Dear Walking Horse Family,

As we move from adjusting to a new normal to awaiting the return of the "old normal", it is truly inspiring to see the acts of courage, kindness and selflessness all around us. We all have a crucial role to play in fighting this pandemic, and I am grateful for your efforts during this difficult time.

Over the past several weeks, I have had numerous phone calls asking two specific questions:  (1) What can I do to help?  (2) When will we have our first show? While writing to say thanks to everyone for their awareness during these strange times, I wish to try and respond to those two questions.

In responding to the first question, several answers come to mind.  First and foremost , we all need to help ourselves and our community by following and participating in the recommended CDC guidelines. We can all do our part and there are many good options to support our industry and community. The following are just a few for your consideration.

a. Check on Someone: While we continue social distancing to help stop the spread, we still believe in the human touch. Take a few moments each day to text or call a friend, co-worker, fellow trainer or neighbor.  Increasing feelings of isolation, especially for those who are elderly and are more susceptible to COVID19 can produce stress and anxiety. Connecting with someone, just to simply ask how they are doing, can make a big differnece as we continue with social distancing. 

b. Lend a Hand:  There are many ways you can contribute during this time. Giving blood remains as safe as ever, according to the American Red Cross and other health officials. If you are healthy and feeling well, the coronavirus has not slowed the nation's need for blood donations. In addition, masks are in short supply.  They are needed by health care workers, first responders and anyone in a situation where social distancing is not possible. There are step-by-step instructions on Facebook for sewing your own mask, and while you are at it, consider making extras to share.  

c. SAY THANKS to those that continue to work for our own good. While many of us are home in an effort to stop the spread, there are many others whose work continues. Mail carriers, store clerks, delivery drivers, sanitation workers, truck drivers, workers on the frontline and many others continue to provide us with important services, If nothing else, I ask that you offer a word of gratitude to these men and women. Just today, I left a gift card for my mail and paper carrier and my garbage driver.  Simple acts of kindness is good for both the giver and receiver. The WHTA would like to say a SPECIAL THANK YOU to those in the Industry who have stepped up and planned feeding events for those in need as well as to those who risk their lives for our safety each day.  We applaud these heart-filled efforts during these difficult times and hope they can continue.

In responding to the second question, well, this one is a little more tricky. However, I do believe we are moving nearer to making a showring debut. Having said that...when we return to having shows..we must all remember to follow the strict guidelines in place by our Governors in hopes that the virus does not spread. As you know, each State Governor has been given the authority to create his or her own plan to "open up" and try to return to some sense of normalcy. Personally, I think, we will  not only have a "new normal" but we will have a "different normal" moving forward in our daily lives. We will be forever aware of the educational information regarding the spread of disease and infection. In addition, we will hopefully, continue to wash our hands more, avoid touching our face with our hands, sneeze or cough into a tissue or the inside of your elbow and disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible. Yes, these are good things to continue and not just do these in a time of a pandemic.

The 2020 Show Season....what we have left of it...will certainly be one to remember. I think the month of May will be the guiding light for the remaining months to come. Rescheduling shows are always difficult to do...and will be more so this year. We must be sensitive to everyone's needs and work together to make sure we can and will have a successful remaining show season to showcase our great TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE. This has been trying times for all the trainers, owners and everyone that has a place in this great Industry including the charities that benefit from our shows.  The exact future of our Industry for 2020 is unknown at the moment but with alot of prayer and working together we will overcome this huge obstacle and will be better for it.

It is now more important than ever for the Walking Horse Family to showcase the best of our Industry by offering support to those who are in need, bestowing kindness and compassion to others and demonstrating the values and respect for which OUR INDUSTRY is so admirable known. 

Be Safe,

Bill Cantrell