By Jeffrey Howard

2009 Walking Horse Report

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The National Horse Show Commission (NHSC) met on Monday March 30, 2009 to vote on the proposal of SHOW to assume responsibilities, effective April 1, 2009.  The NHSC board voted unanimously to accept the proposal of SHOW, the Horse Industry Organization (HIO) of The Celebration.  A copy of this proposal follows:

Mr. Link Webb, Chairman
National Horse Show Commission
P.O. Box 167
Shelbyville, TN 37162

Dear Link:

 SHOW, Inc., the Celebration HIO hereby agrees to accept the proposal of NHSC (Commission) to assume certain duties and responsibilities of the Commission after its dissolution under the following terms and conditions:

1. SHOW will continue the employment of the current staff consisting of three persons continuing at the same salary and benefits level.  The duration of this continuation will be at the discretion of SHOW.

2. SHOW will assume the following obligations and hold the Commission harmless therefrom, to wit:

a. copier lease at $494.00 per month plus tax;
b. postage machine at $288.00 per month;
c. telephone lease at $95.00 per month plus tax;
d. office building lease; and
e. current monthly obligation for equipment, supplies, etc.

3. Commission will transfer and convey all Commission assets to SHOW, specifically including, but not limited to, records, supplies, rule book, accounts receivable, and bank accounts, except for a certain CD with Regions Bank in the amount of $40,000.00 which shall be retained by Commission.  Commission will also transfer to SHOW the list of qualified judges and DQPs and authorize them to participate under the SHOW HIO.

4. SHOW will assume and honor all contracts arising out of any affiliations heretofore entered into between Commission and horseshows and sales.

5. (added during meeting) The effective date of agreement is April 1, 2009

Link, we have met with the Commission personnel and they have been very helpful to us in beginning this transition.  We appreciate the cooperation of your Board and look forward to a smooth transition that will ultimately benefit the entire Tennessee Walking Horse industry.

       Yours very truly,


       Doyle Meadows

The meeting began with the noticeable absence of Chairman Link Webb.  Webb was in an automobile accident over the weekend and was unable to attend the meeting. Frank Neal assumed the chairmanship of the meeting and Rollie Beard took Webb’s seat on the board representing the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA).

The first order of new business was the action item everyone came for, the dissolution of the NHSC and the activation of SHOW.  Dr. Doyle Meadows addressed the NHSC board, “We appreciate being here and this has been what seems like a long time coming.  The last 30-40 days have seen a lot happen and even though we don’t necessarily want this task, we have agreed and are ready to take it on.  We don’t just want to do it, we want to do it correctly and are going to need everyone’s help.”

The major point of discussion about the proposal was the request from the Celebration that SHOW receive all the monies in the operating account (approximately $60,000) and any accounts receivable.  The NHSC has approximately $30,000 outstanding receivables, with $15,000 being from the Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA).  During the previous NHSC vote to dissolve, the NHSC board had recommended giving the Celebration $5,000 of “seed” money so this was a major point of consideration before the vote.

“We are happy to take the $40,000 and give it back to WHTA and WHOA however right now income is limited from the NHSC and we need the monies to keep everything going forward.  It is not like we are going to take the money and deposit it in The Celebration’s account,” stated Meadows.

Both Mark Farrar and David Pruett asked about the amateur card monies that currently support the WHOA business operations.  “It is our intention to leave those monies with WHOA this year and decide moving forward the best way to handle these,” said Meadows.  Farrar asked if there was any way to guarantee WHOA and WHTA that the monies they currently collect from licensing would be allowed to stay there in the future.  Pat Marsh from The Celebration added, “We don’t want this to be like the TWHBEA plan from a couple of years ago and cause conflict in the industry.  We want to get along with everyone and include everyone for the betterment of the industry.”

He continued, “The plans that the industry have asked us to implement up front are going to cost more money than what currently comes in through the NHSC and we want to do these things up front in order to be successful.”

It was agreed that time was of the essence and all in attendance agreed that the decision needed to be made today in order to move the industry forward.  “There has been ample time for these questions to have been asked.  We have to move forward with trust and we have to make a change,” said David Landrum.  He concluded his remarks with the resounding statement, “We can’t divide this industry.”

In regards to fees and what SHOW would charge, Meadows assured the NHSC, “In 2009 we will charge the same fees and after the Celebration and fall shows we will see how short we are and come up with a plan to make up for that shortfall.”

When time for the vote came due, a little curveball was thrown in that the USDA had not assured SHOW that it could begin conducting itself as an HIO at existing affiliated shows with the NHSC.  Dr. Meadows felt sure they would allow SHOW to move forward and conduct the Jackson, Miss. horse show as a SHOW affiliated horse show.  In the unlikely event that doesn’t happen, the NHSC will remain active until May 1, 2009 or whatever date SHOW would like for them to.  This provides the security that all horse shows can currently happen and will be under SHOW management, if not the official name as well.

Editor's Note: In a phone call this afternoon, Dr. Chester Gipson confirmed that SHOW could begin serving as the official HIO for all shows currently affiliated with the NHSC.  Therefore, after April 1, 2009, all events previously affiliated with the NHSC will be sanctioned under the SHOW HIO.

When asked about what will be different effective April 1, 2009 when SHOW takes over?  “I can’t assure you that anything will be different effective immediately,” said Meadows.  “What I can tell you is the single biggest difference will the trainers and owners out of the inspection process,” concluded Meadows.

“We have two or three veterinarians that are Designated Qualified Persons (DQP), including Dr. Bennett and Dr. Mullins.  Dr. Bennett will be at the Jackson horse show and Dr. Baum and Dr. Mullins will be at the Panama City Show.  None of these will be checking horses as a DQP but will be there to assist in the inspection area.  As Compliance Coordinator of SHOW, Dr. Mike Harry will also be at these shows as will Andy Messick,” said Meadows.  Andy Messick will serve as a DQP during the shows as will other DQPs assigned by SHOW.

Meadows concluded the meeting with this personal statement.  “There are no guarantees and in a year you may not like the job I have done but I promise you that I am going to do everything in my heart and soul to make this better for you and to do a good job,” concluded Meadows.

Jamie Hankins jumped in, “That is why we can give up these monies and allow you to invest in the programs needed to help the industry and put in place what has been discussed before but hasn’t been implemented.”

Frank Neal ended the meeting stating, “Everybody here today, whether they personally agree with everything or not, is doing what they feel is best for the industry and is supporting this change.”

The industry faces a big April 4, 2009 scar rule clinic and the following week will mark the debut of the SHOW HIO at the Jackson, Miss. horse show.  It is the intent of all members of the NHSC board to assist the SHOW HIO in any way possible and SHOW promised to have an open door and form committees of owners and trainers to assist in the activities moving forward.