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28 Years Later: Have We Learned Anything?

Editor's Note:
The following article appeared in the Shelbyville Times Gazette in 1978, 28
years ago. It was written by James King. It light of recent industry
negotiations, we thought our readers might find it interesting.

Horse Associations Discuss Industry Problems

    Representatives of the walking horse industry organizations met on a May
afternoon in Lewisburg to discuss the problems of the industry and to begin
an attempt at resolving differences between the groups.
    Meeting for four hours were board members of the Tennessee Walking Horse
Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association (TWHBEA), the Walking Horse Trainers'
Association (WHTA), and Dr. Ben Shelton, president of the Walking Horse
Owners' Association (WHOA).
    Discussion centered on grievances, major problems that face the
industry, and the fact that some solutions are needed for the immediate, as
well as the long-range future.
    In addition, the possibility of organizing the three associations into
one organization is being privately discussed among board members.
    Chaired by TWHBEA Director Don Walker, several points were recognized:
1) walking horse trainers are suffering, on different levels, when owners
wish them to bring horses to two shows on the same night: 2) that both WHOA
and the TWHBEA were paying large amounts of money for the same purpose -
show affiliations.
    The meeting came as a result of a conversation between Dr. James A.
Johnson of Highpoint, N.C., and Sid Maddux, of Cookeville, Tenn.,
approximately one to one and a half weeks prior to the meeting. At that time
it was decided that something had to be done to prevent the associations in
the walking horse industry from tearing down each other while preventing any
effective promotion of the breed.
    Dr. Johnson then contacted several leaders in the industry, including
Don Walker, in order to set up a meeting between the three associations in
which it was hoped differences might be worked out or compromises might be
    However, by 4 p.m. that evening, the only solution which everyone
present could agree upon was to have four members from the board of each
association meet at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Shelbyville Inn to study the
possibility of a new organization or, as Walker put it, "a new direction
that everybody can live with."
    The suggestion of this equally represented panel for Sunday's meeting
was made by Louis E. Tippitt, a former director of TWHBEA.
    Near the end of the meeting, Dr. Johnson suggested to the members that
for the remainder of the fiscal show season WHOA be allowed to be the one
association permitted to affiliate shows and license judges.
    This was emphatically refused by TWHBEA board member Sid Maddux on the
grounds that the WHOA board of directors were not present to speak for the
association, and would, therefore, not be a legitimate multi-board decision.

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