By Sarah Gee

Allardt, TN - The latest meeting of the TWHBEA Executive Committee occurred Friday, September 12, 2008, at the Allardt Land Company in Allardt, Tennessee. The meeting was held in Allardt to coincide with a Best Of America By Horse Back trail ride at East Fork Stables in nearby Jamestown, Tennessee. Best Of America By Horse Back Host Tom Seay and Marketing Director Michelle Turner stopped by to discuss our breed's standing as their breed of choice. Tom expressed his desire to continue working with TWHBEA to promote the breed. Another Tom, Tom Wengler of SRC Industries, was also on hand to discuss alternatives to the Association's current computer system.
The roll call revealed eight committee members present and four attending by phone. Following the approval of the agenda and the approval of the minutes from the July 21, 2008 meeting, Administrative/Fiscal/Audit Vice President Mike Inman presented the financials for the period ending July 31, 2008 for approval. He revealed a $30,976 gain indicating a $350,000 improvement over budget and a $168,000 profit for the year.

In his remarks, President David Pruett thanked the staff for their hard work at the World Versatility Show, National Futurity, and Celebration. He also congratulated the Celebration for its success in 2008. Senior Vice President Bob Ramsbottom echoed Pruett's remarks and expressed that he was impressed with how the Celebration went despite the increased scrutiny of the USDA. Executive Director Stan Butt also commended the staff and the Executive Committee for their hard work. He noted that he was disappointed that there were no performance horses available for the judging contest at All Youth Day during the Celebration. In closing he related that TWHBEA had hosted several guests during the Celebration including reporters from the Lexington Herald and Equus as well as the Executive Director of the American Humane Association, the group responsible for assuring the safety of animals in the movies. 

As Inman had nothing further to report, Breeders Vice President Dee Dee Sale provided the first standing committee report. She explained that registrations are up over the same period last year but transfers are down slightly. She also announced that an iPeds steering committee has been established. The committee consists of Stan Butt, David Pruett, Elsie Darrah, Marsha Yzaguire, Dee Dee Sale, and Michael Cook. Sale closed by making a motion that the color amnesty program be re-established indefinitely. The motion passed unanimously.

Enforcement Vice President Chris Bobo had nothing to report outside of Executive Session so Horse Show Vice President Bill Stricklend reported next. He related that he had heard only positive comments about the National Futurity and that futurity nominations were up slightly. He then expressed his concern about the upcoming task of linking the regional futurities with the National Futurity.

In her report, Marketing Vice President Joyce Moyer spoke about her work to secure a group insurance plan that could be made available to TWHBEA members, Lisa DiCamillo's success with her Tennessee Walking Horse in Cowboy Mounted Shooting, plans for the Massachusetts Equine Affaire, and a potential project that would take Tennessee Walking Horses to veterans homes.

Connie Hess, Performance Horse Vice President, discussed the Celebration during her report and expressed her concern about retaining owners and exhibitors during such trying times. She then asked for ideas on how to promote the performance horse outside of the southeast. Pleasure Horse Vice President Diane McMurtrey focused much of her report on the World Versatility Show. She stated that while it did loose some money, it had turned out well. Diane then made two motions, both of which passed unanimously. The first motion was to obtain the approval to move forward with plans for the first Gaited Experience, a two day event centering on the Tennessee Walking Horse to be held at the Mid South Horse Fest. The second motion was to establish a chapter association program to link state and regional associations with TWHBEA.

Reporting for the Training division, Vice President Jamie Hankins commented on the success of the National Futurity and the new In-Hand Extended Gait class. He then announced that he would be setting up a meeting to address concerns revolving around the Certified Riding Instructors Program. Member At Large By Laws Vice President Debra Jack explained that her committee was still working on the director suspension issue. She indicated  that opinions on the subject were scattered and that she couldn't see any end to the discussion in the near future.

In the final standing committee report of the day, Member At Large Youth Vice President Christy Lantis discussed the success of All Youth Day, which attracted 271 kids from 14 states, the Betty Freeman Memorial Horse Show, which raised $11,800 for the scholarship fund, and the Voice/TWHYA Golf Scramble, which raised another $6,500 for the fund.

Following the committee reports, the Executive Committee turned to the task of establishing an election committee and nominating committee for the upcoming TWHBEA election. The election committee will consist of Spencer Benedict, Iris Schumann, and Joe Dietz  with Karla Massey and Fran Cole serving as alternates. The nominating committee will consist of Darren Gray, Joyce Moyer, Kim Bennett, Darden Gladney, and Tommy Hale with Don Beatty and Margo Urad serving as alternates.

Under old business Pruett presented a proposal for the redesign of the TWHBEA web site. The proposal was prepared by Todd Shelton of Soder Tass. A motion was made to accept the proposal and move forward with the redesign. The motion carried unanimously. He then announced that all of the necessary sponsors had been secured for the Tennessee Walking Horse book that is scheduled to be published in July of 2009. The sponsors include Frank Neal & Co., Harlinsdale Farm, Jim and Judy Leek, Autumn Crest Farm, Waterfall Farm, Enchanted Gait Stables, Duke & Rhonda Thorson, and Gobblers Knob Farm. Lastly under old business, it was announced that Abby Stroud of Clarksville, Tennessee had won the Name The Foal Contest held by TWHBEA and the Celebration in cooperation with Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee.

Under new business Pruett discussed the retention of public relations firm Gish, Sherwood & Friends. He explained that during the Celebration, TWHBEA and WHOA had partnered with the firm to respond to any articles published about the breed. He also said that they had set up a web site,, to provide accurate information to the media. A motion was then made to continue retaining the firm for the next six months. The motion carried unanimously.

With no further business to discuss, Pruett encouraged everyone to enjoy the following day's trail ride and the meeting was adjourned.