The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association held their annual general membership meeting and election at the Blue Ribbon Circle Club on Friday, December 2, 2022. The meeting is held annually in conjunction with the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association meeting and banquet and culminates on Saturday night with the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association’s Horse of the Year banquet.

The WHTA continues to be in good financial shape and just recently wrote a check for $100,000 to the legal fund. That fund will assist in challenging any rulemaking that attempts to eliminate the Tennessee Walking Show Horse. The Riders’ Cup also had one of its largest years with over $126,000 in the fund.  In 2022, 76 horse shows participated in the program. The performance division of the program was divided into 15 divisions while the pleasure division had 13 divisions. Jimmy McConnell won the performance division and Laurie Toone was the winner in the pleasure division.

During the election, the membership was replacing four board members in addition to their officers. The election results were:
President – Bill Young
1st Vice President – Bill Cantrell
2nd Vice President – Brad Beard
Board members – Link Webb, Laurie Toone, Larry George and Rod Slagle (Slagle defeated Jerry Williams in a runoff.

The Horse of the Year banquet will change venues in 2022 with the banquet being held in the Blue Ribbon Circle instead of at the Cool Springs Marriott like the past couple of years. Reservations were up in 2022 with 324 confirmed this year versus 263 last year.

The Trainers will once again host a yearling sale in 2023. The 2022 sale, held during The Celebration, produced a profit of close to $11,000. The WHTA will look to make changes in 2023 that will lead to a more profitable sale for the association.

Jeffrey Howard attended the meeting and updated the membership on the current regulatory environment, including an update on the old 2016 rule and the new proposed rule currently at the Office of Management and Budget. That rule’s contents have not been released publicly by the USDA. In addition, the PAST Act legislation, which previously passed the House of Representatives, is at the Commerce Committee in the Senate but has not seen any movement in the committee as of now.