President Marty Irby called the General Membership Meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. in the auditorium at TWHBEA Headquarters in Lewisburg, Tenn.

The first order of business was the approval of the agenda. The approval of the minutes from last December’s meeting was tabled until everyone had a copy to review.

Then followed the standing committee reports.

Rob Cornelius gave the Administrative/Fiscal/Audit Division Committee Report. “Revenues are down, but expenses are down moreso,” reported Cornelius. He further reported that cash flow has improved and the Voice Magazine is doing better, making money again. He predicted a balanced budget for 2012.

Kathy Zeis reported for the Breeder’s Division Committee.

“Breeding reports are finally online,” reported Zeis. This had been a top priority for her committee in 2011. She explained how breeding reports and registrations can be done online. She further reported that the financial issues with the University of Kentucky had finally been resolved relative to blood typing fees. She reminded everyone that the use of the old blood typing kits would no longer be acceptable after 12/31/2012. Zeis reported on a new program, as yet unnamed, for working mares that would mirror the Go Gelding Program and promised more information on this program in the near future.

Mike Hicks, Chairman of the Enforcement Division Committee, reported no formal complaints have been filed during this calendar year. Hicks stated that at the May meeting, the Board of Directors had given permission for a universal rulebook to be created. Hicks said, “Up to this point, we have been brainstorming, collecting rulebooks from other breeds and asking for input from various HIOs.” He reported in light of the November 30th meeting and the prior meeting with Dr. Gipson, the committee was “in a holding pattern” for now.

The Equine Welfare Division Committee Report was given by Dr. Linda Montgomery who stated the committee had created a mission statement that included only registered Tennessee Walking Horses. She further stated that her committee was going to solicit donations of at least $10/month through the Voice Magazine in order to have a specific fund to aid abandoned, abused, or neglected Tennessee Walking Horses reported to TWHBEA.

In giving the report of the Horse Show Division Committee, Tracy Boyd stated that the goals of his committee for 2011 had been twofold. First, he reported that the new International High Point System had been approved and would be put into place in the coming weeks. This is a system whereby if the horse is registered and the rider is a member of TWHBEA, points will be kept and year-end awards will be given. This program will include the U.S., Canada and Europe. He said that sponsors will be needed for year-end awards.  The second goal of his committee had been to change the focus of the Futurity and these decisions will be made early in 2012.

Joyce Moyer, always enthusiastic about her committee’s goals, gave the Marketing Division Committee Report which included a presentation by Sue DeLaurentis of the Equine Agility Program. Moyer also explained the significance of social media, especially as it applies to youth participation. She reported that youth membership was up from 453 in 2010 to 575 in 2011.

The Owners and Exhibitors International Division Committee Report was given by Stephen Brown who reported that Tennessee Walking Horses are being exhibited and marketed in Peru, Costa Rica, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Italy, and for the first time in Poland. He stated that the goal of his committee is to add at least one new country per year. International membership is up from 299 in 2010 to 330 in 2011.

In his committee report, the Performance Horse Division, Thomas Kakassy made the strongest case for “THE horse”… whatever division, TWHBEA represents the horse. As an example, Kakassy stated he had two fillies at home that will soon be ready to start and he is amenable to their being whatever they are best at: padded performance, flat-shod performance, trail pleasure, or versatility. The emphasis of his committee is flexibility within the breed and within TWHBEA, an all-for-one and one-for-all approach. He stated that in 2011 his committee had formulated and had approved a position statement against pressure shoeing. And, he commended Ron Thomas and Marty Irby for opening lines of communication between TWHBEA and the USDA.

Rick Weis thanked his 26-member Pleasure Horse Division Committee and stated the 2011 World Versatility Show had 502 entries (or a 40% increase over last year). He also stated that the goal of having a Versatility History button on the IPEDs website is a reality in 2011.

Chairman of the Training Division Committee Wayne Dean was not in attendance as he was at the WHTA meeting in Franklin, but will give his report to the Board of Directors tomorrow. Irby commended Dean on his efforts to have good communication between TWHBEA and WHTA and said that Dean had been very influential in bringing together the meeting of TWHBEA, WHTA, WHOA and The Celebration on November 30, 2011.

Buster Black gave the Bylaws Committee Report and said that items of discussion this year had been code of conduct standards, confidentiality as it relates to the business of the Association, computerized voting, and three-year-terms for the Executive Committee with members coming on and going off in thirds.

Linda Starnes, member at large for youth, was not in attendance, but her report was given by Joyce Moyers. She gave a slide presentation of the new youth programs and reported that FAST had donated the funds for inspection so that walking classes could be included in some 4-H shows.

Senior Vice-President Margo Urad reported that 33 names are to be added to the commemorative garden and that work should be completed by March 2012. She reported that 2012 will see a revamping of the Academy Program and that the Celebration Versatility Series and 4-H had agreed to add Academy classes.

Sharon Brandon reported the results of the 2011 International Board of Directors election.

Under Old Business, Kathy Zeis reported that the issue of a half-breed registry which had been brought up at the May meeting had been tabled or deferred as there had been no further input from the individuals who suggested it.

There being no new business, a motion to adjourn was entered and seconded and approved at 11:35 a.m.