TWHBEA Holds Year End Meetings


General Membership Meeting


The 2012 Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ And Exhibitors’ Association Annual General Membership Meeting was held on Friday, November 30, at Association headquarters in Lewisburg, Tennessee. This year the decision was made to forgo formal individual reports from the vice presidents in order to allow ample time for member questions and comments. Following the approval of the agenda, the approval of the December 3, 2011 General Membership Meeting minutes, brief welcoming comments from President Marty Irby and Senior Vice President Margo Urad, and the presentation of the results from the Board of Directors election, the floor was opened up for old business, new business and member comments.

Under old business Director from Oklahoma Cris Van Horn presented a potential breed standard for the members to review. Later in the meeting a motion was passed unanimously to send the proposed breed standard to the Enforcement Committee for review.

Denise Rowland, member from Tennessee, expressed her dismay at the decision to forgo the formal vice president reports. This resulted in a motion being passed to have each vice president present a three-minute report. These reports were condensed versions of the full reports detailed in the coverage of the International Board of Directors Annual Meeting later in this article.

Other issues addressed under old business included the need to address travel reimbursement for officers and directors and the potential re-write of the TWHBEA by laws.

Moving on to New Business, Member At Large Youth Vice President Linda Starnes informed those assembled that every TWHBEA member can join the Kentucky Horse Council for free.

Member from Tennessee Nathanael Jackson made a motion to establish the Micah-Care committee, a hospitality committee charged with helping TWHBEA members in need and named in honor of Micah Bialy, a TWHBEA youth member who recently lost his battle with cancer. The motion carried unanimously and donations for Micah-Care can now be made to the Tennessee Walking Horse Foundation.

Returning to the topic of the proposed breed standard, Member At Large By Laws Vice President Loyd Hall ‘Buster’ Black, Jr., requested that, for clarity’s sake, it be referred to as a breed ideal instead of standard. On the same topic Director from Illinois Dee Hasler pointed out that the original studbooks published by the Association included a breed description.

Member from Tennessee Donna Benefield then addressed the meeting regarding the great responsibility held by the directors for the future of the breed. She reminded everyone that the Association was being closely scrutinized and that the time to end soring was now. She urged the directors to use their minds and consciences when deciding their votes for the 2013 Executive Committee.

Sheryl Crawford, member from Georgia, then remarked that she had never seen more reform in the industry than she has in the last three years. She asked that everyone work to promote the positives that are happening within the breed.

Adding his thoughts, member from Tennessee, Nathanael Jackson reminded everyone that the problem of soring has been around for several decades; and that, while there has been progress, the final changes that need to be made will be the most difficult to implement. He asserted that the breed will survive even if pads and action devices are lost.

Returning to the podium, member from Tennessee Denise Rowland made a series of motions. The first was to request that the International Board of Directors amend their method of voting in the interest of transparency so that all votes cast by the Board at the International Board of Directors Meeting in 2013 be made verbally and be recorded individually in the meeting minutes to be made available to any member in good standing within 30 days. This motion failed 32 to 43. The second motion sought to make it a requirement that all directors attend the General Membership Meeting. Member At Large By Laws Vice President Loyd Hall ‘Buster’ Black, Jr., determined that this issue would have to be addressed as a bylaws amendment. Rowland’s third motion initially covered two topics - requiring all board members to sign and have notarized the oath of office and amending the oath of office to require signees to support and positively promote every division and use of the Tennessee Walking Horse and to give due consideration to the minority in matters requiring a vote. Upon review by the parliamentarian, the motion was separated into two motions. The first of the two, to require each director to sign the oath of office and to have the signatures notarized carried 39 to 30. The second motion, to add the above specified wording to the oath was determined to be invalid because the earlier amendment required directors to sign the current oath. In her final motion, Rowland moved to close the International Board of Directors meeting to everyone except members. It was determined by the parliamentarian that this issue could only be addressed by the International Board of Directors at their meeting.

Following this series of motions, several members expressed their thoughts on the direction of the industry and the eradication of soring. Many praised the progress that has been made and many talked of the work yet to be done. Most agreed that it is not a padded versus pleasure issue, it is a whole breed issue that must be addressed in cooperation by everyone in the industry.



International Board of Directors Meeting

The semi-annual meeting of the International Board of Directors of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ And Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) was held Saturday, December 1, 2012. The meeting began with a call to order by President Marty Irby and the roll call by Secretary Alie Napier. Next up the newly elected directors were recognized and the oath of office was administered by President Irby. Following the approvals of the agenda, minutes from the May 26, 2012 International Board of Directors meeting and the 2012-2013 proposed budget, the standing committee reports began.

Reporting first, Administrative/Fiscal/Audit Vice President Rob Cornelius explained that year to date, through October 31, 2012 (Period 11) the Association showed a negative balance of $6450 but it is anticipated that this will be a breakeven year for TWHBEA. He also reported that the Association’s reserves remain intact and that next year’s budget predicts a modest increase in revenue over expenses.

Enforcement Vice President Christy Lantis reported that five complaints had been filed in 2012 of which two were filed improperly, one was determined to be invalid, one was withdrawn and one is ongoing. Turning to the rulebook she related that her committee had decided to use the 2006 TWHBEA rulebook as a template or starting point. She said that her committee was 70%-80% along the way to completing the new rulebook and that they were considering a breed standard.

Equine Welfare Vice President Dr. Linda Montgomery focused her report on the need for donations for her committee’s efforts and the need for committee members in the midwest and northeast.

Reporting next, Horse Show Vice President Tracy Boyd first discussed the National Futurity stating that the move that put it on the same weekend and in the same location as the World Versatility Show was motivated by a desire to create an event that would showcase every facet of the Tennessee Walking Horse. He said that the event was a success and the decision to add open classes brought a new dimension to the show. To close out his report he talked about the International Highpoint Program and its potential going forward. Following Boyd’s report, Oklahoma Director Cris Van Horn asked that TWHBEA explore naming its own World Grand Champions.

Marketing Vice President Joyce Moyer began by making the point that everyone is a member of the Marketing Committee; that everyone markets the breed, either negatively or positively. She then gave a rundown of her committee’s various activities including the upcoming TWHBEA cookbook, partnership with Stolen Horse International, the Southeastern Trails Conference, Equine Agility, Best of America by Horseback and TTEC.

Owners/Exhibitors/International Vice President Stephen Brown reported that the breed is growing in Europe and specifically thanked the Bader-Keyser family and Maryan Zyderfeld for their promotion efforts. He related that he had visited Portugal and Mexico to gauge interest in our breed. He also touched on HORFA, the horse fair he attended in China, stating that the Tennessee Walking Horse and Quarter Horse were the only American breeds in attendance. He pointed out that the Tennessee Walking Horse booth was one of the most popular at the event.

Performance Horse Vice President Mike Hicks reported that his committee was working on assembling information packets that include educational materials on the performance horse. He also discussed a potential economic survey and urged owners to get their trainers a TWHBEA membership for Christmas.

To begin his report Pleasure Horse Vice President Rick Wies noted that the World Versatility Show continues to grow. The 2012 edition of the show boasted 557 entries up from only 250 entries three years ago. He then congratulated Tracy Pinson on her second Extreme Cowboy Race World Championship with Skyjacker’s Mountain High. He reported that there were five Adult Supreme Versatility Championships and one Youth Superior Versatility Championship awarded in 2012. In closing he stated that Equine Agility and Western Dressage were on track to be added to the Versatility program.

Breeders Vice President Dee Dee Miller started her report by detailing her committee’s accomplishments over the past year including online registration and the Motivated Mares program. Touching on future projects she talked about the EyeD identification system, a program involving the Equine Welfare committee aimed at making it easier to register rescued Tennessee Walking Horses, possible family memberships, a restructuring of the Association’s fee schedule and the feasibility of putting pictures on registration papers.

Member At Large By Laws Loyd Hall ‘Buster’ Black, Jr., began by announcing that a $13,000 line item for bylaws amendments had been included in the 2012-2013 budget. He then turned to the bylaws rewrite, which has been tackled by California Director Fran Cole, stating that the document produced by Fran for the meetings was merely a starting point or first draft. He said that his committee was approaching the rewrite with the philosophy that the bylaws should move the Association forward and from that standpoint  the bylaws committee should point out policy questions, not make policy decisions. In closing, he explained that the Whitfield amendment, which would ban pads and action devices, mentions the Tennessee Walking Horse but does not define the term Tennessee Walking Horse. He said that this fact meant that the integrity of the registry was more vital than ever before.

Member At Large Youth Linda Starnes started by recognizing the outgoing Tennessee Walking Horse Youth Association officers and the various youth award winners. She then discussed her committee’s activities over the past year including the FAST Showcase, American Youth Horse Council, National Trails Day, Youth Camps, World Versatility Show, All Youth Day, 4-H Eastern Roundup and Just Say WHOA. She then urged everyone to share their horse with a youth and announced that the essay topic for 2013 would be “The Tennessee Walking Horse for me is....”

In the final standing committee report of the day, Trainers Vice President Wayne Dean discussed the Academy and Certified Riding Instructor (CRI) Program. He related that his committee was exploring ways to increase participation in both programs and that two subcommittees were being formed - one comprised of representatives from the Trainers, Horse Show and Youth committees and one comprised of licensed CRIs.

Following the standing committee reports President Irby said a few words about breed historian and advocate Sarah Lynn Bledsoe, who recently passed away unexpectedly.

It was then time for the election of officers. As President Irby chaired this year’s Nominating Committee, he provided the report that revealed the following slate - President Stephen Brown, Senior Vice President Loyd Hall ‘Buster’ Black, Jr., Administrative/Fiscal/Audit Vice President Rob Cornelius, Horse Show Vice President Pat Stout, Trainers Vice President Sherrie Szucs, Breeders’ Vice President Mike Hicks, Pleasure Horse Vice President Rick Wies, Performance Horse Vice President Christy Lantis, Enforcement Vice President Lori Northrup, Equine Welfare Vice President Dr. Linda Montgomery, Marketing Vice President Joyce Moyer, Owners/Exhibitors/International Vice President Jason Bachert, Member At Large By Laws Fran Cole, Member At Large Youth Caroline Hoffman and Secretary Dee Dee Miller. Nominations from the floor included Tracy Boyd for President, Margo Urad for Senior Vice President, Rick Chovan for Administrative/Fiscal/Audit Vice President, Dr. Kasey Kesselring for Horse Show Vice President, Wayne Dean for Trainers Vice President, Sherry White for Pleasure Horse Vice President, Leslie Topham for Performance Horse Vice President, Denise Bader-Keyser for Enforcement Vice President and Dr. David Mullis for Member At Large By Laws.

The unopposed candidates were elected by acclimation. Then each of the other candidates was allowed three minutes in which to talk to the directors before they voted. Once the directors had voted and the votes had been counted it was revealed that the TWHBEA Executive Committee would be comprised of President Tracy Boyd, Senior Vice President Loyd Hall ‘Buster’ Black, Jr., Administrative/Fiscal/Audit Vice President Rob Cornelius, Horse Shows Vice President Pat Stout, Trainers Vice President Wayne Dean, Breeders Vice President Mike Hicks, Pleasure Horse Vice President Rick Wies, Performance Horse Vice President Christy Lantis, Enforcement Vice President Denise Bader-Keyser, Equine Welfare Vice President Dr. Linda Montgomery, Marketing Vice President Joyce Moyer, Owners/Exhibitors/International Vice President Jason Bachert, Member At Large By Laws Vice President Dr. David Mullis, Member At Large Youth Vice President Caroline Hoffman and Secretary Dee Dee Miller.

Following the election, newly elected President Tracy Boyd took over the podium to set the time and location of the next International Board of Directors meeting as May 25, 2012 at Association headquarters in Lewisburg, Tennessee. He then opened the floor for Old Business.

Under Old Business Joyce Moyer and Dr. Linda Montgomery discussed the Walkers for Wounded Warriors program and encouraged everyone to consider participating. Moyer also asked Julie Dillon to speak about her experiences competing in Dressage in the northeast. Dillon related that her horse was usually the only gaited horse at the competitions and that she had earned several top honors. She also stated that she and others were working with the United States Dressage Federation to create educational opportunities for gaited horse owners.

Moving on to New Business, Mike Hicks motioned to establish an economic impact survey to be sent to the Association’s membership. The survey is to be compiled by January 15, 2013, and returned by March 1, 2013. The motion carried unanimously. President Boyd then announced that the Tennessee Walking Horse Foundation would be accepting donations for the new Micah Care program, which was introduced at the General Membership meeting.

As there were no comments from the International Board, the meeting was adjourned.




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