiatives that now serve as “best practice” standards for equine efforts around the world.  His honesty, integrity, and unfaltering commitment to do what was in the best interests of Alberta’s equine industry (even if such didn’t always line up with the current policy of senior government officials) was an integral part of the Alberta Advantage throughout his tenure.

As incredibly influential and crucial his involvement has been to a number of landmark developments, it has been rare to find him front and centre when the well deserved accolades were being doled out.  He would much rather defer and deflect all the credit to others – yet another example of the character of the man so many proudly call their mentor, their empowerment and enabler to  making a difference, and their friend.   Indeed, if the history books don’t acknowledge Doug as one of the truly great icons within the province’s equine industry, it will only be because he personally convinced the writers that the credit belonged to others.

In recognition of his lasting influence and contributions to the equine industry in Alberta the Horse Industry Association of Alberta bestowed its Distinguished Service Award on Doug Milligan January 12, 2008 at the annual Alberta Horse Breeders and Owners Conference in Red Deer, Alberta.