LEWISBURG, Tenn. – The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) began its annual meetings with its general membership meeting on Friday, November 30, 2012.  The International Board of Directors’ meeting and annual election will be held on Saturday, December 1, 2012. In addition to the general membership meeting, TWHBEA awarded its first ever international high point awards during a break in the meeting.
Outgoing President Marty Irby addressed the membership in his comments and thanked Ron Thomas for his service as Executive Director. Irby also thanked the staff of 10 for serving the needs of over 10,000 members, even if it wasn’t always in the most expeditious fashion. Irby pointed out that the TWHBEA staff is down from over 30 employees to the current 10.
Outgoing Senior Vice President Margo Urad, who will seek reelection in 2013, also thanked the staff and asked the membership to keep the horse at the forefront of their minds and hearts.  “No member of TWHBEA is for a sore or non-compliant horse,” said Urad.  She continued, “I just hope that we don’t pit ourselves against each other.”
A very controversial proposal was introduced by Chris Van Horn of  Okla. which was a TWHBEA breed standard. Click here to view the proposed breed standard. This proposal caused a lot of controversy, first because it was introduced and asked to be accepted in a span of an hour or so and that it didn’t represent the standard of the show horse. After much debate, the proposal was sent back to committee, this time the enforcement committee whereas previously it came out of the owners international committee.
Denise Rowland took exception to the decision to remove the committee reports from the general membership meeting and having those only presented at the international board meeting the following day when some individuals who were present in the general membership meeting to hear the reports would not be included at the meeting on Saturday. Again, after much debate, a motion passed to have each committee chair give a brief synopsis (three minutes) of their report to be given the following day.  Highlights included:

Rob Cornelius provided a financial synopsis that shows TWHBEA has lost approximately $6,400 in fiscal year 2012, but has not had to use any reserve funds. Revenue thus far in 2012 is just under $1,500,000.  Cornelius was pressed by Rowland on the travel expenditures of the executive committee. Those expenses were $39,970 for the year, although only budgeted at $16,500.  Cornelius did say the budget in 2013 was a little more optimistic for the bottom line, mainly because of the reduction of salaries.

Horse Shows
Tracy Boyd referred in his report to the 13-0 unanimous vote to the move the Futurity to coincide with the World Versatility Show.  “The move was made to allow TWHBEA to have a feature weekend, not to move away from the Celebration,” said Boyd.  “It was a bold and courageous move by our committee and in the end was proven to be the right move.  Now we need to concentrate on growing nominations,” concluded Boyd.

Lloyd “Buster” Black informed the membership that his bylaws committee had secured  the funds in the 2013 budget to finally pursue a revamp of the TWHBEA bylaws.  Instead of changing or amending the bylaws, TWHBEA had Fran Cole, a director from California, draw up new bylaws. This move drew much criticism from the members in attendance and Black assured everyone they were proposed changes and would go through the normal approval process. Rowland and Black argued over whether there were policy changes attributable to those new bylaws and Black said there were not.  Rowland took Black to task on this and said a shift of power from the executive committee to the international board was most definitely a policy change.

Performance Horse
During the meeting, it was pointed out that TWHBEA has introduced a survey on its website about the memberships feelings toward H.R.6388.  Mike Hicks informed the membership that his committee also wanted to do a survey on the economic impact of the Tennessee Walking Horse.  More details would be forthcoming in the full report the next day.

The meeting sets the stage for what promises to be a full day of discussion, disagreement and a monumental election at TWHBEA for 2013.