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A Step Toward Unity



Below is an outline of a proposed unification plan circulated last year to industry organizations. The plan was presented on February 11, 2011, to the President and one additional representative of the Walking Horse Trainers Association, Walking Horse Owners Association, Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association. The basic outline of the structure was presented in a five-page outline.

At that meeting it was agreed that Frank Eichler would go meet with each of the group’s boards and hopefully move on from there. He first met with the Trainers board and they were in agreement to move forward. He met with TWHBEA on February 26, 2011, and they were not interested in participating in the structure. WHOA never set a meeting date and, since it was not moving forward, it was decided it was not necessary to meet with the Celebration.

Following their inclusion in the Unity Committee this year, the Celebration presented each member a copy of the plan as a starting point for discussion and consideration at a future meeting. The Celebration neither authored nor endorsed the plan but felt it was a good first step to get the unity movement moving forward.  Below is the outline of the plan:


  
Reasons for Unification
- One voice/one organization
- Need a new organization and structure because no one trusts any other organization or will allow
  WHAT, TWHBEA or WHOA to be “in control”.
- Fragmentation continues to allow dilution of best services, people, programs – example is show
  development
- All organizations are struggling financially – duplication of costs
- Reduce or eliminate weekly, monthly, yearly attacks on and by each organization which only serves to
  weaken industry
- Eliminate “competition” for rulebook, judging, and shows that continue to create hatred/distrust within
  the industry
- Eliminate in-fighting
- Funding model would need to be developed to allow single unifieid entity to survive and thrive
- History and current examples are proof of need for unification
- Failure to unify will probably lead to demise of some/all organizations and possibly the Industry or some
  aspects of the Industry
- SHOW is NOT leading this effort – it is an HIO.
- Director/Committee structure is only for illustrative purpose. Goal would be to get small group from
  each organization to participate on an Industry Organization Committee to develop, propose and,
  hopefully, implement in next 6-12 months
- Independent Board – 7 members (4 independents and 1 each from Owners, Registry Trainers).
- Process for selecting independent members to be discussed and agreed
- CEO – to be approved by and reports to Independent Board
- Articles of Formation determine items that would require process for discussing and implementing:
          a) unanimous consent – Elimination of pads/chains, mandatory     penalties, others?
          b) supermajority vote – Current AAEP vet oversight of HIO  inspection, modification of DQP 
              program, hearing process, others?
         c) Clearly defined powers and responsibilities of all officers
     -    Concept is to mirror best-in-class structures of other horse breeds or  
           similar organizations

Key areas of possible oversight – to be determined by Industry Unification Committee
- Rulebook – legal or nonlegal
- Judging
- Show development
- Registry
- Training – owners, DQP, farriers, judging, trainers, other
- Marketing and promotion of TWH
- HIO – inspection, DQP program, penalties, hearing process
- USDA coordination and communication
- Support inspection documentation; create records, preshow, show and post show
- Industry initiatives – blood testing, chipping, other
- HPA initiatives – legal

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