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Meetings Dominate Walking Horse Landscape



By Jeffrey Howard

The Tennessee Walking Horse industry will end its show season with The International in Murfreesboro this weekend and the focus will switch to the offseason which means meetings and banquets.  Traditionally this has been the case but in 2011 the meetings have begun even sooner.
 
On October 19, 2011 Dr. Chester Gipson from the USDA and Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) Executive Director Ron Thomas met.  The following day, Gipson met with the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (TWHNC) board of directors.  As a result of that meeting TWHNC announced a finance committee to look at its SHOW HIO and has since announced that SHOW will move forward in 2012 and most fees were cut 50%.
 
Gipson met with representatives of the PRIDE and Kentucky HIOs on Wednesday November 16, 2011 and will make his way to Middle Tennessee to meet with the TWHBEA Executive Committee on Saturday November 19, 2011.  The Walking Horse Report will be at this meeting and have a report on the contents of that executive committee meeting.
 
The Report has also learned that Gipson will meet with the Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) on Sunday November 20, 2011.  The exact intent of the meetings with Gipson is unknown however rumors are rampant as to the contents of those meetings.  Topics such as mandatory penalties, decertification and the future of the pad and action device have all been rumored to have been discussed.
 
And the first weekend in December brings the traditional meetings to Franklin and Lewisburg, Tenn.  The TWHBEA general membership meeting will be held Friday December 2, 2011, at their headquarters while the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association general membership meeting and elections will be going at the same time in Franklin at the Cool Springs Marriott.  The TWHBEA board of directors meeting will be held Saturday, December 3 at the TWHBEA headquarters in Lewisburg.
 
The TWHBEA Awards Banquet will be held at the Cool Springs Marriott on Friday night, December 2 and the WHTA Horse of the Year Awards Banquet will be held at the same location on Saturday night.
 
The Walking Horse Report will be covering both annual conventions and have reports from each of the meetings.  Each year the popular statement, “These meetings are the most important in years,” gets thrown around and this year is no exception.  One thing is for sure, the industry is as fragmented as it has been in some time and each meeting is critical to the success of that particular group and the overall industry.
 
What has been in the show ring this year has been a success and good representation of the Tennessee Walking Horse.  As for everything else, it hasn’t been our finest hour.

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