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State of the Association, And Happy Anniversary to NWHA

Don Vizi: Executive Director

This year we mark the 10th Anniversary of being a sound horse organization, dedicated to the protection of the Walking Horse. At the same time I celebrate my one year anniversary as Executive Director of NWHA. This gives me a great opportunity to tell you where we have been and where we are going.

We ended 2007 with a victory in our two year long law suit. Our lawyers did an outstanding job in protecting the organization and protecting the rights of our horse owners. A special thanks to Sheryle Long for her guidance during this difficult time. Since the judges ruling we have increased our membership by 95 members and had an increase in our tracking registry of 38 horses.

Thanks to Paula Sue Swope we have a friendlier web site that is easy to navigate. We added links on our web site to other organizations such as the Kentucky Horse Park, The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, The American Farrier’s Association, Hagyard Veterinarian Hospital, United States Dressage Federation, The United States Pony Club, Inc., and the Equestrian Land Conservation Resource Organization. These organizations have agreed to write articles periodically for our members on equine issues. Please visit their sites and add to your knowledge about the horse.

With the help of many of our members we have published a new rule book and a new versatility rule book that now can be found on our web site http://www.nwha.com. Thanks to the United States Dressage Federation, the American Quarter Horse Association, and the American Reining Horse Association for approving the use of their patterns in our Versatility Rule Book.

Our registered Palomino Walking Horses have been accepted by the Palomino Horse Breeders Association (PHBA) Registry, and the PHBA has agreed to allow points earned in NWHA shows to go toward their high point awards program.

We have joined forces with the United States Dressage Federation to schedule joint training for USDF judges to judge our Walking Horse dressage shows. You will see dressage clinics offered in the near future.

NWHA was the first horse organization to co-brand with the 2010 World Equestrian Games. I serve as part of the 2010 World Equestrian Games Speakers Bureau to go throughout the state to give briefing on the 2010 Games. We have also submitted a proposal to have a flat shod sound Walking Horse demonstration at the 2010 Games.

The Kentucky Horse Park and the 30 equestrian organizations that make up the National Horse Center on the Horse Park now know that NWHA is a Sound Walking Horse Association, with zero tolerance for soring, strictly enforces the United States Department of Agriculture Horse Protection Act, and does not allow pads, chains or any other action devices at our shows.

With the beginning of each year we have our yearly training for our Designated Qualified Person (DQP) with instruction from the USDA representatives. We applaud the USDA’s efforts to strictly enforce the Horse Protection Act. We have invited both the USDA and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to be in attendance at any of our affiliated shows, and our National Show, without restrictions on where they are allowed to visit or inspect. We are a partner with these organizations to help stop abuse of Tennessee Walking Horses. We have publically supported the HSUS in their efforts to stop abuse of the Walking Horse, and applaud their $10,000 reward efforts to expose individuals that sore horses. NWHA recently received a $3,000 grant from the American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) for our efforts to continue to stop soring in the Tennessee Walking Horse. This grant will enable us to train more DQPs to continue to enforce the Horse Protection Act.

Our organization participated in the media day at the Kentucky Horse Park where our Walking Horse, Ebonys Supreme Bum better known as Dillon, owned by DeDe and Steve Marshal gave a great demonstration of how a sound Waking Horse looks. We will again have one of NWHA’s finest as an ambassador in the Parade of Breeds at the Kentucky Horse Park. Larry Anderson, widower of Cindy Anderson, is graciously allowing Cindy's beloved horse Bold Aggression better known as BO to be our ambassador in the Parade of Breeds. BO will be outfitted with a state of the art western saddle donated by Circle Y Saddles.

Last years National Show was the largest flat shod Walking Horse show ever held in Miller Coliseum and possibly in the United States with large classes, a large number of youth participation and a very large group of versatility classes. This year we already have 270 stalls reserved and 69 camper spaces reserved. Don’t miss out; make your plans and reservations for the 2008 Nationals now. Pre entry forms will be available soon on the website and in the mail.

The first of NWHA’s four Regional Championship Shows was held in Nacogdoches, Texas and was a tremendous success accentuated by Heavy Weight Champion George Foreman attending and presenting several blue ribbons to the winners.

This will be a great year for NWHA as we celebrate our 10th Anniversary. Take pride that NWHA stands for the protection of the Walking Horse. Remember, we are the gait keepers of the naturally gaited Walking Horse.


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