Skip to content

Bell and DeHaven Resign From NWHA

Editor's Note: According to the website of the National Walking Horse Association, Ken DeHaven, President and Don Bell, Director of Operations have resigned. The following is the official board announcement from their website,, and the resignation letters.

Board Announcement

The National Walking Horse Association Board of Directors announces, with regret, the resignation of Ken DeHaven, President and Don Bell, Director of Operations. Both Ken and Don have been instrumental in the development and growth of NWHA and are strong proponents of the Sound Horse movement. NWHA wishes them well in their future endeavors and honors them by continuing their work as advocates for the Walking Horse.



Letter of Resignation as NWHA Director of Operations
Resignation effective September 2, 2006

August 18, 2006

To the Officers and Directors of the NWHA:

This past Monday was a dream come true for many of us that met in Indianapolis back in 1998 to form the National Walking Horse Association.

The Executive Board, Sheryle & Clark Long and I met in Lexington, KY. We looked at office space for NWHA at the Kentucky Horse Park, met with the USEF and the US Dressage Federation. Additionally, the Lexington Chamber of Commerce hosted a luncheon for us. Think about the possibilities this presents for NWHA. All this plus the possibility of winning the lawsuit. Do you really know what this means? This truly boggles the mind and fills all of us that helped birth the NWHA with so much hope. Just maybe, we can finally rid this great breed of the stigma that has plagued it for over fifty years and get it back in the main stream of the greater horse world.

As exciting as this is for me personally, I have to face reality. This job has gotten very stressful. For the past three years, behind the scenes, there has been a lot of internal problems within the leadership of this organization. The saving factor has always been that the majority of the board has been a strong force and has been able to overcome everything and everyone that has tried to bring us down. Now this board is divided. Not to say that there are not still good, strong committed people on the board, but I’m not sure they are now in the majority. I see personal agendas, inflated egos, back stabbing, lack of loyalty and people using the word “power” to describe positions of responsibility. If this is allowed to continue, this organization will follow in the way of other sound horse organizations, self destruction.

Under normal circumstances this job would be stressful enough, but with the added stress of being attack by people you considered to be your friends is more than I want to deal with at this time in my life. The resignation of our president, Dr. Ken DeHaven, is the final straw. This is the man, while on the Executive Committee of the Breeders Association, was ask but refused to present trophies to sore horses at the Celebrations and was censored for it. The lost of someone with Dr. DeHaven’s leadership skills, integrity and rock solid stability leaves a huge void in the potential of NWHA, a void that will be very difficult to fill.

With this being said, let this serve as my letter of resignation as Director of Operations effective September 2, 2006.


PS: For some of you I recommend you do some research on Tom Horn


Letter of Resignation as NWHA President
Resignation Effective Immediately
August 17, 2006

Dear NWHA Board Members:

The NWHA has been the most successful of the "Sound Horse Organizations" and it is the last best hope for ending the abuse of Walking Horses. It is with a truly heavy heart that I must inform you that I will no longer serve as NWHA President. Please allow me to leave you with a few thoughts.

The opportunities at the Kentucky Horse Park are fantastic but they are only opportunities. They must be brought to reality. In the current mode of operation of this Board, the probability of bringing these opportunities to their potential is not good. Am I saying that this Board does not have the ability to read and act on these opportunities? Absolutely not! This Board can accomplish anything that the Board wishes. The problem is that the Board does not know what it wishes to accomplish.

Yes, we set up some tasks to accomplish, and that is good, but while we work on these, we fuss and bicker about who does what and who stepped in my territory. It reminds me of two girls arguing about who has the prettiest dress while they miss the dance.

The minor things that have caused such divisions are at best only chores that have to be done to accomplish a goal. The goal cannot be about who gets to be President or any other office or who receives the most accolades for good deeds. The goal has been and must continue to be to improve the welfare of the horse and to develop this gift of God to its highest potential.

And now, I ask you to forgive the failures and remember the good things that have happened over the few months that I have been your President. MAY THE LORD MAKE HIS FACE TO SHINE ON THE NWHA.


More Stories

  • A Mighty Strong Finish

    Going into the coveted World Grand Championship class Saturday night, Sept. 1, the field was somewhat wide-open for contenders riding for the biggest prize of the show. The preliminaries had given several horses a chance to shine, a few surprises emerged, and the judges were spread out with their opinions throughout the week, as was the crowd, demonstrating stiff competition. Read More
  • Oxford, NC show rescheduled

    North Carolina's PPWHANC Show scheduled for Oxford,N.C. on September 15th has been rescheduled; the new show date is September 29th with the same class schedule as previously presented.  Read More
  • #900 never to return to Celebration competition

    At the 79th anniversary of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, Bill Callaway and Gen’s Black Maverick rode into the ring on the last Saturday night to a roar of applause and cheering, and they exited the ring in the same fashion as they claimed the title of 2017 Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Champion... Read More
  • Obituary – Pat Kirk

    Pat Kirk, 89, of Purdy, Missouri entered into eternal rest on Tuesday September 11, 2018 while at Cox South Hospital in Springfield, Missouri.  Read More
  • Obituary - Burt Dale

    The Report has recently learned of the sudden passing of Burl Dale on September 18, 2018. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, September 22 at 2:00 PM at Camp Yonahnoka in Linville, North Carolina. Read More
  • Allen honored with Evan Lloyd Adamson Humanitarian Award

    The Celebration and the Adamson family are proud to announce the 2018 winner of the Evan Lloyd Adamson award, Connie Allen, director of office operations for The Celebration. Read More
  • Stalls available for hurricane Florence evacuees

    The Celebration will make grounds and stalls available at NO CHARGE for horses evacuating the Carolina’s due to Hurricane Florence. To make arrangements to stall your horses please call 931-684-5915. Read More
  • Nelms becomes first to win all three model titles

    It didn’t take long for Robert Nelms to get noticed at this year’s Celebration. Right out of the gate he was busy leading his winning model entries into the Calsonic for both the morning classes of the show as well as the National Futurity, which serves as the first set of evening classes during Celebration week. Read More
  • Obituary – Noble Stout

    Noble Hooper Stout, Jr., 69, passed away Friday, September 7, 2018 at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. Noble was born in Jackson County on July 12, 1949 to the late Noble Hooper Stout and Mable Carter Stout... Read More
  • Celebration releases information on Tunica

    The Celebration has announced information about the fall edition of the popular Tunica show, to be held Nov. 1-3 at the Paul Battle Sr. Exposition Center, in particular, information about the horse show hotel and exhibitors’ party... Read More