My Final Day as President
My Fellow Members:
It’s time to call a spade a spade. There is an elephant in the room and many don’t seem to be able to see it. Nearly two years ago during our first Past Presidents meeting, one of the most respected gentlemen in our industry, Mr. Bill Harlin told us that “we have still not faced the elephant in the room.” The day he first spoke this, I listened closely, and have compared it to the comments from members around the globe. Mr. Harlin was right at the time.
As we later came under the scrutiny of the world’s magnifying glass, we as a breed and industry began to finally look into the mirror that so many have held in front of us. The mirror has been held up for many decades, and the outside world began to see what our small niche in the world was faced with in today’s modern and changing times.
I am one that believes if you have nothing to hide, then you are ready, willing, and able to show the world that the majority of our show horses are sound in every way. Up until now, we have failed our horse, we have not believed in our horse enough and the truly natural talent we have bred over the past century. The horse we have today is not the horse we had when we first began in 1935. Today’s Tennessee Waling Horse is much better, and is the product of our educated breeding programs over a number of generations. So many people fail to realize the truly natural and giftedly athletic horse the next generation of breeders have produced for us to enjoy, promote, flourish, and expand around the entire globe.
We as a breed must think about the horse first. We must begin to think and understand where our specific horse belongs. We must continue to grow and place our horse in the proper divisions that will ensure its future expansion. We must place the right horse in the right divisions, and we must show that we have bred for specific detailed animals that can perform in continuity with what our founders expected our breed and its gait to expand to.
Everybody wants to win, but fortunately for our horse, and at the same unfortunately for our competitors, we have bred a horse that is so naturally talented in its gait and presentation, that we have expected our horse to win, win, win. We have defined winning too tightly, and have not acknowledged that horses who may place fifth today, would have once placed first less than a decade ago. We have made progress in our horse’s form without holding the mirror up for ourselves to see what an AWESOME horse we have bred. We, along with the rest of the world don’t give our horse enough credit, and we MUST be the first to stand up for what we have bred, and show the entire world what our horse has to offer for every equine enthusiast that has ever dreamed of having their own horse.
Tonight our annual awards banquet was a tremendous success. I thank all of those who attended, and congratulate all of those who received a number of very honorable awards. Our Member of the Year, Mr. Frank Neal is a very special individual who has dedicated his time, talents, efforts, and finances toward the betterment of our association for decades. The recipient of The Reese Smith Award, Mrs. Sheryl Crawford has honored, and exhibited our horse to more than most will ever realize, and has educated more people about the truly naturally gifted performance horse we have created. Mrs. Crawford has brought great honor to our horse and to TWHBEA.
For the first time, and one of the most important things I have had a part of creating is the first “Presidential Award.” This was award was created this year and is an award that is given to one member of our organization, at the sole discretion of the President during his time in office. Our first recipient of the award is a man who has never been given the credit he is due, he is a man who has spent more time thinking about our horse and industry than most of us can ever realize in a generation’s worth of knowledge. Our recipient has been the one person I could call anytime no matter what, and who if no more than two minutes, or as long as forty minutes, could communicated the most logical and reasonable opinions, supported by the basis of facts from the past forty years. Our first recipient is former Past President, Mr. Walt Chism. He has been a saving grace during my Presidency, and has been a rock that I have known I can always rely on. He loves this breed and horse more than most will ever know.
Please remember that throughout this week I have mentioned an number of topics regarding change. One thing I was never able to accomplish as President, and something I truly believed strongly in is changing the official name of our organization to “The Tennessee Walking Horse Association.” We do now utilize this name as a DBA which began under my office, but have not fully accepted or completed the transfer that will ultimately help move our organization of nearly 10,000 members to a complete leadership position. I ask that you consider our future, consider our breed Internationally, and consider that a name can change just as easily for a new direction as anything, and may set the course of that new direction as well. Please consider for the future that our organization be officially renamed “The Tennessee Walking Horse Association (TWHA).” I along with our Pleasure Horse Vice-President, Mr. Rick Weis have been the main advocates for such a name change. This will be a bold move, but a brave and adventurous one in pioneer spirit that will one day prove to be a decision Mr. Weis and I realize may be ahead of our time.
In closing, and with so many more things that I could speak about for days, I would like to thank the many TWHBEA members from around the world for allowing me to serve them. I thank each of your for allowing and affording me the opportunity to promote and protect the future interest of the greatest equine breed on earth. The Tennessee Walking horse is , has, and always be my number one passion above all else for all time.
For the love of our horse,
For further details or information, please contact (931) 359-1574.