by Stephanie Rose

Deborah Williams called the WHOA Board of Directors meeting to order on July 1, 2009, at the Miller Coliseum a little after 6 p.m. President Frank Neal was not present. The board approved the minutes from the last meeting and moved on to the treasury report. Hall said, “We are struggling, but we are making it.”

Virginia Stewart had several questions about the treasury report. “In the grand scheme of things, we are over $50,000 behind. Why?” Hall said that WHOA is down on memberships and the sponsors for the shows haven’t been billed yet this year and last year they had. He then went on to say, “People are showing less. Where they used to show 10 times in a night, they now just show once or twice. We need everyone’s help when it comes to sponsorships.” Stewart followed that up with, “Where is the money going to come from if we keep losing money?” Hall said, “We’ve always managed, but we do need to come up with new memberships.”

The group started talking about what WHOA had been doing lately. They had the WHOA-Kiwanis show on Saturday, June 27 at Womack Stables. “We had a great show on Saturday and it was a lot of fun,” Hall said. Judy Martin spoke up. “We have to get back to having fun.”

Bud Moore had a couple of questions as well. “None of the salaries are listed (on the treasury report). You spend a certain amount of time on horse shows and there are no salaries listed.” Hall said, “I don’t work overtime. I will bring in the salaries next time. We have had five shows and two weeks of youth camp since the last board meeting.” Hall followed up by saying, “We have got to be very proactive. We are putting it out there. We are saving money by using emails instead of letters for our members.”

Stewart wanted to know whether WHOA has an executive committee and whether they ever have. Hall said, “No, we’ve never had one.”  Stewart replied, “Well who determines the salary then?” Hall commented, “My staff hasn’t had a raise in over two years. The president and I determine salary and raises.”

“It’s not fair to you to make those decisions,” Stewart said. “It should be the executive committee or the personnel committee who makes those decisions.” Moore said, “Can we put this on the agenda to vote on the executive committee next time?”

Hall replied, “They did look into having one many years ago. They didn’t want to have an executive board because the board members won’t get to make as many decisions.” The group determined that is what TWHBEA does.
Zeis said, “Certain issues are dealt with by an executive committee.” Judy Martin said, “This was discussed before and they didn’t want a small group having too much control. TWHBEA is only as good as its leadership. Throughout the years, there have been times when certain things are crammed down their throats.”

Stewart said, “Are we going to talk about it next time?” Bud Moore made a motion to research the possibility to have an executive committee. George-Ann Pratt seconded it.

Virginia Stewart thought the bylaws need to be rewritten. She said, “We should make them more up to date.” Everyone agreed. Moore said, “By the next board meeting we need to have this research.” Kim Bennett made a motion to appoint a committee of five to research the bylaws and the executive committee. It passed unanimously. Bud Moore, David Pruett, Iris Schumann, Kim Bennett and Virginia Stewart were appointed on the committee with Bob Lawrence as an alternate. Bob Lawrence made a motion to approve the financial report.

Kim Bennett asked about having a Novice Show. Hall said that it is planned the night before the International again. Last year, they had 12 classes with 113 entries. Everyone loved it, and they all got floral horseshoes. They were planning on doing a circuit this year, but with the economy it never happened.

Next, there was a report on the Pleasure Horse Committee by Sis Osborne. They have averaged over 120 entries per show and is usually around 180 entries. She said, “I think this is great. We are giving them a chance to show. I’m really proud of us. We added performance classes to some of the shows this year and we are now averaging three to four in those classes.

Hall said that their jackpot deal was going really well in the WHOA shows. Each exhibitor in each class gets a number and then at the end of the show, they draw a number to win money or a prize. This makes it advantageous to show as many times possible. The first show they gave away $500, and last week Winner’s Circle donated a western saddle and bridle.

Hall also commented that he wished SHOW would include the inspection reports from the WHOA shows in their weekly updates that are put in the Report and other media. They are all affiliated by SHOW. They have only had one violation this year in over 30 shows.

The WHOA shows do a special affiliation with SHOW so they only have to pay $4 per horse. This is keeping the pleasure horse people going. They pay $21 per class per show or an all day fee of $49. It helps to keep the fees down.
Taylor said, “These people chase points. For pleasure people, they chase points like Quarter Horse people. Carol Worsham went 20,000 miles last year showing. Mary Helen Martin has been here the last five weeks from South Carolina.”

The International is at $46,650 in sponsorships right now. Last year, they were at about $60,000 at this time. Taylor said, “We still have a lot of calls to make. We hope to have everything in order before the Celebration. Last year we raised $125,000. We have lost sponsors because of the economic situation.”

Pratt asked, “Are we going to have a hospitality room [at the Performance International]?” Hall said, “Probably not. It has only broken even a couple of years.” Sarah Dunn said, “We need tables ringside. We could shrink the ring and put them on the floor. Everyone loves that.”

Hall and Frank Neal have met about having an owners’ seminar. It will have a panel of five or six different people. They would have an emcee, a judge, trainer, lawyer and vet. They would also have someone tape it. “We could put it on the WHOA web site, Hall commented. “We need a date and place. There is a new convention center in Murfreesboro we could use.” Pratt made a motion to proceed with the WHOA Seminar quickly. Bennett asked if it would be possible to do a DVD immediately. Hall said he would like to see this done before the Celebration. “It will be provided for informational purposes only. We can put it on the web site and do press releases to the media.” Williams said, “We need to proceed with the Owners’ Liability DVD first and then do the owners’ seminar as quickly as possible.”

Moore spoke up and said he would like to see a follow-up done on getting a lobbyist in Washington for them. He made a motion to proceed to talk with SHOW and the WHTA to get a lobbyist. Kathy Zeis seconded it.
Next on the agenda was the Certification Program. Hall said he gets calls from people in different areas asking where he or she should go to buy a horse or to put a horse in training. He said he would like to see trainers go through a certification program. It would be a test on different things like the Horse Protection Act. When they pass, WHOA will put them on the web site. “It puts more credibility in us and in them,” he said. Bennett was asked what he thought about it. He said he thinks they should be a member of WHOA. Martin said she thinks it is a great idea, but that trainers might think they are getting in their business.

Bennett said, “I think you would have to set your criteria. To be on our list, you have to pass the test and have no suspensions.” Williams said, “We are trying to make them more professional.” Martin said, “Lets see what the trainers do in the next couple of months.”

Debra Coleman thought WHOA should try to get the trainers to do away with Riders’ Cup. She said it is not fair for the amateur riders to not be included in some way. Hall said, “I think the classes need to be ribbons only and then get paid at the end of the year.” Judy Martin commented, “It is hurting the one-night show.” Moore said, “The money could be better spent somewhere else.” They planned to talk more about this at the next meeting.

Before adjourning, Debra Coleman put in her resignation and the members voted to accept her resignation.