Walking Horse Report Publisher Jeffrey Howard recently interviewed Performance Show Horse Association (PSHA) board member Mickey McCormick and Acting Chairman Terry Dotson.  The conversation centered around the formation of the new PSHA, the goals of the organization, funding and how it will operate.  Dotson and McCormick were very up front with their answers and continued to stress fair, equal treatment of all participants.

WHR – What would you say is the major objective or mission of the newly formed PSHA?
PSHA – We see our mission as promoting the showing of sound horses, promoting the communities with which we show our horse and representing our breed in a way that we can all be proud to be involved.  Also, this organization needs to be the people’s organization.  It is not formed to be anybody’s organization but rather everybody’s organization.

WHR – Were you able to estimate a budget for the upcoming year to operate the new association?
PSHA – We were lucky to have the advantage of knowing what was spent last year in legal, public relations and lobbying expenditures.  We also have a very good idea of the staffing needs of the association and how much that will cost.  In taking all costs into consideration, our estimated expenditures will be in the $900,000 to $1,000,000 ballpark.

WHR – Assuming the revenue will come from a new fee structure, was the board able to decide on that fee structure for 2013?
PSHA – Yes.  Performance horses will be charged a $25 fee per class shown.  The fees for the pleasure horses are still under consideration so for the time being they will remain the same.  Horse shows will be required to pay a $50 affiliation fee and DQP fees ($200 per session plus expenses).  We spent a lot of time on this subject in the board meeting and debated the issues surrounding it heavily.  We had information from all of the horse shows in 2012 as well as the information TWSHO had retained with regards to expected expenditures and budget needs.  The board worked hard to get the lowest fee possible and the fee received unanimous board approval.

What we are trying to accomplish isn’t cheap and doesn’t need to be funded by a select few.  The industry wants equal representation from everyone, which our board agrees with and the best way to accomplish that is for everyone to equally pay for the benefits.  However the board recognizes their are different shows and types of shows out there so before we change the fees for all pleasure horses we want to make sure we undestand all of the consequences.  If we want this association to be the people’s association then the people associated with it must equally contribute.  In comparison to other breeds of show horses, the fee structure is very competitive if not less.

WHR – Will there be a horse card?
PSHA – No.  The board discussed this issue at length and the majority of the board felt there would be a negative reaction to the horse card model.  As a result, we got rid of the horse card fee and that led us to the final fee structure that we previously discussed.

WHR – Will there be an amateur card?
PSHA – No, not at this time.

WHR – Was there any discussion on some type of membership to the PSHA?
PSHA – There has been some discussion between board members and this is a possibility.  If this were agreed to, it would be a nominal fee and not be required to show your horse but yet would be a membership in support of the new association, our goals, actions and the show horse.  We have even discussed family and lifetime memberships but all of that is premature at this point in time.  However, the members of the board will have to rotate off so a membership model might help to identify new board members from regions across the country.

WHR – Have any final staffing decisions been made?
PSHA – The board decided to retain the services of Rachel Reed and she is currently working in temporary office space until permanent space is retained.  We are also looking to fill two other positions, a full-time DQP Coordinator and Executive Director.  A search committee of Dr. John Bennett, Dr. Alan Dorton, Dr. Phil Elsea, Dr. Scott Epsy, and Dr. Ed Murray was formed to search for the DQP Coordinator.  The Executive Director job was listed across multiple sources and since Tuesday over 25 applications have already been received.  We are extremely pleased at the impressive qualifications of the applications we have already received.

WHR – Have you heard anything additional from the KY HIO?
PSHA – No we haven’t.  We continue to reach out to them but have not gotten any response.

WHR – Will trainers that show in front of the KY HIO or unaffiliated shows be allowed to participate in PSHA shows?
PSHA – Our board discussed this and voted that anyone that participated outside of the PSHA circuit would not be allowed to come back and show at PSHA shows for 12 months.  This rule only applies to performance horses.  Pleasure horses that show in front of other HIOs will still be allowed to show at PSHA sactioned shows.

WHR – How will DQPs and judges be identified within PSHA?
PSHA – It is important that we realize the new association must follow the HPA and corresponding Regulations with every decision that we make.  It is also important that we follow the guidelines set forth in the AAEP White Paper and OIG Audit and make sure DQPs meet the criteria set forth.  This item will require more consultation with attorneys as well as discussion with the USDA in order to follow the proper protocol.  It is also important to note that the committees put in place to guide the association will create rules and procedures that will guide future decisions on DQPs, judges and other officials.

WHR – Will all licensed judges in the three HIOs be sanctioned under PSHA to judge?
PSHA – Initially yes however again those judges will be forced to comply with the standards set forth from the committees once they are developed.

WHR – Is there anything else you would like for the industry to know?
PSHA – Yes.  We feel really good about the start we got off to last week and much of that success was made possible by the work of the multiple associations represented as well as the work of the TWSHO board which set the groundwork for much of the work that is being done.  The industry wants fairness and honesty and for everyone to be represented equally.  That is what we are striving for.  Please, everyone give us a chance and realize that we are going to make mistakes, but when we make one we will do our best to fix it and move on.  Everyone serving on the board has other jobs and careers so we ask for the industry’s patience and understanding as we move forward.  We are all trying to do the right thing and nobody on the board has any reason to try and do the wrong thing.

The Walking Horse Report will continue to cover the activities of the PSHA as they move forward to fill the remaining independent spots on their board, appoint committees and set policies and procedures.  We commend those board members and stakeholders that have volunteered so much to help.