The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association held a productive annual meeting and election of officers on Friday, Dec. 3.

Following the approval of the minutes and the budget report made by Wayne Dean reporting that two CDs, the horse show account, and the operating account totaled a little over $258,000, President Landrum stated, “Things are looking great with $250,000 in the bank, good officers and the best board ever.”

Landrum reported on the NHSC and the Limited Performance class. The name has changed to Park Performance. Two park performance classes have been added to the Spring Fun Show. Next year Park Performance will be in the Horse Of The Year awards. Landrum also reported on the status of the “two pound” shoe. He related that the dimensions were more important than the weight. He said the NHSC listened to a report and that if the shoe was of the correct dimensions then it would not be as heavy as many had feared. With this knowledge, NHSC tabled the rule about the weight. Landrum said a template was being developed to easily check the dimensions of a shoe.

Landrum also related that the rules pertaining to youth showing stallions had been amended. Youth may show a weanling mare, stallion or gelding but that they can only show a yearling mare or gelding for safety purposes. There were several questions concerning the Equitation rules that were as of yet unanswered. The next meeting will be January 17, 2005. This will be the last NHSC meeting where the WHTA is in the leadership position (This rotates between TWHBEA, WHTA and WHOA).

Mack Motes also spoke concerning the commission and DQP tickets. He said that the operating plan effectively did away with the need for the point system. He felt that horses should be turned down without penalties unless the horse was in violation of the operating plan.

Motes stated that he was against the independent hearing committee. He felt that the industry need to govern themselves because they were more knowledgeable. It would also save several thousand dollars if we did it ourselves.

Landrum reported that after discussion the 30 day rule would stay the same pertaining to showing before a judge. Mack Motes reported that NHSC has become affiliated with SSHBEA. Judges could now have dual licenses yet each association would be an independent HIO. There would be a joint effort on issues that would help give us more support with the USDA.

Knox Blackburn, Mack Motes and David Landrum are the WHTA representatives on the NHSC. They hope to include other HIOs under NHSC’s umbrella but each will remain independent HIOs

Bill Cantrell reported on the future WHTA building project. The WHTA is looking at buying or leasing land from the Celebration to build a 3500 sq. ft. building. He stated that $20,000 had been set aside for the building already. WHTA plans to include a Hall of Fame room for a new WHTA Hall of Fame. Cantrell said that there were now 567 total members including 54 new memberships. Cantrell related that the 250 tickets had been sold for the Grand Prize Giveaway drawing Friday night for the red 2005 Ford F150.

Jamie Hankins reported on the pleasure horses and thanked the trainers for the support of the limited performance class which grew from one entry in St. Louis early last season to 24 at the Oak Grove Show this fall.

Benny Johnson and Buist Carr will once again head up the Trainers’ Show. Benny spoke and said that he was pleased that the theme of the show was “We’re A Fool For Our Youth”. This year’s programs will be dedicated to the farriers. Trainers can recommend farriers and a picture will be used in the program. Call the WHTA Office to nominate a farrier. He encouraged trainers to show all three nights as local spectators come to see the Trainers’ Show, and this would help to fill the classes on Saturday night. He also stated that they had changed the retired trainers’ class to trainers 60 years of age and over to encourage participation.

Spencer Benedict reported on the Scholarship fund. He stated that $2500 had been awarded to Lindsey Oliver and Jessica Day. Next year plans are for four scholarships of $2500 instead of two.

Landrum relayed that there was no MASCUP money to be paid out this year. He said he was in process of negotiations with Russ Walthers and that he has a letter in which Walthers agrees to pay $30,000, but that Walthers states he does not have the money.

Landrum thanked the board of directors for all their hard work and gave each a gift. Mickey McCormick then presented Landrum a leather jacket with the WHTA emblem on it for his service.

The nominating committee (Spencer Benedict, Bill Cantrell and Link Webb) recommended David Landrum for president, Allan Callaway for first vice president, Mickey McCormick for second vice president and Wayne Dean, Justin Jenne’, Benny Johnson, Tommy Loid and Ronnie Spears for directors. Nominations from the floor were taken with Chad Baucom being nominated for the board. Callaway, Landrum and McCormick were reelected by acclamation. Voting for four board members was completed and the signed ballots were collected. The four that were elected were Wayne Dean, Benny Johnson, Tommy Loid, and Ronnie Spears.

Charles Hulsey then spoke to the membership concerning the new horse identification program. This federal program will be mandatory due to the mad cow scare. Hulsey related some of his concerns and restrictions of this program. More information will be forthcoming as discussions with USDA progress.

Lonnie Messick then spoke about inspections. He stated that NHSC had a good show season. Entries were up 62,000 compared to 57,000 last year and fewer violations were issued. The USDA attended less shows and our relationship with them is good.

The meeting was lengthy but productive, and concluded with the gathering of new officers and members of the board of directors who will lead the organization throughout 2005.

The Trainers Meeting Election Results are as follows:

President: David Landrum

1st Vice President: Allan Callaway

2nd Vice President: Mickey McCormick

Benny Johnson and Tommy Loid are the newcomers elected to the board, along with Ronnie Spears and Wayne Dean being re-elected. They join board members:  Jerry Collier, Billy Gray, Bill Cantrell, Link Webb, Mack Motes, Bill Bobo, Jamie Hankins and ex-officio member Knox Blackburn.