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WHTA Hosts Informative Meeting



The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA) hosted an important and informative meeting at the WHTA office on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, with members in attendance from many states. Winky Groover opened the meeting with a prayer followed by comments from Mitchell Butler, SHOW HIO head DQP. Butler discussed the recent DQP Clinic, new USDA guidelines and the use of the thermography machine to detect indications of scarring. Butler said that SHOW would continue their inspections as normal and encouraged trainers to bring their horses in compliance.

Jeff Speaks, lobbyist for the Performance Show Horse Association, said that much had been accomplished and urged everyone to continue to visit, email and call their congressmen to further our cause. He said this has made a difference and that Congressman Marcia Blackburn’s alternative bill to amend the HPA had helped provide an alternative to the devastating PAST Act.  He felt that the industry’s response and the alternative bill had been a big boost.

He said that the PAST bill had approximately 265 co-sponsors and only needed 218 to pass if it were on the floor. He stated that to beat a bill you had to have an alternative bill and Blackburn’s was what we needed to support. He felt that the industry and their visits had made a lot of progress but it is still a day by day battle with a hundred million dollar humane society on the other side that we had to combat. “We’ve hit them hard. They thought it was done but we still have a lot of work left,” continued Speaks.

Mickey McCormick, president, thanked Denise Rowland and said that Joy Smith had also done a good job of getting information out to combat the PAST bill. McCormick said that we need to present horses that are right and we need to let it be known that the media was welcome to be here to witness the horses. 

Benny Johnson, show chairman, said that most of the funding for the Trainers’ Show had come in but that they still needed more to present the Trainers’ Gulf Coast Show. Johnson also emphasized bringing good clean horses.

Larry Latham asked about showing at shows with other HIO’s and McCormick replied that there was no one stopping them. McCormick also pointed out that SHOW was sending most of the inspection money to help combat the PAST bill and our industry problems and that they were working with other HIO’s and requesting that they add something to their inspection fees so that our industry could continue, perhaps $10 per horse. Benny Johnson said if they wouldn’t donate that, ask the other HIOs for a smaller amount of money to help and that any help would be a benefit. Latham suggested that everyone talk to the Show Managers and other HIOs to help with the industry costs.

The meeting ended on a very positive note with expectations for a very good 46th Annual National Trainers’ Show.

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