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TWHBEA and The 2010 World Equestrian Games - An Update



Lewisburg, TN – Since learning that the 2010 World Equestrian Games would be held in Lexington, Kentucky, the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) has considered it a priority to present the Tennessee Walking Horse at this venue. TWHBEA began planning for this two years ago. The Association initially decided to become a $50,000 Silver Level Sponsor of the event. That sponsorship was then increased to the $100,000 Gold Level with 50% support from a corporate sponsor.

A short time later, following the publication of several negative articles in Lexington newspapers, TWHBEA received a communication indicating that they would not be allowed to be at the World Equestrian Games. In response, President David Pruett and Executive Director Stan Butt traveled to Lexington to meet with the then head of the World Equestrian Games, John Long. After a detailed and lengthy discussion that included the presentation of a proposal prepared by TWHBEA consisting of a detailed written description of TWHBEA’s plans for the Games as well as a professionally produced DVD illustrating the types of horses and disciplines that would be presented in breed demonstrations, Mr. Long decided to allow TWHBEA back into the Games. It was Mr. Long’s contention that having a presence at the Games would assist TWHBEA in improving the image of the Tennessee Walking Horse and he was eager to be a part of that. As the economy started to turn, TWHBEA considered reducing their sponsorship to the $25,000 Bronze Level.

Some months later, John Long resigned from the World Equestrian Games and Jamie Link took his place at the head of the organization. Around this time, more negative articles began to appear in Lexington newspapers. These articles along with other well-publicized industry issues caused Mr. Link to issue a communication to TWHBEA stating that they would not be allowed to have a breed demonstration at the Games. A week after that communication, Mr. Link sent word to TWHBEA saying that they wouldn’t be allowed at the Games at all. The deposit was then returned. Although that is where things stand today, TWHBEA has not given up on this venture and continues to explore all options concerning the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

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