LEWISBURG, Tenn. - The 2003 TWHBEA Executive Committee held the first of its monthly meetings on January 27. President Robert Thomas called the meeting to order and welcomed the new members of the committee, along with Charles Hulsey, TWHBEA’s new executive director.

During his report, Mr. Hulsey said that in his first three weeks on the job, he had attended the banquets of the Kentucky Walking Horse Association (KWHA), the Alabama Walking Horse Association and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. In addition, he visited the Alabama State Horse Fair in Montgomery, and said the Tennessee Walking Horse booth was “absolutely inundated” with visitors.

He said the KWHA made a commitment to purchase a directory listing in the voice Magazine, and encouraged its members to join TWHBEA. Mr. Hulsey said KWHA is interested in having its show results recognized by TWHBEA. Currently, TWHBEA charges $2 per entry for inputting show results from non-NHSC affiliated events.

After a lengthy discussion, Mr. Hulsey and Charles Wharton, vice president of the administrative/fiscal/audit division, were appointed to review the Association’s show results policy and return a recommendation in February.

Continuing his report, Mr. Hulsey announced the members from the registry department for the month of December. Compared to December of 2001, first-time foal registrations increased by 62, but revenue was down $310. Compared to the previous year, there were 58 fewer transfers in December of 2002, with transfer revenue decreasing by $3,815. On a positive note, memberships and membership revenue showed increases of 90 and $6440, respectively. Total revenue in December of 2002 from the three categories increased $2,315 over the previous year.

Mr. Hulsey reported on the success of the first two winter tournaments conducted by the TWHBEA Academy Program. He said both had exceeded expectations. A winter tournament is a regular horse show affiliated with the NHSC, but entries are limited to students of TWHBEA Certified Instructors.

The executive committee granted Mr. Hulsey permission to have video footage shot at the two remaining winter tournament academy shows (February 8 in Bowling Green, Ky., and February 22 in Shelbyville, Tenn.) in preparation for a proposed video about the TWHBEA Academy Program. An academy video would cost an estimated $14,000. Discussion ensued regarding the need for an updated video for the TWHBEA Horse Show Division, and possibly joining forces with the academy program to produce an all-encompassing video. The executive committee plans to revisit the matter in the near future.

In other action, the executive committee approved a recommendation to again hold the TWHBEA Annual Awards Dinner at the Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin, Tenn., home to the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association’s Annual Convention.

Bob Cherry, recently retired TWHBEA Executive Director, was on hand to report on the ongoing efforts to secure the Dixie Plantation’s life-sized statue of Midnight Sun for the TWHBEA Commemorative Garden. Recently, he and Larry Lowman, vice president of the sales and promotion division, traveled to the Dixie Plantation in Greenville, Fla., to meet with the members of the Geraldine C.M. Livingston Foundation and sell them on the idea of loaning the statue to TWHBEA. Mr. Cherry said six of the eight trustees were present at the meeting, and they unanimously approved the idea with further details of the agreement to be worked out.

“It’s a ninety-nine percent done deal,” said Mr. Cherry.

Any agreement will be brought before the executive committee for final approval. Following Mr. Cherry’s report, the executive committee approved a recommendation to allow him to continue working with Larry Lowman to secure the statue.

During the standing committee reports, each divisional vice president announced their committee appointments.

Charles Wharton presented a request from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine asking TWHBEA to make a donation to help with the purchase of a horse rescue sling. Larry Lowman said the Tennessee Walking Horse Foundation could possibly assist with the donation, and requested the issue be tabled.

In addition to producing a new video for the horse show division, Bill Stricklend said his horse show committee is interested in conducting clinics around the country to promote and explain TWHBEA’s Regional Futurity and Versatility Program.

Nicole Carswell, vice president of the owners/exhibitors division, said final touches are being put on the 2003 TWHBEA Celebration Clinic schedule. Topics will include the TWHBEA Academy Program, showmanship at halter, equine nutrition, reproduction, jumping, basic dressage, starting the versatility horse under saddle, understanding the trail pleasure division, starting colts, and judging philosophies. The clinics will also feature the First Annual Kids Celebration Clinic, following by a pizza lunch.

Pleasure Horse Division Vice President Ann Kuykendall reported that she recently attended the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Co., where Tennessee Walking Horses were invited to perform for the first time in the show’s 97-year history.

Larry Lowman said 2001-2002 saw record sales in the TWHBEA Gift Shop and an increase of $4,707.56 over the previous year’s mark. He said the association’s slogan for its new advertising campaign is “Choose Your Sport...We’ve Got The Horse!”

Mr. Lowman said Tennessee’s Backroads Heritage produces a brochure promoting the historical four-county area of Bedford, Coffee, Moore and Franklin. The brochure, which receives a $10,000 matching grant from the State of Tennessee, is distributed at all Tennessee Welcome Centers and features a Walking Horse Tour. He recommended the executive committee increase TWHBEA’s contribution from $2,500 to $3,000 this year. The recommendation was approved.

Continuing his report, Mr. Lowman announced the inclusion of a chapter on Tennessee Walking Horses in the new book, Tennessee Tales The Textbooks Don’t Tell, by Jennie Ivey, Calvin Dickinson, and Lisa Rand. TWHBEA was a contributor to the book. In addition, the Nashville Super Speedway has recently contacted TWHBEA to request breed demonstrations at its four major races this season.

Lastly, Mr. Lowman said he would like to change the name of his division from “Sales and Promotion” to “Marketing”. The executive committee said it would give the change some thought and make a decision at its February meeting.

Paula Andrews, member at large-youth, reported that she, TWHBEA Youth Coordinator Joni Jenne and members of the TWHBEA Youth Board will attend the American Youth Horse Council Symposium in St. Louis, January 31-February 2.

In other business, seven members of the national board requested excused absences from the December directors’ meeting. The executive committee granted the requests.

Under new business, the executive committee approved Mr. Hulsey’s request to attend Equitana Germany in March. This is the world’s largest equine trade show, and TWHBEA’s European members have requested Mr. Hulsey’s attendance. Funding for his trip will be provided by United States Livestock Genetics Export, Inc.

Also under new business, NHSC Chairman Craig Evans announced three recent NHSC rule changes that affect the pleasure division.

First, show management now has the option of limiting the plantation heavy shod shoe to 1 1/2” in width and 1/2” in thickness or 1” in width and 1/2” in thickness. Second, the canter will now be at the option of the horse show management in all open park pleasure and flat-shod pleasure division classes. And third, in 2003 the NHSC will offer a “special affiliated” show rate consisting of an affiliations application fee of $10.00 and a $6.00 per horse inspection fee with a cap after the same horse is inspected the sixth time. The NHSC will pay the DQP services and expenses.

The next meeting of the TWHBEA Executive Committee is set for February 24, 2003. The March meeting has been moved from March 31 to March 24 to coincide with the National Trainers’ Show.