FAST, a group within the walking horse industry behind much of the fundraising efforts used to support the walking horse industry, is gearing up for its inaugural strategic planning session, which will take place Saturday, March 7 in Shelbyville, Tennessee. 

A comment period for anyone and everyone not attending the session has been opened and FAST is urging folks to send their questions and comments to be read to the panel during the session, which will be comprised of representatives of various leaders and groups within the industry.

“We will be gathering in an effort to identify areas of focus as we move forward and redefine some areas within the horse community,” said Sadie Fowler, FAST’s director of advancement. “While legislative efforts are important, there are many other factors that will play a role in our industry’s success.”

Fowler, who said FAST has been working with leaders in Washington as well as various industry-wide groups, said time is of the essence. 

“There are several factors such as the PAST Act, a potential change in the USDA or a potential Democratic administration that could affect our industry and that is why it is crucial we come together in a timely manner to ensure that, no matter what happens, our industry is safe and can thrive for many years to come,” she said, following a conversation with lobbyist Jeff Speaks.

Kasey Kesselring, who has volunteered his time as FAST’s board president, has been a strong supporter of the planning session, and he said it is imperative for the whole community to work together to ensure this meeting is a success. 

“For any change to happen we need the whole community to work together, especially the leaders within each organization,” he said. “FAST’s role in this meeting is to simply serve as a neutral and unbiased facilitator in bringing various groups together to look at ways in which we can redefine our industry by eliminating negative perceptions in a timely way.”

Some of the areas we will be looking into March 7 include: 

• The possibility of creating a committee with representation from each organization within the TWH community as a place to share updates, hear recommendations and work together for the common good of all.
• Internal positive changes from within
• Horse show development
• Rebranding efforts
• PR and media relations
• Local, regional and nation outreach efforts
• Retaining our industry and GROWING

Commentary period
If you would like to submit a question or comment to be read to the panel during the session please email your question to Sadie Fowler by March 1 at [email protected]