LEWISBURG, Tenn. – After a lengthy and quite contentious meeting the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) conducted its annual election of its executive committee.  Running unopposed and being elected by acclimation were the following:

Administrative/Fiscal – Kasey Kesselring (FL)
Breeders/Futurity – David Sisk (TN)
Marketing – Melanie Lawrence (KY)
Owner/Exhibitor/International – Joyce Moyer (OH)
Performance Horse – Lance Meisenheimer (IL)
Training – Thom Meek (TN)
Member at Large ByLaws/Enforcement – Tom Kakassy (SC)

The following positions were contested:

President – Ashley Wadsworth (MS), Jack Heffington nominated from the floor
Senior Vice President – Charles Gleghorn (TN), Cindy Andreas nominated from the floor
Pleasure Horse – Kristen Reichard (PA), Amanda Wright nominated from the floor
Equine Welfare – France Bates (TN), Bill Strickland nominated from the floor
Member at Large/Youth – Chris Hazelwood (TN), Ann King nominated from the floor
Secretary – Walt Chism, Robin Webb nominated from the floor

Each director nominated in the contested election positions was given three minutes to speak and the following is the final slate as elected by the directors.

President – Jack Heffington
Senior Vice President – Charles Gleghorn
Administrative/Fiscal – Kasey Kesselring
Breeders/Futurity – David Sisk
Marketing – Melanie Lawrence
Owner/Exhibitor/International – Joyce Moyer
Performance Horse – Lance Meisenheimer
Pleasure Horse – Amanda Wright
Training – Thom Meek (TN)
Equine Welfare – Bill Strickland
Member at Large/Youth – Ann King
Member at Large ByLaws/Enforcement – Tom Kakassy (SC)
Secretary – Robin Webb

Chris Hazelwood did win the election for Youth however due to the TWHBEA rule of not having more than five members of the executive committee from any state, Hazelwood was eliminated as five had already been seated from Tennessee.

The meeting on Saturday got off to a delayed and contentious start with not only the agenda not being approved but also a roll call vote not to ratify the actions of the executive committee. The lack of confidence from the directors was met with a majority “no” vote from members of the executive committee as well, meaning a majority of executive committee members voted against actions they took as an executive committee. The vote let everyone know the divisive nature and disagreement between members of the executive committee that had served this past year.

However, the association did have a positive financial year. Joyce Moyer gave a complete report to the directors and although it was only for 11 months the picture was clear with all major categories at TWHBEA moving in a positive direction, albeit by a very slim margin.

Through 11 months, TWHBEA has a profit of $154,493 from its core operations. The forgiveness of the PPP loan of $99,060 increased this year’s profit to $253,554. The registry, which is made up of membership, registrations, DNA, transfers and iPeds, is clearly the cash cow of TWHBEA. The division had revenue of $862,754 with expenses of only $131,677 for a profit of $731,076.  Membership is the largest revenue producer with that figure totaling $291,543 with second being transfers at $156,820.

In 2021 there were 354 more memberships sold than in 2020, 65 more registrations, 170 more transfers and 913 more mares bred, which is a figure that could be off due to this figure coming from stallions reports.  The current member count at TWHBEA is 5,745.

During his breeders’ report, Kasey Kesselring spoke to the Futurity and its profitability. Kesselring mentioned that several recommendations had come to the EC regarding how to improve the Futurity moving forward, including changing the class sheet and even potentially looking into morphing the class sheet into the 11 days and evenings of The Celebration.  David Sisk, the new Breeders’ VP will be tasked with looking into this moving forward.

The EC had created some clear concern in the industry over as proposed change to registration fees, when registrations can occur and penalties and/or lack of being able to register colts after a certain amount of time.  This draft has been rescinded by the EC and will be back out for review with the new EC.  The association has a problem with colts not being registered that don’t make under saddle, thus costing the association the associated revenue as well as not having the integrity of the registry where it should be.

Amanda Wright updated the directors on the new show TWHBEA hosted in Arkansas and also the Summer Sizzler.  The new show in Arkansas did have 86 entries and was close to a breakeven event for TWHBEA while trying to expand the reach of our show horse, especially the padded horse.  The Sizzler had 253 entries and brought a profit of $17,000 to TWHBEA.

Thom Meek announced the final printing of the joint venture between TWHBEA, specifically the Trainers’ division committee headed by Meek, and the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association Trainer’s Directory.  The book was distributed at the WHTA convention and proceeds mostly came from vendors who advertised in the book.  Meek, in his second year, had really worked hard to partner the WHTA and TWHBEA and has increased the the number of trainers as members of TWHBEA from 37 to 108.  The money made from the directory will be used to start a new horse show in 2022.

The 2021/2022 Executive Committee will be busy as a new executive director must be hired as well as replacing at least one other position that has been vacated by a recent resignation.  In addition, TWHBEA, like the remainder of the show horse industry will be anxiously awaiting the contents of the new rule to be published in 2022 by USDA.