The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA) met on Wednesday June 27, 2012 in Shelbyville, Tenn. to inform their membership of recent developments in the industry.  President Jamie Hankins presided over the meeting and laid out the actions of the past several months and laid out the plan for the future.  As part of his introductory remarks he set the record straight as to the purpose of the meeting.  “We have heard rumor about this meeting addressing whether we are going to continue to show horses.  I can assure you that isn’t what the meeting is about and we are not even going to talk about that,” said Hankins.

Hankins then laid out the actions of the board over the last several months and the facts that led to their decision to implement the new WHTA Enforcement Initiative, a program that will use gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to identify foreign substances banned by the initiative.  Hankins addressed the concerns of the membership and also walked them through the protocol for collecting the data.

Hankins also briefly discussed the recent lawsuit filed by SHOW that challenges the mandatory penalties introduced by the USDA that are set to go in effect July 9, 2012.  “We are hopeful the court will grant us injunctive relief while the lawsuit is heard and ruled upon,” said Hankins.  Hankins thanked the legal advisory team to the WHTA and urged the membership to express their appreciation.

Hankins also urged the membership to help with fundraising for the newly formed Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization (TWSHO), an organization that as part of its mission will fund the WHTA Enforcement Initiative.  All four performance horse HIOs have endorsed the program, a great sign of unity for the welfare of the horse and support for the membership of the WHTA.  Randall Baskin has pledged to match contributions from the WHTA up to $100,000 to aid in the use of science and technology to aid in the continued emphasis on the welfare of the horse.