Lewisburg, TN – The Executive Committee of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association met on January 12, 2008. The meeting proved quite productive with several motions passed.

Following an informative presentation by Lori Wilkinson of Distinct Benefit Solutions. Kathy Zeis addressed the committee regarding the Tennessee Walking Horse Foundation. She explained that the Foundation Board consists of nine directors and at present only three of the seats were filled; by Ms. Zeis, Jane Meredith, and Jerrold Pedigo. A motion was made and passed unanimously to add David Pruett, Dee Dee Sale, Christy Lantis, Debra Jack, and Jack Heffington to the board. The motion also included the provision that Ms. Zeis would ask Janice Fostek to fill the ninth seat on the board.

Administrative/Fiscal/Audit VP Mike Inman presented the proposed budget for 2008. He explained that each month each director would receive a reconciliation page detailing the cash flow financials for the month. The page will include cash deposits, budgeted amounts, actual amounts spent, year to date figures and last year’s figures. This data will also be made available on the Association web site with line items available upon request. The motion to approve the budget passed unanimously. A motion was also made to approve the closure of last year’s financials and those for the first period of 2008. That motion also passed unanimously.

President David Pruett welcomed Interim Executive Director Stan Butt and wished former Executive Director Chuck Cadle well as he moves on.

Senior Vice President Bob Ramsbottom began his remarks by wishing everyone a happy new year. He then referenced former Vice President At Large By Laws Sid Baucom’s comments at the December 1, 2007 General Membership Meeting, “It is my opinion that this industry is in jeopardy of loosing the performance horse. Without unity this could become a reality.” Mr. Ramsbottom stated that he looked forward to accepting the challenge of opening up communications among all facets of the walking horse industry in the quest for unity.

In his comments, Executive Director Stan Butt thanked the Executive Committee for their confidence and commended the staff for their hard work. He then related that Association staff would be monitoring National Board members to ensure that they were in compliance with Association By-Laws. This will involve completing monthly checklists for each director.

Reporting for the Breeders division, VP Dee Dee Sale made a motion that the Association reinstates for 60 days beginning March 1 the $695.00 Lifetime Membership promotion. The motion passed unanimously. She also made a motion to accept several policy changes. Those changes included allowing a horse owned jointly by a husband and wife to qualify either the husband or wife to run for the National Board, providing a 45 day grace period for membership lapses when determining eligibility to run for the National Board, reducing the transfer fee for geldings to $20.00, and reducing the fee for duplicate papers to $75.00. This motion also passed unanimously.

In his report, Horse Shows VP Billy Stricklend discussed the need to determine where the 2008 National Futurity would be held. He suggested that TWHBEA contact the Celebration now and agree to use whatever DQPs and judges the Celebration uses provided the Executive Committee approves them. He emphasized the need to market the National Futurity as a true futurity starting with the 2008 weanling crop. A lengthy discussion was then held regarding the new fee structure discussed at the December 1, 2007 Executive Committee with Mr. Stricklend stating that he intended to meet with representatives of the regional futurities at their earliest convenience. Mr. Stricklend then turned to the Horse Show Development program. A consensus was reached that there are no funds available for this program and that the Association would be limited to providing administrative assistance to new shows and possibly a limited number of ribbons. On the international front, Mr. Stricklend related that the request had been made that TWHBEA organize a futurity in Germany. He explained that any costs related to this would be reimbursed by USLGE and suggested that the Association proceed with the futurity.

Marketing VP Joyce Moyer announced that the contract with the National Park Service had been approved and signed by the Park Service. She then made a motion that TWHBEA sign the contract. The motion passed unanimously and the contract was signed. She also announced that Tom Seay of Best Of America By Horseback had agreed to continue his relationship with the TWHBEA for the reduced amount of $10,000. She moved that TWHBEA enter into a contract with Best Of America By Horseback for the continuing promotion of the Tennessee Walking Horse. The motion passed unanimously and the contract was signed. Ms. Moyer then announced a series of events including a National Park Service Youth Day and Trail Ride to be held June 7, 2008, a Best Of America By Horseback ride in East Fork, Tennessee scheduled for September 12 – 14, 2008, and a Mounted Horse Convention to be held in Nashville in March 2008.

Owners/Exhibitors VP Darren Gray reported that his committee was beginning work on the Celebration clinics and that their plan was to get clinicians to donate their time and have the Association pay their expenses through sponsorships. He also discussed the possibility of holding clinics at some of the larger shows throughout the country.

Unable to attend due to health problems, Performance Horse VP Connie Hess submitted her report in writing. She related that WHOA has asked for a minimal $1,000 donation from TWHBEA for the Academy Program and that the estimated cost of the Youth Challenge (formerly the Youth Medallion) program would be $20,000 of which WHOA has committed to pay $10,000. This leaves a $10,000 commitment for TWHBEA.

Reporting for the Pleasure division, VP Diane McMurtrey reported that it was the unanimous decision of her committee to move the World Versatility Show back to the Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and to hold the show in conjunction with the International Pleasure and Colt Grand Championships. She explained that WHOA has asked that TWHBEA sponsor the International in the amount of $5,000 and that the facility rental fee for the Miller Coliseum is $2,000.  She made a motion that TWHBEA commit to the $5,000 sponsorship, the $2,000 facility rental fee, and the plan to hold the World Versatility Show in conjunction with the International. The motion passed unanimously.

Trainers V.P. Jamie Hankins reported that WHTA President Link Webb has scheduled the first meeting of the 2008 WHTA Board of Directors for February 4.

Vice President At Large By Laws Debra Jack reminded everyone that the deadline for submitting by laws changes or amendments is April 1, 2008.

In her report, Christy Lantis, Vice President At Large Youth, discussed her plans for hosting youth events in conjunction with the youth groups at WHOA and WHTA. She also stated that an effort was being made for attendance at the American Youth Horse Council for the TWHYA officers in conjunction with WHOA.

The next meeting of the TWHBEA Executive Committee is scheduled for February 23 at Association headquarters in Lewisburg, Tennessee.