By Linda Scrivner

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The 2004 Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) Convention was held on Friday, Feb. 13, and Saturday, Feb. 14, 2004 with annual meetings and two Award Banquets. The meetings were held on Saturday at the Double Tree Hotel in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and both banquets were held at the James Union Building on the Middle Tennessee State University campus.

Tommy Hall, executive director, and his staff did their usual wonderful job organizing and planning the festivities and meetings. The meetings were extremely successful and productive while the banquets were well attended with 150 the first night at the Register of Merit, Versatility High Point and Academy Awards Banquet and a full house of 269 attending the Saturday night National High Point Awards Banquet.

Friday evening...

Register of Merit, Versatility High Point and Academy Awards Banquet

The highlights of the convention were the celebration of the 2003 winners at the two banquets. On Friday night banquet goers enjoyed a delicious buffet as well as many awards and honorees bestowed upon the hard working winners and their mounts.

Following the welcome by Pleasure Horse Committee chairperson Martha Child, introduction of honored guests by Mark Farrar, Jr. and the invocation, a buffet dinner was enjoyed by all. Appreciation awards were given to Martha Child for serving as chairman of the Pleasure Committee, to Jane Meredith for her hard work on the Academy program, to Womack Stables for hosting a versatility show and to Linda and Larry Starnes for their work on the Brownsville, Ky., versatility show.

Mark Farrar, Jr. announced this year’s high point winners while Jack Greene captured the moments on film. Beautiful awards and ribbons were presented to the owners who came from all over the nation to commemorate their win.

The Versatility High Point Awards were given first. The Showmanship division was a tie between Alex Bumpus and Stephanie Smith with Sydney Shortridge winning reserve. In the Model class the winner was Banners Honor And Glory for Martha Child with Jazz Main Secret for James and Dawn Payne picking up the reserve streamer.

Sara Womack proudly accepted the Equitation high point award. Alex Bumpus claimed reserve. In the Trail Pleasure, No Canter division Lacy Cash claimed the trophy for Double Springs Farm. There was a tie for reserve. Reserve winners were Wise Impact for Vic Gernt and Major Alibi for Fred and Delores Gibbany of Harrison, Ark.

Doc’s Last Advice for Jeff and Kim Dean won first in the Lite Shod category for the second year in a row and Bojangle’s Diamond Sadie for Rhonda Martocci came in reserve. Trail Pleasure, Canter champion was Gen’s Final Masterpiece for Christie Scrivner with Mr. Pacesetter for Tina Singleton claiming the reserve spot.

Doc’s Last Advice for Kim and Jeff Dean was the high point winners in the 1 Inch Plantation division with reserve going to Rainbow’s Good Time for Dave Patterson. Dangerous Beaty and Kathy Owen repeated their 2003 high point win in the Country Pleasure category and Owen also picked up the red streamer with Double Spring’s Prime Time Cotton.

Heavenly Secret and Bill Reed were Park Pleasure high point champions. Reserve was She’s A Double Major for Double Springs Farm. The Versatility and Game Classes high point winners were Honey Bear and Ada Keen. Mary Helen Martin claimed reserve with Southern Tapestry.

There were eight horses recognized in the 2003 Certificate of Achievement in the Youth Division and 13 in the adult division. The Certificate of Achievement is a year end award based on points earned in that show year only.

The 2003 Academy Program was a huge success. TWHBEA and WHOA co-sponsored many events along with the Academy Championships at the 2003 International Grand Championships. The first of the academy awards went to Audrey Whitmer as she claimed the blue tricolor in the Equitation 12-17 Performance, No Canter division. Emily Prentice claimed the reserve honor.

It was Mikenzie Brown winning the Equitation 12-16 Flat Shod, No Canter divisions while reserve was awarded to Nikki Leggett. Winning the Equitation 9-11 Performance, No Canter title was Crystal O’Brien and Callie Haley claimed the number two spot.

For the second consecutive year, Hailey Douglas proudly claimed the Equitation 8 and Under Flat Shod, No Canter award with Sydney Shortridge picking up the reserve win. Kay Beecham was the recipient of the Equitation, Adult, No Canter award followed by Penny Prentice for reserve.

There was a tie for first in the Equitation 9-11 Flat Shod, No Canter class between Stephanie Smith and Ann McCullough Wilkins. The reserve champion was Ann McCullough Wilkins. Claire Ottman won the Equitation 8 and Under Performance, No Canter. Sydney Shortridge was hot on her heels to claim reserve.

Another tie in the Equitation Open Canter, Flat Shod or Performance was between Mikenzie Brown and Ashley Beard. The three-way reserve winners were Jerry Hampton, Luke Carswell and Emily Goerg. Megan Whitmer received the first place trophy for the Academy 12-17 Performance, No Canter title with reserve going to Jane Ann Perry.

The winner in the Academy 11 and Under Flat Shod, No Canter division was Ann McCullough Wilkins while Stephanie Smith picked up the reserve championship. Penny Prentice was honored with first in the Academy Adult Flat Shod or Performance, No Canter and Angie Hornaday claimed reserve.

Academy 11 and Under Performance, No Canter high point winner was Sarah Margaret McGee with Caitlin Chase claiming reserve. Mikenzie Brown made another trip to the front to claim the Academy 12-17 Flat Shod, No Canter trophy with Nikki Leggett winning the number two spot. In the Academy Open Canter, Flat Shod or Performance division, the winner was Heather Sanders. There was a three-way tie for reserve between Sara Gray, Jerry Hampton and Janet Kleunder.

The final award in the Academy High Points was the Pattern, Open. Three riders tied for first. They were Audrey Whitmer, Nikki Leggestt and Megan Whitmer. Kelsey Beach won the reserve spot. Hall asked all present that were here to receive academy awards and to see someone receive academy awards to stand and be honored. Hall estimated that 80% of those present were here for the Academy awards. Parents and grandparents showed their support for the program by watching and applauding as the well-dressed of all ages received their awards.

A special award was given to honor the instructor that brought the most entries to the academy shows. Faye Lynn Coffey was the one honored. This is her tenth year as a riding instructor. At the present time Coffey has 40 students, 10 of which are adults. She had 66 entries at the shows. The first evening’s festivities were brought to a close with many heading toward the silent auction to view the lovely and large selection of items and to bid upon their choice.

Saturday Morning

he Saturday schedule included the board meeting at 9:00 a.m., followed by the general membership meeting at 10:00 a.m. At l:00 p.m. the program included the pleasure committee meeting and the Walking Horse Owners Youth Association (WHOYA) annual membership meeting and convention. All of these were held at the Double Tree Hotel, a truly lovely facility in Murfreesboro.

General Membership Meeting

President Rhonda Martocci welcomed everyone to the general membership meeting . Following approval of the minutes, Tommy Hall gave the financial report since George Greenup is in the hospital. Hall stated that it was a good year financially. Hall said that he appreciated all the help and support that made the International shows the great successes that they were. Martocci said that basically WHOA spends everything they make since they are a non-profit organization and that the money was spent in ways to benefit you, the owner.

Next on the agenda was the NHSC report by Martocci. WHOA has three members on the commission. In 2004 the representatives are Frank Neal as past president, president Martocci and Kim Bennett. Alternates for WHOA are George Greenup, David Pruett, Martha Child and Jaclyn Tillman. Martocci said that the NHSC is a policing agency while WHOA is promotional. The NHSC discuss hearings, appeals and other important items. Martocci reported that this has been a positive year. The NHSC has been trying to do a good job of policing our industry in a way to benefit us.

Martocci related that she was the head of the NHSC Rules Committee, which consisted of herself, Jerrold Pedigo and Knox Blackburn. Each committee has sub committees which bring changes or concerns to the committee. The WHOA representatives on the Pleasure Rules Committee are Kathy Owen, Bob Lawrence and Martha Child with Mandy Dawn, Jean Baum and Pat Stout as alternates. Members on the Performance Rules Committee are Lynn Womack, David Pruett and Debbie Flack with alternates Sue Ann Schott, George Greenup and Suzy Johnson. The WHOA Representative on the Oversight Committee is Johnny Harrison.

Martocci continued that there are two ways that rules are decided on. If there is an immediate emergency, all must agree and then they can decide. The other method is a six month comment period before changes are made. They prefer to discuss these and then bring them back to the committee.

In 2002 NHSC had 262 shows with 57,843 horses inspected and 527 violations. In 2003 NHSC had 272 shows with 58,128 horses inspected and 388 violations. In 2002 28 NHSC shows had government in attendance compared to 19 shows in 2003. She felt that these numbers were encouraging.

When Martha Child gave the Pleasure Horse Report, she stated that the International entries were up. The dates of the plantation show had been voted on by the board and it will be Aug. 1-7, 2004.

Mark Taylor gave the directory report next. Taylor state that WHOA loses $3000-5000 each year that it is published at a cost of $15,000 to $17,000. For 2004 there will be a link on the website to the directory. It will be possible to print from there. For those that do not have access to a website, they can request a copy and it will be mailed to them.

Tommy Hall then gave his Horse Show Report. The dates for the Performance International will be Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2004. The versatility shows were discussed and it was stated that there would be one at Brownsville, Ky, and at Womack Stables in Murfreesboro. Tenn., as well as several others.

Hall stated that improvements are continuing to be made at the Miller Coliseum. The red clay continues to be a problem but is getting better. Improvements include food services by Aramark, an enclosed warm up ring and a glassed in eating area on one end of the arena. .

Hall announced that there would be some changes in the divisions for the national high point awards. There will be 53 divisions, the same as in 2003. There will be some splits in the Owner/Amateur/Trained division and the Ladies division will have no canter classes.

Pleasure Committee Meeting

The Pleasure Committee Meeting was called to order by Tommy Hall at l:00 p.m. Saturday followed by roll call. Chairman Martha Child welcomed everyone and presented Hall with a gift. Child stated that Hall was the backbone of the organization.

The committee discussed the date of the Plantation International on Aug. 1-7, 2004. Child stated that they wanted the youth in attendance and voted on these date before school starts. In addition, many supporters are also teachers. Hall stated that they would use the seven day format with the same amount of classes. They plan to have weanling and yearling classes the first of the week so that they can also show at Fayetteville, Belfast and Wartrace.

Hall stated that they had an excellent committee to plan the classes and show last year and he would like to use the same committee. He added Jeff Ray to the committee. WHOA plans to get away from so many morning classes. The evening performances will start at 5:00 p.m.

Hall reported on surveys from exhibitors and owners at the International Grand Championship Pleasure and Colt Show in 2003. 45% of the surveys were returned. 60% said they enjoyed the new Tennessee Miller Coliseum with 5% saying no. 50% were satisfied with the cleanliness of the facility, 17 % were not. Comments were made about the arena being dusty. 39% of those surveyed were not satisfied with the food vendor, 18% were satisfied. Frequent comments were: too expensive, food not good, selection, had the wrong concession opened, should be the one close to the barns. 43% said the judges should be chosen from exhibitors and owner, 14% said the judges should be chosen from the WHOA Board of Directors. In response to the track and warm up area, 33% were not satisfied with them, 28% were. Comments included: did not like the red clay and need to keep people out of the warm up area. The most frequent comment about the class schedule for 2004 was to make it a 6-7 day show again.

Hall asked that everyone continue to fill out these surveys each year so that improvements can be made. The survey and problems were discussed. They can’t use burnt motor oil in arenas now which would help with the red clay situation. They have already added an outside arena, extended and glassed in food area, hopefully they will have better food this year. It will be prepared by Aramark, the same company that served the banquets. They should have good meals for anyone to go into the area and enjoy. The results of the survey will be sent to the Miller Coliseum staff.

Judges for the international were discussed. The pros and cons for the Board voting on the judges or sending ballots out to the people who show to vote on. Due to the expenses incurred in mailing the ballots, it was voted for the committee to elect the judges. The motion carried unanimously.

The schedule was discussed with model, versatility and showmanship classes to be held in the morning. Laura Brandon suggested that the Versatility classes be at the end of the show on Friday and Saturday instead of at the beginning. This suggestion was made so that those that wanted to go to Belfast and Wartrace could do so.

The Register of Merit Program was discussed. It was decided that it needed more publicity since it was such a good program. The versatility shows were discussed. There will probably be five or six shows. The first one is on May 2, 2004 at Womack Stables. The next will be at Brownsville, Ky., on June 13, 2004. It has been decided that a stallion could be the sponsor for $500 at each show and the stallions would be recognized at the banquet. WHOA also need $100 sponsors at these shows for ribbons.

Due to the expenses, there will not be a VA show this year. Instead the Veterans Hospital will have a day at the International that they will be treated to hot dogs and horse show there.

This year and in 2005 the Performance International will fall on a different weekend than the North Carolina Championships. The International is always the first weekend in October while Asheville, N.C. is the fifth weekend after the Celebration. Walking Horse Owners Youth Association Meeting

The Walking Horse Owners Youth Association (WHOYA) met February 14, 2004 in Murfreesboro, TN during the WHOA Convention and Banquet.

A dance for WHOYA members was held on Friday night at the James Union Building on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University.

Officers for 2004 are Justin Miller, President; Sam Jamison, Vice President; Catherine Simpson, Secretary; Helen Farrer, Treasurer; and Lucinda Jamison, Historian. Board of Directors elected for 2004 are: Jessica Blair,Tenn., Jimmy Civils, Texas, Rustin Feaster, Fla., Gavin Flentge, Mo., Rachel Jernigan, Tenn., Hailey McKee, Fla., Matthew McMurtrey, Fla., Keegan Meadows, Fla., and Brandon Urad, Texas.

A Parliamentary Procedure Workshop was held to teach the kids proper procedures for holding their meetings. Handouts were given that explained Robert’s Rules of Order on Presiding Phrases, Order of Business, Motions, and the proper procedures on taking Minutes.

The youth attendees had committee break-outs on Fund Raising, Junior Membership, Projects and Promotions. The youth made plans for their Bethesda Horse Show to be held on July 4. As last year, the proceeds from this show will go to WHOYA to fund various projects held throughout the year. The WHOYA Cookbooks have been printed and are available for sale. WHOYA members solicited recipes from trainers and owners for the cookbook. They determined that the cookbooks should sell for $10 each. Discussion followed of a tack box filled with donated tack and horse items to auction off as a fund raiser this year. Also various projects for the younger members were discussed. The youth members also debated about which promotional items they will order this year.

The next meeting of WHOYA members will be during the Trainers Show.

Saturday evening...

The highlight of the weekend is the National High Point Awards Banquet and the turn out was tremendous with wall to wall tables and attendees on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. Following the welcome by President Rhonda Martocci, introduction of honored guests by Mark Farrar, Jr., and the invocation, a meal was enjoyed by all. Appreciation awards were given to Kathy Owen for coordinating the silent auction and to Jim and Mary House for being ringmaster and coordinating the ribbons.

Presentations were then made to the 2003 International Diamond Sponsors. The Reigning International Champion The Black Night Shade was honored. Jimmy McConnell has won this honor in both 2002 and 2003.

The Whole Nine Yards was honored for being the 2003 World Grand Champion and an award was presented to owners Bob and Luann Sigman and trainer Bill Bobo.

Lotto’s Miss Generator for the Mike Civils Family from Frisco, Tex., and J.D. Miss Unarmed for Jesse Dotson were the first to receive a National High Point Award as they tied for the Weanling Fillies division. Reserve went to Blue’s Lady Pusher for Ronnie Rummage.

Ty and Sue Irby received the award for the Weanling Colts champion with So U Wish while the reserve place went to World Wide Willie for Jake and Luke Washburn. The Two-Year-Old Mares award went Georgia way as Absolutely Flawless was awarded the championship for owners C & C Stables. Steve and Carol Shelton’s She’s A Pistol Pusher was reserve.

Back To The Ritz was the Two-Year-Old Stallions and Geldings Champion for James and Peggy Vernon of Booneville, Miss. Timmons and Sullins of South Carolina owned the reserve champion Pride’s Heartbeat. In the Two and Three-Year-Old Lite-Shod Plantation division, I Believe I Believe was first for Russ Keyser followed by Commanding Dakota for Moore-Foust Farm.

Breedlove and Sherman of Dallas, Texas, carried home the Two-Year-Old Amateur title with Witches Jazz while FDR and Irby Stables earned the reserve placing. The Two and Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure title was won by Forever Spirit and Sue Dean and Sue Maze of Murphy, Texas. My Advice earned the reserve title for California and Mike and Marilee Moran. Three-Year-Old Mares was won by Skywatch’s Dark And Stormy for Renaissance Farms of South Carolina. Altima earned the reserve spot for owners Ed and Carol Sims of California.

The Anthony Joseph Family were proud of their Thief’s Delightful Man as he captured the Three-Year-Old Stallions and Geldings while Dragonfly was reserve for Bob and Mary Medina of Skillman, N.J. Skywatch’s Dark N Stormy won once again in the Three-Year-Old Amateur for Renaissance Farms. Sky Jam won the red streamer for Brenda Bramlett and Suzanne Littell and Bud Moore of Catherine, Ala.

Dangerously Dazzling earned the most points in the Junior Mares for John and Julie Alford of Buffalo, Mo., with She’s Classy for Black Hawk Farm receiving reserve. Julio Julio and owners Donnie and Charlotte Taylor captured the Junior Stallions and Geldings title while The Outlaw Josey Wales earned reserve for Larry and Carol McLaughlin of Beckley, W.V.

The award for the Junior Lite-Shod Plantation went to California with Double Java and Mark and Marcy Drummond. Widow-Maker All Over made Carol Dunaway proud with reserve. Joltin’ Joe Dimaggio took the Junior Park Pleasure title home for owners Gary and Carlene Redman, California way. I’ll take Manhatten for owners Corey Benedict and Brent Humphrey claimed reserve.

The Four-Year-Old Amateur Champion was Sanman for Larry and Pam Russell of Pontotoc, Miss., followed by He’s Wild Eyed & Wicked for the Mike Walden Family. Winning the most points in the Lite-Shod Youth division was Silver Gold Dust for Brenda Erickson while Jimmy Civils’ Trashadeous was reserve.

The Park Youth title went to Counselor’s Jewel for Kim Davis and Dana Clausing. Silver Gold Dust was reserve for Brenda Erickson. Capturing the Youth 11 and Under was Flash Cash for Hy’ Steppin Farms while reserve went to Gen’s Burning Rage for the Dan McSwain family of Atlanta, Ga. Hytone’s Buster Brown won another title for Tyler and Tim Herndon in the Youth 17 and Under. Chalking up another victory was Pusher’s Special Design claiming reserve for Bob Ramsbottom.

Mask Kentucky Girl earned the most points for Chris and Tami Proctor in the Yearling Fillies while Hoyte Eakes’ Encore’s Magic Lady won the reserve championship. Yearling Colts champion was Yippee Yi O Ki Yay for Dr. Roger Richards and the reserve championship went to Black Diamond Ritz for Bobby and Freida Jones.

Copy’s Dark Stranger was crowned Country Pleasure champion for Fred and Lisa Weaver while Mary Kirton was proud of the reserve champion Extra Rave. Genius’ Gold Spirit won the Fine Harness for the Robert Keenan family. Robert Keenan was also presented a birthday cake along with his trophy. A Major Masterpiece was in the running to win reserve for Black Gold Farm.

Stormy’s Black Rain and the Jim Sullivan family were thrilled to win the Owner-Amateur Trained title with reserve awarded to Gen’s Triple Pride and Kenny Compton. Drop The Hammer claimed the Owner-Amateur Trained Pleasure for R.D. and Connie Waldo with reserve placing awarded to Silver’s Spinal Tap and Chip and Bonnie Carrier.

Generator’s Power Pusher and Dick and Sally Reiley had the most points in the Western Park Pleasure division followed by Double Your Money for Dwight and Elizabeth Ottman, hailing from Owensboro, Ky.

Genius’ Dixie Chick earned the Lite-Shod Western for Sheila Kyle and Susan Gordon with reserve heading to A Style File for Darwin and Linda James.

The Flat-Shod Pleasure title went to One Flashy Lady and Joan Birdsall with the red streamer going to Steel Masterpiece and Virgil Harris. Plantation One Inch champions were Double Pistol for Emily Siciensky while Push N For Pleasure and Janis Brown won the reserve spot.

Drop The Hammer and R.D. and Connie Waldo won the Lite-Shod Specialty championship with Rainsong winning reserve for Mike and Pam Erickson. The Park Pleasure Specialty winner was The Rising Son for owner Ray Solley. Skyline was the reserve champion for Jack and Betty Morgan.

The Trail Obstacle championship was headed for Kentucky as Dan Starnes collected the award for Traveling Time and Black Devil Collector and Barbara Civils sent the reserve award to Texas.

Final Keeper took the Walking Pony 17 and Under title for the Gary LeGate family while Pat Hackney’s Olympic Encore carried home the reserve award. Gen’s Super Stroke and James and Peggy Vernon received the Show Pleasure award with reserve going to Extra Ordinary and Bob Ramsbottom.

The 15.2 and Under champion was Gen’s Johnny Walker Red for John and Gary LeGate family. Pushover’s Infiniti was reserve for Bob Medina. Gen’s Color Me In took the Amateur 15.2 and Under title home for the G.R.Trumble family to Kentucky. Silver Dollar Make Me Hollar and the Jerry Graves family earned reserve in this division. Trashadeous won the Amateur Lite-Shod Plantation for Jimmy Civils while Jose Quervo Gold and Lawrence and Hutton earned reserve. Captive Heart and Del and Bridget Rush won the Park Pleasure Amateur title followed by She’s Breathtaking for Lawrence and Hutton.

New York New York earned the Amateur Specialty award for Mann Chrysler Dodge while Georgia’s Bruce and Robin MacDonald earned the reserve spot with John FK’s Pusher. Open Amateur honors went to Generator’s Champion for Hy’ Steppin’ Farm. Seduced By Citation and Sue Maze won the reserve title.

Cash’s Exclamation for Matthew and Diane McMurtrey claimed the Trail Pleasure, No Canter High Point while Friday Night Mercedes and R. D. and Connie Waldo earned reserve. Tina Singleton’s Mr. Pacesetter won the Trail Pleasure, Canter. Reserve went to To Die For for Janis Brown.

Aged Mares champion Rising Rhythm continues to win for Billie Sue Adkinson while reserve position was Rare Cash for the Mike Wall family of Oxford, Miss. Tennessee Gen and Brenda Bramlett wowed them in the Aged Stallions and Geldings division with Mary Medina picking up reserve for Barracuda.

Drop The Hammer earned the Driving Pleasure championship for R.D. and Connie Waldo. She’s A Double Major and Double Springs Farm were reserve in this division. Backfield In Motion won the Ladies Amateur, Canter title for Hy’ Steppin’ Farm while Lock & Load earned reserve for Longview Farms.

Cut The Smoke won the Amateur 50 and Over for Harv and Brenda Carlon while Pride’s Sundance Star claimed the reserve title for Dr. and Mrs. Jim Green. Pusher’s High Voltage thrilled Beckie J. Hicks with the Ladies Auxiliary title. Spring’s Starmaker earned reserve for Joyce Marie Green.

Alex Bumpus earned the Equitation 17 and Under title while Jeren Guthrie earned the reserve spot. Adult Equitation honors went to Sara Womack. Susan Shemwell captured the reserve title. Trashadeous won the Lite-Shod, Canter championship for Jimmy Civils while reserve went to Gueck and Matthews’ Miss Magic Money. The Park Championship winners were Gen’s Sundancer and Sarah Hastings while reserve went to Jimmy Civils’ Caprice’s Lady Gen.

The Snowatch claimed the Championship Stake title for Ashley Joseph while I’m All Fired Up claimed the reserve title for Bowtie Stables.

The awards concluded with three coveted awards. Beautiful carved and painted trunks were the awards given to these three. The 2003 Overall Horse High Point Awards were given in three categories. The High Point Halter Overall was won by Yippee Yi O Ki Yay and Dr. Roger Richards; the Overall High Point Pleasure was won by Drop The Hammer and R.D. and Connie Waldo; and the Overall High Point Performance winners were Skywatch’s Dark N Stormy for Renaissance Farms.

Following the awards, the silent auction was concluded and a 50/50 drawing closed the evening. The cash giveaway drawing kept everyone on the edge of their seat, hoping that they would not hear their name called out since the last ticket would claim the cash. Bruce Lovato bid $1125 for the final five tickets and took home his half of the kitty, $6500. The final five were No Fool (Bobby Joe), Jeff Ray, Suzy Johnson, Shooting Star and Abby Graves.

Complete coverage and results may be found in the Wallking Horse Report.