Copyright WHR 2008

By Jeffrey Howard

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA) Board of Directors met on Thursday December 4, 2008 to discuss several items before their general membership meeting on Friday morning.  At the forefront of those discussions were two issues, the restructuring of the National Horse Show Commission (NHSC) and a change to the current licensing program of the WHTA.
“It is important everyone knows and understands that we (WHTA) want the restructure of the NHSC to happen and we need it to happen,” said Link Webb, President of the WHTA.  He continued, “this is very tough to do overnight but it is coming and we want it to succeed.”  The WHTA, Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) and the NHSC all voted unanimously to initiate the restructure of the NHSC for 2009.  Since that vote, several issues have come up that have slowed the process of the restructuring and many in the industry have begun to wonder about the 2009 show season.
“We have not been presented any other plan other than the one presented to us (WHTA), WHOA and the NHSC at the Miller Coliseum.  We voted to support that plan and still do support it today,” said David Landrum.  “We want to do the right thing and people need to understand that,” said Webb.
In an effort to keep items within the restructuring moving forward the WHTA board made a motion to ask the NHSC to investigate the implementation of a drug testing program for 2009.  The trainers would like to see the NHSC look at ways to fund the program and get it initiated in time for the 2009 show season.
The board of directors also discussed the challenges with the trainers’ licensing program and the ease with which people can obtain a license.  It was a topic that had many of the directors giving opinions on how to create a better program.  One idea was the formation of a licensing committee that would come up with the criteria to be met to obtain a license and for that committee to interview each candidate.  Another was for each licensed trainer to have a photo trainer ID card.  An idea that gained significant support was the for the applicant to have a one year waiting period before the license would be issued and that person would have to appear before the board after that one year waiting period before the license could be issued.
After a lengthy discussion Webb agreed to chair the licensing committee and was joined by Ray Gilmer, Jamie Hankins, Bill Cantrell and Mickey McCormick. They will immediately clean up the existing list and remove those trainer numbers for trainers that don’t make contact with the committee and/or get current with their dues.  The committee will also recommend at the next meeting which steps should be required to obtain a trainers’ license.
The WHTA will hold their annual general membership meeting on Friday December 5, 2008 in Franklin, Tenn.