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WHOA Academy Letter



Kristi Lane
Interim Executive Director 
TWHBEA  P.O Box 286
Lewisburg, Tennessee 37091   

Dear Kristi:   
I wanted to follow up with you on our recent phone conversation.  First, let me apologize for “insulting” you with my call.  That was not my intent at all.  We heard some time ago that the TWHBEA would not be continuing our past agreement in regards to the academy program because you wanted to affiliate the shows with your new HIO and sell your own rider cards.  Frankly, we have been waiting on someone from TWHBEA to give us a courtesy call and let us know about this decision.  When that call never came, I thought the most professional thing to do was to give you a call and discuss.  Again, my call to you was never meant to be insulting, but rather just a chance for us to have open dialog regarding the academy program.  

Let me be clear that there are no hard feelings on our end.  I think our partnership in the academy program the past few years has been beneficial. We are disappointed in your decision to discontinue that partnership and affiliate the shows with your HIO instead of the NHSC.  We wish you only the best of luck with your academy program and have offered to furnish you with ribbons for your shows and also include your academy show  results in our high point program at no charge.  Although you have declined this offer, please know that the offer still stands if at any time you reconsider; and I hope you will.   

In the same spirit, I hope you understand our decision to host our own academy shows.  Both WHOA and the NHSC want to continue to be involved in the academy program and we felt this was the best avenue to do so. We have scheduled our shows where they are not in conflict with your events and hope that instructors and riders will participate in both programs.  As we discussed, WHOA began our academy program in 2002 with a  meeting of interested instructors at our annual convention.  Our first academy classes were held that same year beginning at the World Cup Spring Premier in Shelbyville and carrying through to the first Academy  Championship at the 2002 International Pleasure & Colt Show. In 2003 when TWHBEA created an academy  program we were able to join forces and cosponsor the academy shows. I personally worked with the TWHBEA  staff to help promote the program from 2003-2006 and feel it was a great relationship.   

Kristi, the only concern I have at this point is your comment to me that “If this means war, then so be it. The instructors will have to choose”. I think this kind of attitude is detrimental to the whole spirit of the academy program and our entire industry.  I hope that we can all put personal feelings aside and find ways to help each other introduce new riders to our breed.  This program is one of the best avenues we have to introduce people  to the Tennessee Walking Horse, and I don’t think their first experience with our breed needs to be a “war.” Again, I am disappointed in TWHBEA’s decision to end our previous partnership, but I hope we can all find ways to work together for the good of our breed and the benefit of both academy programs.   

We remain committed to the academy program, just as we have for the past 5 years.  I hope that both of our associations host record-breaking shows in the coming year and introduce more riders than ever to the joy of  riding a Tennessee Walking Horse.  Please feel free to call me if I can ever be of assistance.     

Sincerely,     
Mark K. Taylor 
Director of Sales and Marketing 
Walking Horse Owners’ Association

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