LEWISBURG, Tenn. – The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) held is semi-annual directors meeting on Saturday, May 29th. The meeting showcased and highlighted many positive numbers for the association. Joyce Moyer, from Ohio, gave the financial report which was the focal point of the meeting.

The current membership count as of May 1st was 4,177, which is an increase of 496 members from this time last year. There have been 2,846 memberships sold since December 1, 2020, which is an increase of 213 year over year. Registrations are the key to the association and there have been 1,433 registrations since December 1, 2020, which is an increase of 277 year over year. Another important number, transfers, are also up. There have been 2,024 transfers since December 1st which is up 521 year over year.

With increases in membership, transfers, registrations and leases, you can expect that the finances are better as well. Income through April 30th is $544,794, an $88,511 increase over that same period in 2019-2020. Combine that with a decrease of roughly $30,000 in expense and you can see that the financial stability of the association is returning. TWHBEA has $759,580 in cash as of April 30th, which is an incredible $262,814 increase over this same time last year.

Just like thousands of business across the country, TWHBEA qualified and received the PPP loan from the federal government, which has now also been forgiven, which does help both the cash and income numbers. That income item for TWHBEA is a $99,060 positive impact. Through April of this year, TWHBEA net income is a $218,000 improvement over the same period last year when the association had a loss of $77,000.
Jim Heiting, from California, did ask the leadership of TWHBEA during the meeting if they had a reason for such a positive change. Executive Director Margo Urad answered that TWHBEA had waived late fees which had made a huge difference in older horses being registered as well as increasing transfers and then also mentioned the PPP loan forgiveness.

The policies started under Steve Smith and continued through the tenure of David Williams of focusing on the financial stability of TWHBEA have continued and look to be making huge improvements to where TWHBEA has the financial ability to help grow the breed and reinstitute many of the programs to help market and promote the horse.

President Jack Heffington also spoke to the need for horse shows to return outside of Middle Tennessee and alerted the directors to two new horse shows TWHBEA will have in areas that previously had Walking Horse shows. The first will be in Little Rock on June 19th and a second will be in Bowling Green on October 16th.
Heffington also spoke to the need to grow the scope of what the Marketing division does at TWHBEA which should include the expansion of horse shows. Heffington also mentioned the need to have signs return to all interstates as they enter the state of Tennessee from other areas promoting the Tennessee Walking Horse. This too would be a return to past practice. The web site of TWHBEA continues to expand and the overhaul of that web site is continuing according to marketing head Frances Bates.

TWHBEA’s existing horse shows continue to look like successes for 2021. The Summer Sizzler will be held July 22nd in Calsonic Arena with an afternoon session judged by Newton Parks and the evening session judged by Jamie Bradshaw. Sponsorships, led by Amanda Wright, are strong for the show with about 80 percent of the needed sponsorships already committed according to Wright.

Kristen Reichard also spoke regarding the World Versatility Show which will also be held on July 22nd but at the MTSU Livestock Center on the campus of MTSU. Shannon Gibbs will be the judge and Reichard has $10,000 committed for the show which will have a cost of $10,600. More sponsorships are continuing to come in.

Reichard also spoke about a first for TWHBEA. TWHBEA will host the first Dressage Show for Tennessee Walking Horses. The show will be held September 25th at ThorSport in Murfreesboro. Almost half of the needed sponsorships for this show have also been committed.

The youth will hold their Tennessee Walking Horse Youth Association horse show on August 14th in Belfast.
TWHBEA and its executive committee should be commended for many of the positive trends at the association. Building improvements continue, Thom Meek and the training division continue to bring the trainers and TWHBEA more in line and ideas that will help the breed now have the necessary funding to be considered when in the past many of those ideas fell to the wayside because of a lack of necessary funding.