Posted March 19, 2002
LEWISBURG, Tenn. - The TWHBEA Executive Committee held a regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Friday, February 25, 2002 at the association’s headquarters.

Following the call to order and the approval of the agenda, the minutes of the January 28, 2002 meeting were slightly amended. Charles Hulsey added Jane Hardy MEredith and Jerrold Pedigo to his horse show committee, Bonnie Barberot added Rebecca Huck to her breeders’ committee and Larry Lowman added Jane Hardy Meredith to his sales and promotion committee.

Administrative/Fiscal Division Vice President Charles Wharton said the association continues to spend 15% of its total revenue on computer programming. Efforts to reduce this expencse through the hiring of an in-house programmer are ongoing.

Mr. Wharton said the association had received the first draft of its audited financial statement and there were adjustments made which show an increase in net assets of $365,000 instead of $400,000 that was reported last month. The preliminary December financial statement shows an increase in revenue over expenses of about $200, which means the association continues to operate rather lean during some months, said Wharton. Following his report, the financial statement for the period ending December 31, 2002 was approved.

TWHBEA President Robert Thomas presented his views on a meeting he attended on February 8 in Washington D.C. with Bill Hawks, USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regularoty Programs. Also present at the meeting were NHSC Chairman Craig Evans, NHSC Counsel Neils Holch, WHTA President Bill Young, Kentucky HIO DQP Coordinator Jackie Brown, APHIS Acting Deputy Administrator Dr. Ron DeHaven., APHIS Associate Administrator Bobby Acord and U.S. Congressman Bart Gordon.

Mr. Thomas said four industry concerns were addressed during the meeting - 1) the scheduling of enhanced penalties for scar rule violations, 2) the USDA’s apparent sole reliance on digital palpation in determining non-compliant horses, 3) industry-perceived VMO misconduct and 4) the need for VMOs to possess large animal skills, specifically equine.

Mr. Thomas said the industry is making progress in its efforts to secure meetins with higher-level USDA officials and he remains cautiously optimistic about the impact of this lastest meeting.

NHSC Chairman Craig Evans reported on a meeting held February 22 in Nashville, Tenn., with USDA Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman that he and TWHBEA Executive Director Bob Cherry attended along with about 30 other state agriculture leaders. Evans said that two points were stressed to Secretary Veneman at the meeting - the issue involving enhanced penalties for scar rule ciolations and the digital palpation issue.

“Hopefully, if we keep making these points we’ll make some inroads,” said Evans.

Evans also reported to the executive committee on the status of a recent bill proposed in the Virginia state legislature. He said the original bill passed the full senate before an amended version passed the house. The amended bill must now go back to the senate for the final approval. With the amendments, Evans said the bill more closely mirrors the Federal Horse Protection Act, and has been “stregthened, enhanced and made more equitable.”

In his report to the executive committee, Bob Cherry said Dr. Dave Whitaker of Middle Tennessee State University and Dr. Doyle Meadows of the University of Tennessee are assisting TWHBEA with the production of judging video. This muchneeded insturctional tool will benefit 4-H, FFA and collegiate judging programs across the country. Mr. Cherry said other breeds have such a video and more youth judging education is needed for Tennessee Walking Horses. To emphasize this need, Mr. Cherry presented enrollment numbers in Tennessee 4-H livestock projects last year. There were 565 seine projects, 1407 sheep projects, 5134 beef projects, 5513 dairy projects, and 21, 082 horse projects.

Mr. Cherry said TWHBEA had applied for a $10,000 grant from the Tennessee Agriculture Development fund to help offset the production costs of the video.

Continuing his report, Mr. Cherry said that he attended the National Field Trial at the Ames Plantation in Grand Junction, Tenn., on February 20, and found it to be extremely enlightening. He said about 95 percent of the horses ridden in the field trail were Tennessee Walking Horses, and called the sport a “huge market for this breed.”

Mr. Cherry announced that TWHBEA’s official portrait of 2001 World Grand Champion Pride’s Jubilee Encore would be formally unveiled on March 7 following a luncheon at the residence of Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist. This has become an annual event involving officials from TWHBEA, the Celebration, and the owner and trainer of the champion horse.

From December 2001 through January 2002, Mr. Cherry reported an increase of 308 registrations and 165 transfers compared to the same period the year before. The same comparison shows memberships (new and renewals) down 602, mares listed on stallion breeding reports down 756 and current membership is down 26.

During the standing committee reports, Charles Wharton named his administrative/fiscal committee. His appointments included Carroll Benedict, Jerry Blackshaw, Bob Cherry, Sharon Brandon, Mike Chiappari, Marietta Gambrell, Bonnie Herman, and Mick Salm.

Brenda Bramlett appointed Sid Baucom, Larry Lowman, Jerrold Pedigo, Bonnie Barberot and Charles Hulsey to her enforcement committee. She also said that one formal complaint had been recently filed.

Charles Hulsey, vice president of the horse show division, reported that his committee is in the process of selecting ribbons and trophies for the TWHBEA-partnered regional futurities via bid process. Mr. Hulsey also said there is confusion regarding the NHSC’s policy on allowing its judges to judge 4-H shows. A discussion ensued, and it was determined that the practice is allowed by the NHSC, but that a formal rule needs to be stablished. Lastley, Mr. Hulsey said he is looking into a new junior college horse show program that has been established in Alabama.

In her report to the executive committee, Jane Hardy Meredith said the performance show horse division is seeking a corporate sponsor to provide added prize money for the TWHBEA Youth Medallion Classes. Shw also reported on the status of a new performance horse brochure.

Pleasure Horse Division Vice President Ann Kuykendall announced that the new versatility rulebook is now available, and that a new versatility brochure has recently been published. She commended staff members Sis Osborne and PJ Wamble for their assistance with these two projects.

Mrs. Kuykendall said she recently attended the North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC) in Fort Worth, Texas. A Tennessee Walking Horse named Sonic’s Morning Star was awarded the 2001 President’s Cup, the highest honor bestowed by the NATRC> Gerald Ferguson of Estill Springs, Tenn., owns the mare. Mrs. Kuykendall called the award great publicity for the breed and said that there is an unlimited market for walking horses in the sport of competitive trail riding. She also recently conducted a 4-H judging clinic at Oklahoma State University that drew more than 400 attendees.

Following her report, TWHBEA’s appointments to the NHSC Pleasure Horse Rules Sub-Committee were made and approved. They include Ann Kuykendall (chair), Marietta Gambrell and Sherri Szucs. Alternates include Mag Ranft and Paula Andrews.

TWHBEA’s appointments to the NHSC Performance Horse Rules Sub-Committee were also set. They include Jane Hardy Meredith (chair), Brenda Bramlett, and Specner Benedict. Alternates are Leigh Bennett, Nancy Lynn Beech, and Jerrold Pedigo.

In the final committee appointment of the day, Dr. Frank Glass, president of Motlow College, was again named TWHBEA’s representative on the NHSC Oversight Committee.

Nancy Lynn Beech, member at-large youth, delivered the final standing committee report. She said her committee plans to focus on increasing participation in exisiting youth programs rather than create any new programs this year. Particular emphasis will be placed on 4-H related programs.