Equine therapist Mimi Porter can provide a checklist of people, including coaches and players, who have supported University of Kentucky women's athletics and could have received an award for their efforts this year.
So Porter was humbled to receive the Sue Feamster Trailblazer Award during the women's basketball game Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.
"There are loads of people who come to mind," she said. "I'm pretty humbled that I was the person they chose."
Porter was the first female certified athletic trainer in Kentucky.
She is the second recipient of the Trailblazer Award, which was established last year and is named for the university's first women's athletics director and basketball coach. Last year, former UK first lady Gloria Singletary received the award.
Porter is "quite an entrepreneur, and I'm really proud to have worked with her," said Feamster, who has continued to follow Porter's career.
Porter, who lives on a farm in Fayette County, has a bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree in physical education, both from UK. While in graduate school, she became interested in sports medicine and athletics training.
She worked at the Shively Sports Center, taping football players for practice and providing therapy to male and female athletes. Porter served as the head women's trainer.
Porter lectured across the country about women's sports medicine, and she helped write the state's first licensing law for sports medicine and athletics training.
Porter said one of the highlights of her career was getting a weight room and a conditioning program established for female athletes in the 1970s.
"The notion of women increasing their strength in a workout room was a new thing," Porter said.
She said she's proud of the program because it fostered a new way of looking at women in sports — as athletes.
Porter later decided to dedicate her career to horses. She founded Equine Therapy Inc. in 1981 and has traveled across the country teaching and providing therapy for horses.
She has written two books about horse therapy, contributed chapters to veterinary books and written dozens of research articles.
In 1996, Porter served on the equine staff during the Olympic Games in Atlanta. Porter said she's looking forward to working during the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games later this year.
Porter recalled her experience at the Olympics, saying she has an idea about what it will be like to have the best in the world competing in Lexington.
"That's going to be a once-in-a-lifetime situation," she said.