September 11, 2007

Dear TWHBEA Member,

First, I want to thank you for being a member.  Your membership is indicative of your interest and appreciation for the Tennessee Walking Horse.   

Secondly, I ask you to READ THIS LETTER IN ITS ENTIRETY.  It provides information that is important to you.  There is some misinformation that is being circulated and, as President, I want to ensure that the actual facts are communicated. 

In the coming days, you will receive ballots to vote on Bylaw amendments, and ballots to elect a director(s) for your state or region.   Undoubtedly you will be encouraged by various individuals and groups to view these issues and candidates one way or another.  I encourage you to read each Bylaw amendment , to study them carefully, and then decide for yourself what is best for the Association’s future as it relates to each.  These amendments were recommended by the Bylaw Committee and then passed by the Executive Committee.   Likewise, please review all the candidates, determine which candidate will place the TWHBEA first in the decisions he or she will make, and will not be partial to one group, segment, or organization within the industry.  All of our disciplines, members and programs are important and necessary to serve the membership and the horse.

Now, as President, I want to take this opportunity to clarify and address recent questions and inquiries to the TWHBEA regarding websites that are promoting various views related to the Association.  The two sites that we are aware of are and  Neither I, as President, nor the TWHBEA is a part of either of these groups.  Other than the contact names and endorsing organizations that are shown on one or both of the sites, I have no knowledge of either. 

As with most organizations, whether public, private or non-profit, there are various opinions on how an organization should proceed in addressing issues.   Understandably, the TWHBEA is no different.  For many years we have had issues that have divided our membership and our directors.  Some issues loom larger than others.  Some issues, in time, went away.  Others, as a result of compromise, were finally settled and we moved on.  Some issues have been with us for a long time and still remain; and some of them, unfortunately, will probably remain with us for a long time yet to come.

When I became President, I assumed an obligation to the entire membership - not just one group or segment.  The membership at the TWHBEA is like a large pendulum that swings far to the right and equally as far to the left.  Trying to find balance, that center that will provide the best service to our entire membership, is very difficult.  As a Director or Officer, we have an obligation to serve the entire membership.  Not all decisions suit me; but if it is the will of the membership, through a membership vote or through the International Board of Directors or through its Executive Committee, then I respect it and try my best to implement it, support it and make it successful.  Plain and simple, that is one’s fiduciary responsibility as a Director or Officer of an organization.

I hear complaints from several sides, and about various subjects, and if any segment or group expected me to vote or support only one segment then they were wrong.  As Directors and Officers we must represent the entire membership; whether we agree with them, disagree with them, know them or do not know them.  We must find that balance, that center of the road that best meets the needs and goals of our entire membership.


I realize that some of the issues the TWHBEA is promoting are not popular with some segments of our industry and have prompted frequently asked questions (please visit to review FAQ’s and answers).   At the top of the controversial issues list would be the Sanctioning Plan, the TWHBEA HIO, and the DNA conversion – each widely supported by many and opposed by others.  There are many groups and organizations within the Tennessee Walking Horse industry and, often times, these groups have varying opinions with varying opinions amongst their own members.   At the TWHBEA our membership is made up of individuals from all of these groups. 

In addition to state and regional associations and groups, there are USDA certified industry organizations known as HIOs (Horse Industry Organizations) that provide inspection services to shows and events.   Most, if not all, also license judges and provide a show rulebook that the event must follow.  The USDA certification does not include or relate to the judges or show rules that each HIO may provide.  The USDA certification relates only to the inspection of horses relative to the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and rules related to those inspections.  TWHBEA members come from all facets of this industry, including each of the HIOs that provide services to shows all across this nation.

Since the federal law, the Horse Protection Act (HPA), that regulates this industry was enacted in the early seventies, the TWHBEA has always had an HIO or either been a partner with one or more organizations in an HIO.  The TWHBEA has persistently taken an active role in enforcing the HPA and promoting the welfare of the horse.  Prior to last year, and since the early nineties, the TWHBEA was a partner in the National Horse Show Commission (NHSC).  Beginning January 1, 2006, the TWHBEA chose to no longer participate in the NHSC.  Many factors led to that decision, including the concern and desire to offer the same level of benefits and services to all members, regardless of the HIO they participate with or support.

Therefore, developing a program, that would invite the participation of all HIOs and make the same level of benefits and services available to all members, was paramount in the minds of the International Board of Directors of the TWHBEA.  That program is the TWHBEA sponsored Sanctioning Plan.

The Sanctioning Plan does not, and I repeat, does not set the standards and or rules solely by the TWHBEA, but is a mechanism by which the Breed Registry would have 1/3 of the vote on deciding these issues and the remaining 2/3 vote would be held pro rata by the participating HIOs.  The Plan requires 70% of the total votes to add or amend a Rule.  Every other major equine breed in the world sets the standards and rules for their show circuit through their Breed Registry, such as the AQHA, APHA, AMHA, ASHA, and AHA. 

A few have taken exception with the TWHBEA having an HIO under the Sanctioning Plan even though we have always had or been part of an HIO since the enactment of the HPA over 30 years ago.  When you, as a member, weigh the benefits and liabilities of the Sanctioning Plan and the TWHBEA HIO, I would suggest that each of you ask yourselves these questions.

·         Isn’t it our obligation as the Breed Registry to take an active role in the welfare of the horse, including matters related to the HPA?

·         Isn’t it appropriate and proper for the Breed Registry to have a program that will allow us to invite the participation of all HIOs that our membership comes from, so that the Breed Registry isn’t choosing one HIO over another?

·         Isn’t it appropriate and proper for the Breed Registry to establish rules and standards by which we will record information such as show records?

·         Isn’t it appropriate and proper for the Breed Registry to establish rules and standards for any and all affairs related to the Tennessee Walking Horse that it has responsibility for, endorses and promotes?

·         Isn’t it our obligation to provide programs that are designed to benefit all our members and address the needs of each and every discipline?

Upon reading the TWHBEA Bylaws, ARTICLE I, Section 2, I believe the answer is clearly yes to all of these questions.  The TWHBEA, its members and Directors, are duty bound by the Bylaws to do all these things along with other specific obligations and responsibilities. 

Article I, Section 2

OBJECTS: The objectives and purposes of this Association shall be to collect, record and preserve the pedigrees of Tennessee Walking Horses and to maintain a registry thereof, which shall include, but not be limited to,the right to maintain a stud registry, to sponsor and/or affiliate shows promoting and/or exhibiting this breed, including competitive events for pleasure classes, to promote the best interest of such shows and of the exhibitors and sponsors who make them possible, to promulgate, issue and enforce rules and regulations governing the exhibiting, judging, sale,registration, and breeding of Tennessee Walking Horses, to license and/or appoint judges, stewards and other appropriate show personnel and to adjust from time to time between management, exhibitor, judges, stewards or any other officials of such shows, to adjudicate questions, to inflict penalties for such violations in accordance with such rules and regulations, to sponsor educational and promotional programs promoting this breed and promoting the competency of officials connected therewith, to protect and promote the welfare of the Tennessee Walking Horse insofar as Association finances will permit, and to stimulate, promote and regulate any and all other matters as may pertain to the history, breeding, exhibiting publicity, sale or improvement of the breed, and to do all things for the betterment of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.


Finally, as President, I want to officially notify you of our annual membership meeting.  It will be held on Saturday, December 1, at 9:00 AM at the TWHBEA headquarters in Lewisburg, Tennessee.  On the preceding Thursday and Friday there will be numerous committee meetings and various reports and discussions relating to the business affairs of your organization.  I invite and encourage you to attend.  Additionally, the TWHBEA Annual Banquet will be conducted on Friday evening, November 30.  Everyone is welcome.  Just contact the TWHBEA office to make reservations and find out more information.

I want to commend all of you that give of your time and effort to further the growth and prosperity of the Tennessee Walking Horse.  I know you love this breed and want the best for it.


Jerrold Don Pedigo, President

Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association