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TWHBEA Rejects Proposal; Vows to Keep Communication Open



In an email to its executive committee and International board of directors, the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' & Exhibitors' Association (TWHBEA) voted to reject the proposal submitted by the Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization (TWSHO) to unify the industry under one voice.  TWHBEA cited concerns over the lack of financial details and the representational structure of the board.

The proposal submitted by TWSHO at the meeting was a draft plan accumulated from meetings with various independent equine experts, including multiple nationally reknowned veterinarians.  The plan also incorporated suggestions from meetings with various national political leaders.  All final details and implementation would be left up to the new board which included representation from TWHBEA, Walking Horse Owners' Association, Walking Horse Trainners' Association, TWSHO, Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and two independent veterinarians.

WHOA held a similar vote and rejected the plan but voted to keep lines of communication open with TWSHO.  The WHTA voted to support the "one voice" and 12-person board concept.  Although not confirmed the Celebration has said it will support the "one voice" plan.

Below is a copy of the email sent by TWHBEA:

Representatives from the Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization (TWSHO) recently invited two members each from various industry groups to a meeting to consider a proposed draft that would create a “one-voice” performance horse HIO with the goal of eliminating soring. Representing the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) were President Tracy Boyd and Administrative/Fiscal/Audit Division Vice President Rob Cornelius. The meeting took place Saturday, December 15, 2012 in Shelbyville, Tenn.

Also attending were two representatives each from the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (TWHNC), the Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA), the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA), the PRIDE Horse Industry Organization and the WHOA Horse Industry Organization.

The mission of the organization would be to protect the wellbeing of the horse, save the sport and focus on being the one-voice, action-oriented and objective reform based entity for the Tennessee Walking Show Horse.

Goals include the implementation of one set of HIO protocols, procedures and penalties to ensure consistent, fair and complete inspections throughout the industry. The group’s primary goal would be to eliminate soring through an aggressive reform agenda. Additionally, the group intends to coordinate all industry communications regarding the show horse in matters relating to the HPA, regulatory and political issues. The proposal intends to create one rulebook, penalty structure and judging program.

The proposed 12-member board of directors would consist of two members each from TWSHO, TWHBEA, WHOA, TWHNC, WHTA along with two “independent, non-industry” veterinarians. The board would develop the agenda going forward through a committee structure.

Each group in attendance was asked to participate in the new organization and provide TWSHO with an answer by Friday, December 21, 2012. TWHBEA’s Executive Committee met by conference call on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 and unanimously declined to participate in the new organization as it was presented. The executive committee cited concerns over the lack of financial details and the representational structure of the board, among others, as primary reasons for its decision.

The executive committee did, however, overwhelmingly agree to keep the lines of communication open with regard to the concept.

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