Pictured left to right: Past Presidents Bill Harlin, Charles Gleghorn, Walt Chism, President Marty Irby, Past President Jim Welch, and Executive Director Ron Thomas





The Wisdom of the Past

My Fellow Members:

Today’s writing represents the second of six such letters during my final week as President of TWHBEA. When I was first elected President in December of 2010, I decided to run from the floor just a few days before the election. The last President who had successfully been elected from the floor was the honorable Mr. Bill Harlin who served as TWHBEA President on two different occasions for two terms consecutively. I only had a few days to campaign, and get the word out, and I knew the odds were against me. The issue of whether to run or not kept me up nearly every night in the weeks before the December meeting of that year. When I finally admitted to myself that I was being called to service, I never felt nervous, and I knew it was the right thing to do. By a small margin of 4 votes, your International Board of Directors elected me at the age of 31. I really didn’t know what to do next.

After the election, I spent the next two weeks traveling in Italy on a long planned vacation. I had much time to think and contemplate over what steps I should first take to begin my term in the right direction. I often wondered why very few of our leaders consulted with our Past Presidents, and why their combined knowledge and wisdom was not utilized as a group. Our industry seemed to always make the same mistakes over and over again, and I wanted to keep from making those same mistakes once again.

I decided my first order of action as President would be to request a joint meeting with all of the TWHBEA Past Presidents at the association headquarters the first week of the New Year. A large number of these fine gentlemen came, and discussed the last 60-70 years of repeated history. Mr. “Red” Etheredge, who was President when the Horse Protection Act was passed said “you are fighting the same battles we were forty years ago when I was President.” Each member of the group agreed, and gave their words of wisdom. From that and future meetings, I can tell you the best decision I ever made was the first one. I am thankful to each of these gentlemen and would like to recognize their efforts, contributions, and continued service to the association we all love so much. There is no group of individuals I have met that love our association and horse more than these and no group who contains their collective wisdom.

With that said I am proud and honored to inform you that on November 3, 2012, our TWHBEA Executive Committee, by unanimous consent, officially formed our TWHBEA Past Presidents Committee under the Immediate Past President on the EC. Please click here  to view the official document presented to our Past Presidents at our recent meeting of the group on November 15, 2012. The formation of this group of individuals, who will meet with future Presidents twice per year, will help maintain continuity, provide a tremendous wealth and resource of history and knowledge, and will keep future leaders from making the same mistakes of the past. 

I am very proud of the formation of this committee, and am thankful to the Executive Committee for seeing the benefits of our past leaders. I am grateful to our Past Presidents for their support, encouragement, wisdom; guidance, lectures, and willingness to help me, a young President who they helped keep from making many mistakes I would have otherwise made. I am honored to become a part of such a group, and will continue to help and serve our great horse and association alongside these fine gentlemen.

In service to our horse,

Marty Irby, President




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