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Positive Developments...by David L. Howard



Positive Developments...

An editorial by David L. Howard

As the show season begins, there are a number of encouraging signs as we embark on this critical year. It’s time to forget the past and look forward positively to the future…and there is good reason to do so.
 
During February, the SHOW HIO, Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors Association, Walking Horse Trainers’ Association and the Walking Horse Owners’ Association held their second meeting of the year. The goal has been to develop an understanding and appreciation for each group’s issues and work together for the betterment of the horse.

An example of this new found cooperation and communication was when WHOA and the TWHBEA sent letters of recommendation for the SHOW HIO to the Kentucky Breeders’ Incentive Fund. Dr. Steve Mullins and Dr. John Bennett represented SHOW and made a presentation to the Kentucky group on Feb. 25.
 
SHOW is working to be recognized by the Kentucky Incentive Fund Committee so that eligible entries at SHOW affiliated shows in Kentucky qualify for the money available through the Incentive Fund. In a show of unity and support, both TWHBEA and WHOA sent strong letters of support to the Fund Committee. A decision is expected at any time.
 
Dr. Steve Mullins, head of SHOW, thanked both organizations for their support. “I really appreciate the support of the TWHBEA and WHOA as we strive to gain acceptance in the Kentucky Breeders’ Incentive Fund.” He also praised both organizations for their support over the past several months and pledged his best efforts to continue to work with all industry groups.
 
WHOA recently asked SHOW not to put the burden of collecting Horse Card fees on show managers. Dr. Mullins worked with WHOA officials and came up with an alternate way to collect the fees in another example of working together. 
 
WHOA’s Mark Taylor made the following comment about the SHOW Horse Card. “The industry needs to understand the positive impact the SHOW Horse Card could have on the cash flow for show management and the charities they support. The additional monies collected by the elimination of inspection fees can greatly increase the support of charities throughout the year.”
 
TWHBEA and SHOW have reached an agreement recognizing the TWHBEA as the official record of ownership for the SHOW HIO, its entries and horse cards. The pre-entry sheet from SHOW now says the “owner of record is subject to be verified through the TWHBEA, the official breed registry.” Also, all official leases of horses for the purpose of owner verification will have to be on file at the TWHBEA.
 
Additionally, the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association has worked closely with these groups and given advice and support to SHOW on many issues, including penalties and the rulebook. The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration continues to provide funding for SHOW and its Board and Executive Committee meet regularly with Dr. Mullins.
 
It’s obvious the lines of communication are open and the leadership of these organizations are working together on several critical issues facing the breed. It’s important that they build on this cooperative spirit as the breed faces additional challenges in the coming months.
 
Real communication only happens when people feel safe and share the same goals and much of the vitality in a working relationship lies in the honoring of differences, not simply the enjoyment of similar views. Cooperation and communication go a long way and the industry leadership has taken the first small steps into a bright and promising future.

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