Bennett Delivers Proposal from Task Force in Executive Session

by Jeffrey Howard

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The National Horse Show Commission (NHSC) had its October meeting Monday morning and finally rendered a decision regarding the addition of the open trail pleasure division.  The final verdict was that affiliated NHSC shows will be able to offer an Open Four-Year-Old & Under Trail Pleasure class only if they also offer at least one amateur trail pleasure class.  The NHSC also heard its first report from Dr. John Bennett regarding the proposed plan for the NHSC moving forward but did so in executive session, thus no report was released (read the press release announcing the task force here).

Even though two-thirds of the comments received by the NHSC and the Walking Horse Owners’ Association Pleasure Committed voted 19-2 in opposition to the addition of an open division the NHSC board felt it was in the best interest of the industry nationwide to give young trail pleasure horses another class to showcase themselves.

Ty Irby was for the addition of the division and stated, “the addition of the open division will give the amateur two places to show their horses instead of one at each show.”  He continued, “this will also give shows classes that are traditionally high in entries and don’t decrease in entries when the USDA shows up.”  Irby pointed out that many of the responses that were in opposition to the open division didn’t fully understand that the open division would not replace the amateur division but would be added in addition to the amateur division.

Dr. Judy Moore was in attendance and was not in favor of adding the division for several reasons.  Some of these included the fact that shows may not offer the amateur division and if forced to have the amateur division to have the open division they would do this at the expense of the country pleasure division.  Tommy Hall agreed with Moore that shows are struggling with adding classes because they already have 32-35 classes and don’t have room for the additional classes.

Dr. Moore thought the judges would unfairly favor tying trainers in open classes over amateurs because of their affiliation with fellow trainers.  She mentioned a judge had told her such.  Wink Groover asked Moore to give the judges’ name however she would not do that at the meeting.  He then said, “It has become too easy to criticize judges in this industry and people won’t stand up and say something in order to get something done about it.”

After all discussion was concluded the board did vote in favor of adding the division, provided the amateur class was also offered.  The only dissenting vote was from David Landrum who thought show management should be required to have two amateur classes in order to add the one open class to the schedule.

Lonnie Messick gave his report and highlighted that year-to-date there had been 19 more shows affiliated with the NHSC, 900 more entries inspected and 43 less violations at those shows.  The USDA has attended 15 NHSC affiliated shows in 2008.  There have been 20 conflict resolution cases, two from Wartrace, one from Belfast and 17 at the Celebration.  Messick reported, “about 15 of those cases have already been settled and I think the remainder will be by the end of the week.”  Messick commended Dr. Rachel Cezar, USDA-APHIS Horse Protection Coordinator, for her willingness to work with the NHSC to settle the cases.

Messick had his tenure with the NHSC extended until the end of November.  Messick had resigned from the NHSC previously and his final day was to be October 24, 2008.

The NHSC decided to extend their current agreement with the Kentucky HIO which will expire at year end under the same terms, provided Kentucky HIO does pay the monies owed to the NHSC by December 31, 2008.  This agreement allows the NHSC and Kentucky HIO to share judges lists, shows can’t change affiliation between the two without permission and Kentucky HIO gives $2 per entry to the NHSC.

In new business, Wink Groover asked the board for permission to allow a camera system to be used to monitor judges’ performances at the upcoming Tunica and Perry horse shows.  Groover is trying to devise a method for being able to monitor a judge’s performance after receiving complaints from exhibitors.  After a brief discussion it was decided that Connie Waldo would be paid $1000 to work in center ring with a camera behind the call judge for all 7 performances at Tunica and Perry.

The full Walking Horse Owners’ Association and Trainers’ Associations' Board of Directors will meet on Wednesday to hear the Bennett proposal and the NHSC has a called meeting after this joint board meeting.