by Carole Hargett
The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association General Membership meeting was held on Saturday, December 1, 2001 at the Association headquarters in Lewisburg, Tennessee. The beautiful meeting facility attracted members and directors from across the U.S. as well as several foreign countries.

Saturday was the culmination of the previous two days of meetings of the general membership committees. The outgoing Executive Board and attending members met to conduct the business at hand.

President, Jim Welch called the meeting to order just after 9:00 a.m. and welcomed the group as he brought Bob Cherry, Executive Director TWHBEA to the podium to deliver the first speech of the morning. Following Mr. Cherry’s report, each executive member reported on their committee’s accomplishments for 2001. The agenda was then routinely approved as well as the last year’s minutes. Both motions carried.

Cherry reported that it was a very good year for the registry and transfers, membership drives, organizations and activities. Financially, the TWHBEA had a good year: $110,000 had been paid on the building debt, IPed’s was available to the membership and they added to capital costs - equipment and square footage.

Cherry announced that the national board had been asked to approve a $4.1 million dollar budget for this year, the executive committee having unanimously approved the same at the October 29, 2001 meeting.

Cherry reported that the plans to merge the TWHBEA and the Trainers Association had been given to an ad hoc committee; they delivered no recommendation on the motion and therefore the Executive Committee did not act on the same. He stressed the importance of unification of goals within the industry and thanked members and staff for their service during the past year. The meteoric rise of the Tennessee Walking Horse was evident when reviewing the past 10 years. At that time, Cherry remarked, the budget was under $1 million dollars. As the Board and membership focus on the future, Cherry reiterated their commitment to current technology while maintaining the same number of people for administrative duties.

In a brief overview of the year, Cherry reported that the tremendous growth of the walking horse industry resulted in a fourth place national ranking...up from eighth place just ten years ago which supports the aggressive marketing endeavors made during that time. From 1994 to 1998, Cherry continued, we were the second fastest growing breed and from 1999 to 2000 we were THE fastest growing breed, representing a 23% growth in just one year. The $4.1 million dollar budget, if approved would include approximately $730,000 to 750,000 earmarked for marketing and related activities.

Continuing with the report, he noted that there was significant growth in the number of transfers, although membership had decreased slightly. In the year ending November 30, 2001, 26,000 mares were bred, double the number from the previous year.

Cherry explained that the format of his speech would be different this year as he looked toward the future rather than expounding upon the past. In doing so, he issued a challenge to the incoming International Board of Directors. He asserted that although showing horses represents a small percentage of the industries’ activities, it does have a large impact on the industry.

It was noted by Cherry that he believed we had reached a plateau in showing horses. The question was now, where do we go and how do we get there? While stating that the proposals he would offer were made for the purpose of provoking discussion and challenging the board to leadership, Cherry proposed the following:

1. The National Horse Show Commission was formed approximately 13 years ago. It was the coming together of two regulatory commissions. TWHBEA, although responsible for rules and regulations, delegated that authority to the NHSC. But this authority has been splintered by the numerous HIO’s formed over the past 10 years. As a change was needed 13 years ago, it is now time for a major change once again.

Cherry remarked, “Don’t expect things to change, if you don’t change things.”

Currently, the TWHBEA and NHSC contract renews automatically each year unless written notice is given six months prior to the current termination date. Therefore Cherry requested: 1) Consideration be given by the International Board of Directors to prepare written notice immediately of TWHBEA’s intention to terminate the contract for 2003. 2) Direct the Executive committee to develop plans for 2003. The proposed plan would go to the board members 30 days prior to the May meeting 2002. 3) Develop a TWHBEA Industry Rule Book for training, licensing of judges and continuing education. Administrative responsibility would be assumed by TWHBEA for HIO’s who agree to the rule book and use the TWHBEA judges list. 4) TWHBEA would speak with one voice for all factions in Washington. 5) TWHBEA would be responsible for the recording and maintenance of show records. Cherry explained, this would mean keeping the lines of communication open - meeting with representatives from all divisions and being responsive to their needs and suggestions. He remarked that we all need to stay focused on the horse and this business. 6) Board of Directors form a Tennessee HIO immediately and perhaps other states and regional HIO’s would be formed at a later date.

2. Cherry reported that his last visit to Washington DC this summer had caused him to pause and reflect on the problems currently at hand. There were many factions now suggesting opposing plans to the USDA; we need to speak with one united voice. Otherwise, in his opinion, showing horses is doomed to failure if 6-8 persons are telling the USDA what to do with the horse show business. The TWHBEA should represent 90-95% of the industry horse shows. Cherry suggested providing opportunities to educate the public about the packages and equipment for the performance show horse and address the issue of plantation horses who are now doing a “big lick”. Can we do better? YES. We need to call a spade a spade. Perhaps we can give a little to get a lot; finding a better way for our horses will take courage and vision to evoke a change. He reminded the group that “we are divided by imaginary boundaries but united by our love of the horse.”

Committee Reports

Charles Wharton, vice president of administrative/fiscal division reported on the budget through the past eleven months. The association is in good financial condition as revenues exceeded expenses by $400,000. Wharton also commented on the newly proposed 2002 budget of $4.1 million dollars. He expressly targeted the proposed amount of $732,000 or approximately 18% of the budget to be used on marketing the performance, plantation show horse and sport horse. The budget would include the financing of the building and review of insurance coverage and a change of that coverage if indicated. He reported that the auditors had reviewed the financials and all was in order.

Judy Martin, retiring vice president of the breeders division, remarked on her four-year term of office. She listed as some of the accomplishments: the monies saved from changing suppliers of the bloodtyping kits to Shelterwood and the University of Kentucky had saved $40,000 from that paid four years ago. She reminded the group that members could now call the association and inquire about the status of each kit and those who wished to do so, could pick their kit up at the association headquarters. Significant to registration papers, world grand champions were now noted. Additionally the forms were now simplified for easier completion and social security numbers are no longer required. Martin expressed her gratitude to board and committee members for their support and assistance during her tenure.

Jane Hardy-Meredith, vice president of the enforcement division, stated that there were no complaints this year that necessitated a committee hearing or executive committee attention.

Charles Hulsey, vice president of the horse show committee, remarked that there had been a number of occasions this year to make tough decisions; the committee ever mindful that they must do what was in the best interest of the Tennessee Walking Horse. A major question posed this year was “How can we help promote the shows?” In an effort to obtain an answer to this question, it was reported to the committee that many organizations were afraid of generating the initial start-up monies needed. A template was developed to ascertain the amount of monies needed to cover start-up expenses. It was discovered that approximately $6,000 would be needed. Recovered costs of $2,000 would come from attendance and entry fees. The committee then searched for areas where they might reallocate monies to assist the potential new shows. Currently the association was financing regional futurities and versatility systems at a cost of $60,000 per year for an average of only 2,000 entries. It was suggested that monies be reallocated from this fund.

A proposal was made to subsidize new shows, across the country upon application to the TWHBEA. Monies would be provided as a subsidy in increments of $1,000 for the first year, $750 for the second year and $500 for the third year. The new show would be required to commit to a three year term. The applicant would not be able to choose the same date as a show within a 150-mile radius thereby protecting existing shows. Additional stipulations would include an advertisement noting the show was subsidized by the TWHBEA and affiliated with the NHSC. If accepted, the proposal would be available to any show beginning in 2002; any organization desiring to start a new show, whether futurity, traditional, versatility, or all-novice would be able to apply for financial assistance.

Paula Andrews, vice president of the owners and exhibitors reported on the 2001 clinics provided by the association nationwide. The success of the clinics resulted in over 1,000 persons signed in from 35 states and Canada at the National Celebration. Many persons remarked that they came for the clinics and stayed for the show. Responsible for the success of the clinics were the hardworking clinicians; Howard Hamilton, Lori Toone, Wink Groover, Danny Dunson, Tim Gray and Bobby Richards. Richards had contracted with TWHBEA for twelve clinics in 2001 and performed 16. In the coming year, Richards will provide 18 clinics of which 11 have already been scheduled. His clinics have been well attended and popular throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Jerrold Pedigo delivered his report as vice president for the performance show horse. His committee met three times during the year to discuss new ideas for classes and shows. Many good ideas were provided and explored for feasibility; additional improvements will be added in the coming year. Due to the limited offering of canter classes at many shows, Pedigo’s committee established a Youth Medallion class for amateur riders 17 years and under. It was believed that by developing interest among young riders in the three gaited classes, that there would be an increase in the number of adult riders to fill the canter classes as time went on. Initially 15 shows offered the medallion class; all but one had at least one entry. However, 1-3 entries were average. On May 1, 2001 a decision was made to offer prize money and George Ann Pratt graciously donated $400 for the first place award. Other donations followed. As a result of the offering, the next show had 5 entries and the second show had seven entries. Other shows then added the classes. Pedigo announced that the 2001 High Point Medallion Class rider was Maria Derickson, daughter of Herbert and Jill Derickson of Shelbyville, TN. She received a $1,000 scholarship, a trophy and her name engraved on a plaque located at the breeders office in Lewisburg, TN. Reserve honors went to her sister, Erica Derickson. Congratulations to both sisters. The committee was pleased with the response to the class and anticipated additional amateur rider participation for 2002.

On a less encouraging note, TWHBEA was grateful for the Celebration and Mr. Ron Thomas’ sponsorship of this year’s new Celebration Classic show held in the new Franklin, TN facility. Although the number of novice classes had increased in number and size at the Celebration in years past, the entries at the Classic were down from expected numbers. Reasons for this discouraging account will be investigated and reports will be announced later in the year. Charles Gleghorn was awarded the Performance Show Horse and Ambassador of the Tennessee Walking Horse award. This is the inaugural year for the award as it honors a person who has presented a positive attitude and exposure of the Tennessee Walking Horse. Larry Lowman was recognized for his original idea.

The committee further agreed that research clinics need to be given across the country to acquaint the general public with the performance show horse, its equipment and attributes. A very impassioned Pedigo then reported on an article from the November issue of Equus magazine. It purportedly contained pictures of padded horses in violation of the Horse Protection Act and stated that leaders in the industry approved of this continuing practice. The article according to Pedigo is erroneous and misleading and is extracted from a USDA brochure explaining the Horse Protection Act. With the assistance of Craig Evans, the executive committee assisted by the TWHBEA staff, compiled a two-page retort to be run in the February 2002 issue of Equus. The first page will extole the virtues of the walking horse and the second page will contain a reply to the ad.

Ann Kuykendall, vice president of the pleasure horse division began her report with a comment that Judy Martin had reduced the size of the registration papers to fit a legal size envelope. This evoked a roaring applause from all attendees.

Kuykendall began by noting that the plantation division is the largest contingent of the breeders association. She announced the date for the 2002 Versatility World Show to take place at the Livestock Arena, MTSU, Murfreesboro, TN as August 3, 2002. The show date will be just prior to the commencement of the International Championship Show. She requested all attendees to remind their members that double points are awarded at this show and large pay backs are available. Last year the show had 5 corporate sponsors and all the monies went to the exhibitors. Trainer awards and trainer and youth model awards were also given.

The committee addressed the problem of proper gaits in the water glass classes. Effective immediately, exhibitors must make a noticeable change of gait to tie in the class.

Dan Starnes received the 2001 Pleasure Horse Ambassador-Youth award and Lonnie Kuehn received the Trainers award. Roger Hand was recognized for giving a successful and informative reining and trail clinic. Often times, exhibitors are unaware of the reasons for not tying in a class. It is hoped that further clinics will increase the knowledge of versatility and trail exhibitors, enabling them to compete with added assurance and ability. The Promotions committee requested the plantation division make educational videos available to universities and colleges with equine programs. Sis Osborne was credited with this idea for 2001.

Kuykendall’s committee was addressed by Linda Hill, attorney representing the American Horse Council. She commented on the decline of equine trails in the U.S. It was agreed that a tri-fold leaflet be produced to promote trail riding and the plantation horse. Three motions had been presented to the NHSC and Kuykendall now reported on the decisions.

A motion to leave the trail pleasure classes as amateur only-no trainers passed.

A motion to allow no time outs during a class was tabled.

A motion to change the size of the plantation pleasure shoe was passed. It will be limited to 1” width, 1 1/2” thickness and a 1” turnback.

Kuykendall then acknowledged the new supreme and superior champions including those presented at the Celebration. Those achieving this honor since that time are Sarah Jones and Alena Parsons.

Dr. Alan Bachert, vice president of the sales and promotions division presented his committee report. In addition to the additional monies to be budgeted for marketing through the TWHBEA, Bachert announced that funding had been received for all three Equitanas...Germany, Australia and the United States.

He further announced that a new booklet has been published promoting the Tennessee Walking Horse in four languages, English, Spanish, German and Dutch. Marketing promotions have been featured at 32 different events in 17 states, Canada and Australia. Our horse is truly international.

Previously at the October 29, 2001 meeting, the budget committee had proposed that the cost of all videos be reduced to $19.95 effective November 1, 2001. Bachert was pleased to announce that this would include the newest video which is in editing and will soon be available.

The Commemorative Garden Project has broken ground and Larry Lowman invited everyone to visit it in its infancy stages. Lowman advised the group that the project should approach completion next year. Donations will be accepted and the committee will consider a brochure to allow for participation in the project.

Again, the good news came that the sale from the gift shop were ahead of the previous year. Dr. Bachert thanked everyone for their interest and participation.

Craig Evans gave a short message in Steve Aymett’s absence on behalf of the trainers meeting held earlier in the week. It was voted by the membership that all trainers would be required to become members of TWHBEA commencing in 2002. Evans encouraged the trainers to become more involved in the association and welcomed their presence.

Sid Baucom, member-at-large bylaws reiterated that a motion to clarify the language in the bylaws regarding free foal registration had been approved. The new language clarified the requirement of current membership at the time of the free foal registration. Baucom said that no suggested bylaw changes had been submitted by the April 1 deadline. The minutes of the prior meeting had been reviewed and were found to be in conformance with the bylaws.

The final committee member to report was Nancy Lynn Beech, member-at-large youth. Her enthusiastic message was received well by those in attendance. This year more than 20,000 educational Youth Activity books were distributed. Anyone wishing to receive a book may call the Breeders office and request them.

Beech announced that new handbooks were being revised and updated and will be available in the spring.

The Illinois 4-H had sent a certificate of appreciation for the interest and supplied given to them by the association to aid in their youth education programs. Beech then expressed appreciation and thanks to Linda Starnes of Kentucky as a friend to 4-H and applauded her hard work and dedication.

Youth achievements include six youth superior champions, the awarding of 248 Saddle-Time patches for boy and girl scout projects (50 more are in process). Beech also noted that the division had hosted three jamborees.

Currently 12 Youth Ambassador Program Members are working to earn points through competition, education and community service. The first Youth Ambassador Award was given to Dan Starnes for his enthusiastic endeavors in promoting the walking horse and assisting wherever possible to encourage other youth. The youth membership numbers 88 this year. 2001 also saw six youth achieving the title of superior champions.

The scholarship committee, she added, had awarded six, $2,500 undergraduate scholarships and two $2,500 graduate scholarships in 2001. Looking forward to 2002, Beech announced the commitment of the Walking Horse Foundation to fund one scholarship for next year. They have pledged top priority for these funds. The scholarship committee will meet to determine whether to add an additional scholarship or allocate the monies to other projects. Projects that would ben given consideration would be therapeutic riding programs, and the development of a Joe Webb riding camp. Any monies donated to these causes would be tax-free.

The floor was then opened to comments or discussion from members. Paul “Whitey” Whitehead made a motion to raise membership dues to $90. Welch and Evans conferred and noted the motion could not be entertained at this meeting as this was not the proper venue for consideration of an increase in fees.

Larry Lowman encouraged the membership to become charter members of the TWH Foundation. In an effort to attract additional participation, the limited time offer of a $500 lifetime membership fee would be extended until May 31, 2002. After that time lifetime membership fees will be $1000.

A comment was made for the board to consider banishment of anyone convicted of pressure shoeing. Again it was noted that it was a matter for the board and committee to consider. An inquiry was made concerning the possibility of teleconferencing to enable members to participate in all committee activities. Sid Baucom approached the question and replied that there was no technology to handle that process at the present time. The logistics and number of persons involved would be overwhelming, and not cost effective.

Information concerning the 2001-2002 board members is available on and also the TWHBEA website.

The 2001-2002 Executive Committee is Mr. Robert Thomas of Philadelphia, PA, president; Mr. Jerrold Pedigo of Murfreesboro, TN, Sr. vice president and Sharon Brandon Secretary/Treasurer. Operating division vice presidents are:

Charles Wharton Administrative/Fiscal
Bonnie Barberot Breeders
Brenda Bramlett Enforcement
Charles Hulsey Horse Show
Kathy Zeis Owners/Exhibitors
Jane Hardy Meredith Performance Show Horse
Ann Kuykendall Pleasure Horse
Larry Lowman Sales/Promotion
Spencer Benedict Training
Sid Baucom Member-At-Large/Bylaws
Nancy Lynn Beech Member-At-Large/Youth

All members of the Executive committee thanked their committee members for their dedication and hard work and also the association employees without whom they could not have performed the tasks at hand. The meeting adjourned at 11:15 a.m. as no other business was presented.