Editor's Note:  The following is a letter from WHOA President, Kim Bennett:

Owner's Call to Action 



Ladies and Gentlemen, our industry and in fact our breed is at perhaps one of the most tumultuous points in its history.  The Tennessee Walking Show Horse has been under attack for some time.  They have plotted a course, set off on it in a very methodical manner and unless we cause them to detour, they will soon arrive at their destination.  The listening sessions being conducted this month address numerous items and could be the first step in further rule-making to eliminate the padded performance Tennessee Walking Horse. 


As an owner, you are the stakeholder.  You are the only one who can change the course of events that will follow.  As an owner you are the custodian of the breed and as such are responsible, and will be held accountable for, the treatment of your horse.  I urge you to reinforce the fact that you as an owner do not want any training methods used on your horse that would violate the HPA.   This has to be a very clear agreement between you and your trainer.  If you think there is any doubt that your trainer does not understand your desires concerning the treatment of your horse, you need to "TWEET":


• TELL him or her that you expect complete compliance with the HPA 

• WRITE a training contract detailing your expectations  

• EXPLAIN that you will remove the horse from his barn if your instructions are not followed  

• ENFORCE complete compliance by visiting his barn on a regular basis and inspecting your horse on a regular basis.  If you are unable to do this, ask a veterinarian to do the same and provide you with a written report.

• TAKE action immediately and secure a witness to your verbal and written instructions. 


Attached you will find a sample training agreement.  It is strongly recommended that even if you have already completed a training agreement or liability form with your trainer in the past that you reiterate your instructions both verbally and in writing immediately. This form is also available on the WHOA website at www.walkinghorseowners.com.




Kim Bennett


Walking Horse Owners Association