Editor’s Note:

        This is part of a series of articles examining TWHBEA’s HIO Sanctioning Plan including information obtained in interviews with Jerrold Pedigo. The first interview with Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association President Jerrold Pedigo ran in the April 10, 2006 issue of the Walking Horse Report and is available at www.walkinghorsereport.com entitled ‘United We Stand.’ Articles in the April 17, 2006 issue as well as subsequent articles will continue to study the details of TWHBEA’s HIO Sanctioning proposal.



By Christy Howard Parsons



        This week, we continue to study the HIO Sanctioning Plan put forth by the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association. Last week, we asked TWHBEA President Jerrold Pedigo questions related to the plan’s rulebook, the Director of DQP/Animal Welfare, and the Director of Judges. This week we are examining some of the details of the plan including HIO Committee licensed judges, Independent Hearing Committees, and the definition of TWHBEA Sanctioned HIO Events.



HIO Committee Licensed Judges   

        Existing HIO licensed judges will be grandfathered into the Sanctioning program once their HIO is sanctioned. They would then receive “meaningful” judges training. Judges who complete that training would be licensed by the HIO Committee.

        I asked TWHBEA President Jerrold Pedigo what “meaningful” training was.

        “We are willing to help fund a more in-depth training program than has ever been provided in the past. The details of the training program will be developed in conjunction with the HIO Committee. We called it meaningful because we want to see results that meet and exceed the industry’s demands and expectations,” explained Pedigo.

        “You’ll never eliminate all the conflicts and complaints about judging, but you can greatly reduce it. Sometimes it is simply a matter of a lack of training in a particular discipline. Some judges are experts in all facets of our business. But some are not. Some judges are more experienced in either performance, pleasure, halter, or equitation and struggle in another area,” said Pedigo.

        “We are making a commitment to the industry to provide the funds and the support to successfully administer an in-depth judges training program,” said Pedigo.

        The Director of Judges will evaluate the judges in the field, on an as needed basis. This evaluation will help determine whether the judge is licensed again for the following year.

        If the Director of Judges determines that a judge is “wholly and obviously ineffective,” then the Director can choose to suspend that judge immediately, and either he or his designee will judge the remaining classes on the schedule. The Director would then appropriately discipline the judge.

        I asked Pedigo to comment about when a judge is “wholly and obviously ineffective.”

        “The HIO Committee, working through the Director of Judges, will be developing minimum standards for the judges. When the Director recognizes inconsistencies in how a judge is tying the classes, such as when a judge is unable to properly tie horses in one discipline versus another, he will take action. Of course, the inconsistencies would have to be of some magnitude. If the situation were bad enough for the Director to take action, the vast majority of those in attendance would also know that the judge was struggling,” explained Pedigo.

        “For any person to be successful in leading others, he has to have the authority, knowledge, and training to do so,” furthered Pedigo.



Independent Hearing Committees

        Local independent hearing committees will be selected for each sanctioned HIO. The Director of DQP/Animal Welfare would select five independent individuals from a master list of qualified, willing candidates to serve on the independent hearing committee. These individuals would then hear any protests, complaints, or violations deemed necessary. The five individuals selected to serve on the committee could change from one hearing to another.

        An individual can appeal the decision of the independent hearing committee to the entire HIO  Committee by filing a written request, paying a $450 fee, and providing 12 copies of the transcript of the hearing within 20 days of the committee’s decision. The HIO Committee would then hear the appeal and make a decision within 60 days. The HIO Committee would have to have an 80% vote to overrule the decision of the Independent Hearing Committee. If the individual filing the appeal is an HIO or a horse show manager, they would not be required to pay the $450 fee.

        All independent hearing committee members would be paid a locally acceptable fee by TWHBEA. These hearings would be open to the public and transcribed by a court reporter. The rules of procedure for how these hearings would be conducted will be distributed in advance of the hearings and will be public information.

        The independent hearing process outlined in the Sanctioning Plan is very similar to the successful independent hearing program which has been used by the National Horse Show Commission.



Existing HPA Suspensions and Probation

        HIOs who choose to be sanctioned by the plan agree to honor one another’s suspension lists as long as the suspensions are in accordance with the minimum penalties set forth in the Operating Plan. As a part of the current Operating Plan, the USDA requires that HIOs honor one another’s suspension lists as it relates to federal Horse Protection Act violations. This requirement in the Sanctioning Plan would extend that agreement to other rule violations. All sanctioned HIOs will be using the TWH rule book, so rule violations would be the same with any HIO.


TWHBEA Sanctioned HIO Events

        For a horse show to be a “TWHBEA Sanctioned HIO Event,” they must first affiliate with an HIO sanctioned by the sanctioning plan. They must use an HIO Committee certified DQP, an HIO Committee licensed judge, and use the TWH Rulebook. The rulebook requires that all animals shown at the horse show, in qualified classes, be registered with  TWHBEA, and that all exhibitors have a  TWHBEA Show Card or TWHBEA Guest Show Card. The show would pay $25 to TWHBEA and the appropriate affiliation fees to their respective HIO.

        Show records from TWHBEA Sanctioned HIO Events which are received within 30 days will be entered into Ipeds  and reflected on the horse’s official registered show record. These show records will also earn points towards TWHBEA’s High Point Championship Program. More details about TWHBEA’s High Point Championship Program will be available in an upcoming article.

        Show records from events affiliated with HIOs not sanctioned by TWHBEA will not be entered into Ipeds.

        “If an HIO is not sanctioned through the HIO Sanctioning Plan, then we are not assured that they are meeting the established minimum standards. Show records from shows affiliated with unsanctioned HIOs would not be accepted as those shows would be using rulebooks, judges, and possibly inspection procedures not approved or licensed by the HIO Committee. If we can develop and follow uniform standards, we can further the value of our industry. If you have two different horses show under two different sets of rules with two different set of judging criteria, then you can’t compare the two wins. You aren’t comparing apples to apples,” explained Pedigo.

        “We think the future of our high point program is very bright,” said Pedigo. “The people who participate in it will learn that it is going to add value to their horse.”


TWHBEA Show Cards

        Sanctioned HIO events require all exhibitors to have a TWHBEA Show Card or TWHBEA Guest Show Card. Every exhibitor, whether owner, trainer, or amateur, will be required to have a TWHBEA Show Card.

        According to Pedigo, the TWHBEA Show Card would not replace current amateur cards issued by WHOA and other industry HIOs.

        “This is not an amateur card... the individual HIO amateur card programs could continue. The TWHBEA show card will help fund the HIO sanctioning program, the cost of keeping and maintaining high point/show records, and other benefits and services of the HIO sanctioning plan. It is proposed that a portion of each show card be paid to the HIO that the card holder designates as their home HIO program thus helping to fund the individual HIOs,” said Pedigo.

        TWHBEA members would pay $20 for a show card. Non members can pay $40 for a show card or $30 for a guest show card which would allow the exhibitor to show up to six times at one event only.


Washington Attorney, Research and Technology

        As part of the sanctioning plan, TWHBEA will pay for Washington legal counsel to assist in keeping the industry informed about issues related to the breed and to aid in working with the United States Department of Agriculture. Presently that legal counsel is Niels Holch. Previously TWHBEA, WHTA and WHOA split Holch’s $75,000 fee into thirds. Under this new program, TWHBEA would fund the entire $75,000 outside the HIO Committee and the Sanctioning Plan.

        TWHBEA also agrees to individually fund research that is recommended by the HIO Committee and approved by TWHBEA’s Executive Committee. TWHBEA would maintain relationships with the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and various university veterinary medicine schools regarding research and studies relative to the show horse industry.

        “The industry needs research into the ‘sniffer’ and the algometer for starters,” said Pedigo. “There are various mechanisms that may be good in helping us to achieve our goal of showing sound horses, but we have a responsibility to insure that these devices adequately and properly determine if a horse is sound. We have to guarantee an honest and objective inspection.”

        “The HIO Committee would have the responsibility to seek out the issues that need further study,” said Pedigo. “In the past, we had a limited budget to fund research. We would still be on a budget, but it wouldn’t be quite so limited.”

        TWHBEA would also fund technology needed by its sanctioned HIOs. Examples of such technology would include show management software and wireless laptops. TWHBEA is investigating the possibility of equipping DQPs with laptops to insure uniformity in conducting inspection and to assist in reporting real time results.

        “By having laptops in the field, we could ensure that all entries are properly registered to their proper owners. It could be a great assistance to the entry office as well as the DQPs,” said Pedigo.

        TWHBEA has pledged to fund these items outside the HIO Committee and the Sanctioning Plan and the revenue generated by the HIO Committee. This commitment is not without precedent. TWHBEA has previously paid for equipment and services needed by the NHSC when the other organizations did not have the financial wherewithall to do so. For example, TWHBEA paid for all of Craig Evans services when he was negotiating the Operating Plan on behalf of the NHSC. TWHBEA also provided fluroscopes, computers and software needed by the NHSC.

        “The NHSC did purchase all new computers when we did not renew our contract and returned the computers to us. We have sent a letter to them, allowing them to continue to use the fluoroscopes,” explained Pedigo.


        “For our industry to grow and prosper, we cannot continue to segment and divide our industry. I believe that logical, reasonable people can come together and work this out,” said Pedigo.

        “It’s like a group of boys and girls wanting to play a baseball game,” he explained. “They have to agree on the rules. Where is home plate? Where is the imaginary fence? Bigger children want it as far back as possible so only they can hit it over. Others want it up close. If they can’t come together to agree on the rules and basic principles, then they can’t have a ballgame, because they are not a full-fledged team working together. They’d just be groups of four or five kids wanting to play ball,” said Pedigo.

        “It’s hard for me to imagine that we cannot come together. We just have to agree on the basic goals and principles and start working together like a team,” concluded Pedigo.


        The next installment in this series of articles will examine TWHBEA’s new High Point Championship Program. TWHBEA Senior Vice President Jane Meredith will introduce and answer questions about the new high point program.

        Also next week, I’ll be interviewing NHSC Chairman and WHOA President David Pruett along with WHTA President David Landrum  and NHSC Director of DQPs/Animal Welfare Lonnie Messick. Tom Blankenship and the National Horse Protection Society has also agreed to be interviewed and to release the details of their program for the future of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.