Futurity Looks To Move Back With Celebration

By Sharon Higginbotham

LEWISBURG, Tenn. – Stephen Smith, President of TWHBEA, called the first meeting of the newly elected Executive Committee to order promptly at 9:00 a.m. He advised the members that his assistant, Jane Lynch Crane, would be acting as secretary for the meeting in the absence of Loren Sanderson.

The roll was called. In attendance were: Executive Committee members Stephen Smith, Walter Chism, Ashley Wadsworth, Sherry White, David Williams, Denise Bader-Keyser (by phone), Christy Lantis, Tom Kakassy, Ford Gates, Jessica Hlebak, Dr. Linda Montgomery (by phone), Executive Director Tracy Boyd, and several guests.

Smith advised the group that at this meeting and all future meetings, there would be an open session in which TWHBEA members could introduce topics for discussion. Vickie Penick, member from South Carolina, made a statement in support of Christy Lantis, stating that in all of her dealings with Lantis she had found her to be impeccable in her ethics. She further made a recommendation that voting privileges not automatically go with TWHBEA membership and recommended that TWHBEA have rules as to what constitutes voting privileges. This matter was referred to the Bylaws Committee for their consideration and recommendation to the Executive Committee.

Executive Director Tracy Boyd then gave his report to the Executive Committee. He advised that the office was now on a 5-1/2 day schedule with no additional costs involved. The employees are rotating their 4-day work week so that there is coverage Monday through Friday all day and Saturday until noon. He reported that the Voice Magazine will now be managed with a strict ad/edit ratio to lessen the cost of publication to the association.

Boyd advised that Greg Cook & Co. had severed their relationship with TWHBEA and that with the help of Jim Welch the association was in the process of finding a new accounting firm.

Boyd asked that everyone bear in mind that youth memberships expire each year on January 1st which yields a temporary drop in membership numbers, but those memberships are renewed and the numbers go back up.

Senior Vice President Walt Chism gave his report to the committee. He advised that his focus was to make transfers and registrations easier and there was discussion of how the registration and transfer forms need to be revised.

Chism further expressed the need to do away with the free annual transfer or registration that accompanies membership. This is in an effort to increase revenues for TWHBEA. David Williams made a motion and it was seconded by Ford Gates and passed unanimously that, beginning Feb. 15 and excluding lifetime members, annual membership in TWHBEA would not include a free transfer or registration.

Chism suggested that all memberships be Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 annually. If an individual joins in June, the fee would be prorated for the remainder of the calendar year. Christy Lantis suggested that this be tabled until the next meeting where it will be voted on. This will be done.

President Steve Smith stressed the urgency of getting the finances of TWHBEA in order. He said it had been a busy month as he evaluated many options to get this done. He reported that staff is underpaid and that is why the niceties of donuts and pastries and lunches will be minimized at committee meetings during his tenure.

Smith suggested that a good marketing maneuver for good press for the Tennessee Walking Horse would be for each Executive Committee member to send his/her bio/resume and picture to the local newspaper.

Smith reported he is forming a litigation committee to deal with lawsuits and other matters that take the focus off the business of the Executive Committee. On the committee will be Smith, Chism, Sherry White, David Williams and Tom Kakassy. This committee will report to the Executive Committee.

The next order of business was the standing committee reports. Ashley Wadsworth gave the first report from the Marketing Division. She read the list of committee members saying she will utilize everyone who expressed an interest in serving on her committee. Her committee members were approved unanimously. She reported on finishing up the cookbook project. She wants to start weekly or monthly social media blasts.

By telephone, Denise Bader-Keyser gave the Owners Exhibitors International Division report. She read a list of her committee members who were approved unanimously. She requested that the CRI (Certified Riding Instructor) program be moved from the Trainers/Equine Welfare Division to her division. A motion was made, seconded and passed to to so.

Ford Gates began his report by stating the mission statement of the Performance Horse Division. He then read the list of his committee members. The mission statement and committee members were approved unanimously.

Jessica Hlebak gave the report of the Pleasure Division. Her committee members were approved. She reported that her committee would like to merge the old versatility program into the new versatility program. She reported that there were some rule discrepancies in the two programs but there were only 15 individuals participating in the old program whereas there are 48 participating in the new program. She reported that it costs $25 to enroll in the program. She suggested that an additional $15 annually be charged at the time the individual’s points are submitted to be tallied. There was discussion of if it is a fee increase it must be approved by the Bylaws committee and if it is an administrative fee it does not. This will be presented at the general membershp meeting in May.

Dr. Linda Montgomery read the list of committee members. This list was not approved by the Executive Committee and Dr. Montgomery was asked to submit a new list at next month’s meeting. 

Dr. Montgomery requested that the Academy Program be transferred to the Youth Division. A motion was made, seconded and passed to do so.

Sherry White gave the Youth Division report. She read her list of committee members that was approved by the Executive Committee. She reported that the Youth Division had two Facebook pages, one that adults liked to look at and one that the youth visited more frequently. The youth page had no political information on it. White reported that she had updated both pages.

Tom Kakassy gave the Bylaws/Enforcement Division Report. He stated that he had made two committees, one with people whose interest and expertise was strictly Bylaws and another to handle enforcement issues. The committee members for both committees were approved.

Kakassy requested that the Executive Committee go into executive session. Smith said that there would be an executive session at the end of the meeting after old business was discussed.

There was discussion of why drafting a new rulebook was the business of the enforcement committee which led to discussion of whether TWHBEA should concern itself with a rulebook at all. There was discussion of the great amount of time and money that TWHBEA had already invested in the rulebook. It was pointed out the PSHA or another entity could be creating a new HIO. It was suggested that TWHBEA try to collaborate with the new HIO to generate a rulebook. Hlebak pointed out that most rulebook discrepancies are over shoeing rules. In conclusion, it was decided to put work on the rulebook “in neutral” until the new HIO is created.

Christy Lantis gave the report of the Administrative/
Fiscal/Audit Division. The 2013 audit is still in process. TWHBEA is changing accounting firms and is entertaining two bids. Lantis reported that the association suffered about a $10,000 loss in December 2013. She explained that many upfront costs come in the first quarter of the year.

Lantis reported that she required each of her committee members to have a strong accounting background. She read the roster of her committee members and it was approved.

The last standing committee report was the Breeders Division given by David Williams. Williams reported that moving the Futurity back to the old time and place at The Celebration is being discussed but not finalized yet. 

Williams further reported that his committee is updating the transfer/bill of sale form by removing the stallion owner’s signature for mares that have been bred, which is not required under corporate rules.  He also discussed only requiring the mare’s owner signature which is required by corporate rules to only be required for one transfer during a mare’s gestation. On each succeeding sale of that mare, during her gestation, that signature would already be on file at the association from the first transaction. After discussion, it was recommended that removal of the breeding information from transfer/bill of sale form would make filing those forms more user friendly. This will be further considered.

Williams requested that TWHBEA implement the DNA protocol and requirements currently used by the AQHA. After discussion, it was decided he would bring a proposal at the next meeting.

Williams further requested that the rule about naming horses be amended to include numbers and quotation marks. He reported it is prohibited currently in our corporate rules but the rule is not followed. A motion was made, seconded and passed and this amendment will be in effect 30 days after its announcement.

A motion was made, seconded and passed to add “classic roan” to the modifier list on color selection on registration forms. 

Williams read the list of his committee members. Chism questioned why anyone who is not a breeder should be on the Breeders Committee. After discussion, the list was approved by the Executive Committee with Chism abstaining.

Smith asked Williams to look into the costs of individuals buying into the Futurity at various ages of their mares and offspring. Williams will report back to the Executive Committee.

A five-minute recess was called with the Executive Committee to reconvene in executive session to consider a corporate rule regarding executive session and other matters.

At 11:25 a.m., the Executive Committee advised it would not reconvene after the executive session ended.