June 29, 2007

Letter to the Editor:

After hearing and now reading Mr. Kesselring’s statement, I am frankly quite disappointed.  The impression that he is trying to impart is that the TWHBEA is non-responsive, inappropriately organized, in conflict with the NHSC, and not following the objectives of the Association.   This could not be further from the truth.  During our May International Board of Directors meeting, Mr. Barney Denney made a motion that all communications we put out would be positive.  So in this response I am going to try and honor his request.

One person I like to quote is Pastor Adrain Rogers.  He states on one of his tapes: “We are to know the truth, believe the truth, tell the truth, love the truth, live the truth and preach the truth.  It is truth that holds everything together and without truth everything falls apart.”  Mr. Kesselring was being less than truthful in his characterization of our non-responsiveness.  After meeting with Mr. Kesselring on March 14th, I then emailed him seven times and provided him a letter that he requested.  In my email of March 20th I addressed one of his concerns in his statement as follows:

Your questions relative to activities around the sanctioning plan were accurate; however, there is truth and there is perception.  After further research, I believe that there were parties in all three associations that desired to establish the sanctioning plan.  But, since I wasn't there, I can only relay that I have not discovered any impropriety on the part of anyone.  I believe if they had it to do over there would be more communication amongst the decision makers.

In addition, I further emailed him three more times in May and presented him with some ideas relative to TWHBEA’s Academy program.  Not once in these emails did he present to me any concerns that he still had, so one can imagine my surprise when I heard his statement.

He mentioned that in an effort to educate himself that he checked on our organizational structure and made misleading remarks here also.  Maybe if he had contacted me in advance, I could have shared with him that in order to obtain 501c5 status, we had to send in our articles of incorporation and bylaws.  The IRS makes this determination.  Also, we are annually audited by an outside CPA firm and our 990s are filed by an enrolled agent.  I would have been happy to have allowed Mr. Kesselring to speak to the CPA firm or the enrolled agent to address his concerns.  And maybe if he had spent a little more time in his research about lobbying, he would have learned that because TWHBEA’s dues are under the IRS 2006 index of $91.00, we are exempt from reporting and notice. 

Are we in conflict with the NHSC?  I don’t believe so.  The NHSC is a certified HIO.  Accordingly, they provide a service to the industry.  Unfortunately, they have not signed the operating plan and the TWHBEA is concerned for those that might receive federal tickets and cases that may ultimately result in hefty fines or jail time because of NHSC’s stance.  On several occasions our Association has tried to work with the NHSC but to date this effort has not resulted in any progress.  At the May meeting, I asked the Board of Directors to help me in this regard.  This does not mean that we are in conflict.  So I applaud Mr. Kesselring’s ability to obtain a unanimous vote to affiliate with the NHSC.  I have also publicly stated that I applaud the owners and trainers that are showing compliant horses under the NHSC banner.   However, I still would like to see NHSC join with the TWHBEA efforts to unify the industry under the TWHBEA sponsored industry self-regulating plan referred to as the HIO Sanctioning Plan.  I appreciate Mr. Kesselring stating that, “Having read the sanctioning plan cover to cover, I am a supporter of it in theory and find the plan full of value.”

As I explained in our May International Board of Directors meeting, Article 1, Section 2 of our bylaws states in our objectives that we have the right to sponsor and/or affiliate shows including competitive events and to promulgate, issue and enforce rules and regulations governing the exhibiting, judging, sale, registration and breeding of TWHs and all other things that a HIO does.  This is why we have an HIO.  Also we have a HIO to allow us to have a seat at the table with the USDA and other HIOs, thereby allowing us to directly represent the 18,000 members of this Association.

A strategic plan is not usually accomplished in seven months.  To equate success or failure of the Sanctioning plan based on this short time period would be ludicrous.  The TWHBEA has just received the formal support of the USDA and other key industry affiliations.  The May International Board of Directors meeting stressed the need to stay the course.  Is the plan perfect?  No!  Will it be perfect without the industry realizing the importance of working together to achieve self-regulation?  I doubt it.  Can we find a compromise that will benefit the industry and restore public trust and confidence?  I am sure we can but we need to put aside personal agendas in favor of this worthwhile goal.

Lastly, I recognize that Mr. Kesselring is a member of the TWHBEA.  While he is researching and educating himself on the TWHBEA, I herein ask him to read his membership pledge, which among other things states that he will agree to support TWHBEA’s objectives.  If we all get behind industry consolidation under a self-regulating plan, our legacy will be that we restored public trust and governmental confidence and that we restored the tarnished image of the Tennessee Walking Horse.


Chuck Cadle

Kesselring Letter To TWHBEA Click Here