Lewisburg, Tenn. – The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) Executive Committee held its first meeting of 2011 on Jan. 8 at association headquarters in Lewisburg, Tenn.  As is standard, the meeting began with the roll call, approval of the agenda and the approval of the minutes from the last executive committee meeting. The roll call revealed that Owners/Exhibitors/International Vice President Stephen Brown was absent and the agenda was amended to include the approval of the 2011 budget.

Next up was the approval of the financials for the period ending November 30, 2010. Prior to their approval, Administrative/Fiscal/Audit Vice President Rob Cornelius explained that for the month of November the association showed a loss of $6,892.32 and that for fiscal year 2010 the association showed a profit of $69,707.17. The financials were then approved followed by the 2011 budget, which was also approved.

In his remarks, President Marty Irby stated that he was grateful to serve as President. He then referred to a recently held past presidents meeting calling it very productive. He related that the majority of the past presidents, including David Pruett, Jerrold Pedigo, Bill Harlin, Red Ethridge, Walt Chism, Charles Gleghorn, Robert Thomas and Steve Smith, had committed to serve on an advisory board for the association. Moving on to the planning and strategy session scheduled for later in the day, Irby remarked that there were four key areas that he wanted to discuss – the possible name change from Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association to Tennessee Walking Horse Association, the goal of reaching 20,000 members by the end of the year, possible TWHBEA involvement in unifying the rulebook and judging, and the above mentioned advisory board, which could include other members such as the Presidents of the Walking Horse Owners’ Association, Walking Horse Trainers’ Association, Pleasure Walking Horse Association of Tennessee, National Walking Horse Association and Friends of the Sound Horse.

Senior Vice President Margo Urad echoed much of Irby’s comments and stated that she was looking forward to working hard in 2011.

Executive Director Stan Butt explained that the year-end audit was underway and that committee appointments would need to be made at the February 26 executive committee meeting. Turning to the association’s website, he reported that over the past year the site had welcomed 149,568 unique visitors that accounted for over two million hits, ranking 177,000th out of all websites in the world.

In his standing committee report, Cornelius reiterated what he discussed during the approvals of the financials and budget.

Breeders Vice President Kathy Zeis stated that a major goal of her committee was to make the registration process as customer friendly as possible. Also under her report, Irby brought up the topic of allowing members to reserve names. He remarked that allowing name reservations for a fee could be a good source of revenue for the association and suggested that the Breeders Committee consider the idea.

Enforcement Vice President Mike Hicks reported that there were no issues before his committee at this time.

Reporting for the Equine Welfare Committee, Vice President Linda Montgomery stated that her committee was looking to place a horse with a woman in New Mexico.

Tracy Boyd, Horse Shows Vice President, reported that he intends to set the schedule for the National Futurity as soon as possible and that a horse show manual, prepared by TWHBEA member Vickie Pennick, would be made available on the website in the not too distant future.

Marketing Vice President Joyce Moyer began her report by discussing the need for what she called qualifications and standards for various types of horses. Other topics covered in her report included expanding the association’s use of Facebook, member surveys, re-establishing TWHBEA’s relationship with Tom Seay and Best of America By Horseback, TWHBEA’s partnership with Stolen Horse International, and the need to be more active in seeking other partnerships and sponsorships.

Reporting for the Performance Committee, Vice President Tom Kakassy asked for guidance for his committee. He remarked that there are three programs that fall under his committee that are well run by the staff and that things could continue status quo or his committee could pursue other avenues to promote and preserve the performance horse. Other avenues covered by Kakassy included an update of the Auburn Study, creation of position papers to respond to various issues in the equine industry, unification of the judges list, an ambassador program whereby flat shod breed representatives would be used to create initial interest in the breed, a unity conference among all industry groups and an official response to the USDA. In closing Kakassy successfully moved that a position statement on horse slaughter be developed and presented at the next executive committee meeting.

Pleasure Horse Vice President Rick Wies talked about the need to attend other horse fairs around the country. He then turned to an issue brought up during the Pleasure Horse Committee meeting in December. Since there was no quorum at that meeting, Wies opted to move that the Executive Committee approve the acceptance of slide plates in reining classes and removable studs or caulks in jumping classes, that crossbar classes count under the TWH Over Fences division and that Ranch Sorting be added to the Extreme Sport division. The motion passed unanimously.

Trainers Vice President Wayne Dean covered several topics in his report including the possibility of having TSC sponsor local shows, the Academy program and recent health challenges faced by trainers Winky Groover and Jack Way.

Member At Large By Laws Buster Black announced that his committee plans to issue a press release covering their intended activities. He said that one point of interest would be the question of appeal periods when an outside party sanctions a director.

As there was no old business to discuss, the agenda moved on to new business. First up was a motion to excuse the absences of the following directors from the last International Board of Directors meeting – Deborah Locke, Chris Hutchinson, Kathy Zeis and Randy Johnson.

The motion passed unanimously. Discussion then turned to the possible unification of the rulebook. This discussion resulted in a motion by Kakassy that the Performance, Pleasure and Horse Shows Vice Presidents, along with a TWHBEA staff member, start the ball rolling by meeting with other industry organizations on the unification of the rulebook. The motion passed unanimously.

The next meeting of the executive committee will be held February 26, 2011 at association headquarters in Lewisburg, Tenn.