Copyright WHR 2006

By Christy Howard Parsons

Jerrold Pedigo opened the TWHBEA annual membership meeting on Saturday, December 2, with his plans for TWHBEA in 2007.

“We are the guardian of the most talented and versatile of all breeds,” he opened. “We must not only embrace change, but encourage change. To be successful in the 21st Century, we must promote all disciplines of our horse.”

Pedigo pledges to use 2007 revenues towards research into a better understanding of TWHBEA members and to develop better methods to communicate with its members. He described the membership as “heavily breeding oriented” where 55% of its members registered two or more foals each year.

He also described an intranet whereby the national board could securely sign onto the web to access TWHBEA monthly financials, meeting minutes and TWHBEA reports on a timely basis.

“Members make the Association,” said Pedigo. “No one segment is more important than the whole, or than the welfare of the horse.”

Senior Vice President Jane Meredith began by expanding the horizons of the Tennessee Walking Horse.

“There are 9.2 millions horses in the United States and 2 million horse owners,” she said. “The horse industry has a $39 billion impact on the U.S. economy.”

Meredith outlined existing programs and pledged a continued commitment to those programs in 2007.

She spoke of the academy program that hosted 6 winter tournaments in 2006 with 671 total entries. The Riding Instructor Certification program certified 128 riding instructors in 2006 through three clinics. Plans for 2007 include five levels of riding instructors (Level 1 Certified Riding Instructor; Level 2 Advanced Riding Instructor; Level 3 Master Riding Instructor; Level 4 Certified Clinician; and Level 5 Master Clinician).

Meredith explained the Equitation Challenge program. “We started this year small to promote the sport of equitation,” she said. Three shows were held in 2006 with a championship that required riders to qualify.

“We may rethink that for 2007,” said Meredith relative to qualifying for the championship round. Plans call for shows to be held earlier in the year, in the spring of 2007.

Meredith also talked about Trail Riding Programs and the Walk This Way tour of Nicole Carswell.

Charles Wharton presented the report of the administrative/fiscal/audit committee. 2006 revenues were 4.23 million compared to 4.28 million in 2005. Expenses were up $40,000 which led to a projected $45,000 loss in 2006 compared to a $47,000 gain in 2005.

These numbers are misleading, however, because in the Admin/Fiscal committee meeting on Friday, it was explained that approximately $300,000 related to the National Walking Horse Association lawsuit and $100,000 related to the HIO Sanctioning Plan and HIO organization and development had been capitalized as assets to be amortized on the financials. (Trademark issues for 15 years and organizational expenses for 60 months).

Thus $400,000 in costs were not expensed and thus did not flow through to the bottom line. If they had, there would have been a significantly larger loss.

When questioned about the NWHA lawsuit, Wharton was unwilling to answer some questions in an open forum, but he did say, “If you don’t defend your intellectual property, you will lose it.”

Wharton was also reluctant to answer questions about the damage to TWHBEA’s building in Lewisburg but assured members that is was being handled.

The committee did discuss changing the allocation of member dues to the Voice from $12 per member of the $60 dues to $10 due to the fact that the Voice is making money now and pays both federal income and states sales tax on the money. After much discussion and a recommendation from Greg Cook, it was decided not to change the allocation due to the risk of a state audit.

Kathy Zeis reported on the many actions of the Breeders Committee [see separate story in this issue].

Larry Lowman reported on his last year on the Executive Committee as Vice President of Marketing. He proudly reported on the successful partnership with The Celebration and Gaylord’s Opryland Hotel. Six horses now live in the pasture at Opryland, one of which was a new foal who was named in a Name The Foal Contest in 2006.

“We received 30,000 entries,” boasted Lowman. The foal was named Label Me Mystic Star and the winning entry received a free trip to the 2006 Celebration.

Jack Haefling reported on the educational clinics held during the 2006 Celebration and the many different pieces of legislation on the national level that affect the Tennessee Walking Horse. He spoke on the Equine Equity Act, the Right to Ride legislation, Federal Emergency Disaster Relief for Equines, HIPA Recreational Injury Technical Corrections Act, and the Federal Highway Funding Bill (which funds equine trails).

“We must be more involved in national legislation,” said Haefling.

Iris Schumann reported on the Youth Medallion Program and the Academy Program as the Vice President of Performance Show Horses. More than 75 entries competed in 22 horse shows for Youth Medallion points.

Schumann said the academy program was going to be expanded in 2007 through local and regional associations through TWHBEA sponsorships. She also said 5 winter tournaments had already been planned in Tennessee in 2007 early in the year and two in North Carolina. She said the championships were to be held on March 24, in conjunction with the National Trainers Show.

She also announced that instructor incentives in 2007 would be $2000, $1500 and $1000 for the top three instructors.

Marietta Gambrell proudly reported that the pleasure horse committee had accomplished a great deal in 2006 including 4 unanimous votes (apparently a record for this committee).

She announced the 2007 World Versatility Show will be held July 27-28 at Miller Coliseum.

The also explained that the Pleasure Horse Committee had clarified the language surrounding the classes in this division with a unanimous decision.

The following language has been proposed and adopted by the Pleasure rules subcommittee for the category descriptions of Traditional Plantation, Country Plantation and Plantation to be added to the TWH Rulebook on page 88.

(18) The traditional plantation horse should perform the three gaits with an increased brilliance representing style not seen in the horse judged as a trail plantation or western plantation working horse. While this category has the same shoeing requirements as the trail plantation, the judge should look for more style denoting a show horse. The horse should carry its head in a natural and relaxed position. The horse must also be manageable on a light rein at all gaits. The traditional plantation horse’s canter should be relaxed and consistent with no sign of effort from the exhibitor.

(19) The country plantation horse should exhibit brilliance, style, and animation of movement to a greater degree than the traditional or trail plantation horse. This is a three gaited category meant to be judged on style and movement. The horse should carry its head in a natural, relaxed position suitable for a show horse. The horse must also be manageable on a light rein at all gaits. The country plantation horse’s canter should be relaxed and consistent.

(20) The plantation horse is the epitome of the plantation division. This horse should exhibit animation, style and brilliance of movement at all three gaits to a greater degree than the other categories in the plantation division. The judge should look for boldness in the movement of this horse with emphasis on a longer overstride and a more pronounced action in the forelimbs.

Note: All category descriptions are for English exhibition unless otherwise noted.

The Pleasure Committee also passed two rule changes with unanimous decisions. The two-pound shoe limit was amended to include penalties upon determination of a heavy shoe of expulsion from the ring and the remainder of the show and a six-month suspension for the trainer, owner, exhibitor and horse.

The violations for pressure shoeing were also modified to include a two-year suspension and a fine of $2500 dollars for a first time violation (formerly two years and $1200) and a lifetime suspension and $5000 fine for a subsequent violation (formerly 5 years and $1400 for second violation and lifetime and $1700 for third time violation).

Gambrell was questioned in the membership meeting about why pressure shoeing was punishable with a lifetime suspension on the first offense.

“We discussed this issue and there were feelings both ways,” said Gambrell. “But pressure shoeing can happen by accident once, but certainly not twice.”

Gambrell also explained that the trail riding program had been renamed to “Host A Ride.” Several members in the audience applauded this program and spoke of their trail rides that had been subsidized by TWHBEA.

Sid Baucom spoke as Member At Large Bylaws. He said that there had been a mixup in the language relative to the voting ability of the immediate past president in the bylaw change that was implemented this year that would have to be cleaned up in 2007.

Baucom also cautioned, “Segments of our industry are in crisis. We cannot continue next year as we have passed this one.”

“It is essential that we get together. We must all compromise,” said Baucom.

Ann Kuykendall asked Kathy Potter to present the information about the 2006 youth program. Potter announced that TWHBEA had 1200 members, with 290 in Tennessee. She pledges a new involvement with 4H and FFA to attract new members into TWHBEA. She also announced that in 2007 the Challenge Softball Game would be held in conjunction with the Youth Leadership Conference and Youth Horse Camp, all in June of 2007, to give “a whole week of fun for our kids across the United States.”

All vice presidents submitted their committee reports before the floor was opened for member comments.