1966-Voice Of The Tennessee Walking Horse 1966 May Voice RS - Page 38

EDITOR’S COLUMN THE LONG ROAD BACK The Tennessee Walking Horse means many things to many people. The activities that make up the "horse business’ as we know it are varied and com­ plicated. To some the Tennessee Walking Horse is a business enterprise. To others it is a sport, a hobby or a family pastime. To still others it is a retirement activity that provides both income and pleasure. Re­ gardless of your personal activity in the Walking Horse world, we have reason to believe that you are now approaching the era of "greatest achievement and recognition” that the breed has ever known. Herein we hope to present to all our readers, and to the membership of the various national associ­ ations involved in the activities of the Tennessee Walking Horse, the true story, as we know it, of the recent events within our ranks that will greatly af­ fect the future of this breed. We have always maintained an editorial policy that the Walking Horse business needed only one author­ ity. . .the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders Associ­ ation. This organization is steeped in tradition that goes back to "The War Between The States.” It is a great organization representing a great breed and it should be the guiding force within our ranks. Peo­ ple from all areas of the country and in all phases of the Walking Horse business should be able to look to the Breeders Association for guidance and com­ petent leadership. For many years, however, this has not been the case. Instead of keeping abreast of the national prob­ lems of our breed, the past leadership of this organ­ ization chose for many years to ignore the wishes of the many and adhere to the dictates of the few. We would like to point out that there have been those who have tried earnestly, if without success, to work for the common interest of the membership. There have been many men who have made every effort to return the leadership to the members, only to find their efforts fruitless. Many past members of the Board of Directors and, indeed, some employees of the Association have done what they could for the membership, knowing that, for the most part, their efforts were in vain. For their efforts they received expulsion and reprimand at the hands of those who would remain in power for their own purposes. The Turning Point In January of 1966 a group of men met in closed quarters in Franklin, Tennessee, to determine what, if anything, could be done to salvage thet Walking Horse business. The starting point, as they saw it, was to make a positive effort to restore the leader­ ship of the Association to the membership. That is to say, to give the members a choice as to whom they wanted to elect as their leaders. A plan was formulated to present to the membership: a separate, opposition slate of officers for 1966. Due to extenu­ ating circumstances, this was the first time in the history of the Breeders Association that a majority could be elected to the board at one time. 40 In establishing a slate of officers that would meet with the approval of the majority of the members, it was mandatory that they present men who repre­ sented various parts of the country as well as dif­ ferent phases of the Walking Horse business. From a final list of over twenty-five men, a slate of officers was chosen that represented the best possible lead­ ership available at the time. Bear in mind what these men were doing: they were risking their very future in the business in order to return the leadership of the Breeders Association to the members for, should they fail, it was a certainty that personal vindication would have been lewied on them that would have forced them out of the business regardless of their activity. The key to the whole program was to convince the membership that the men on the "opposition slate” would better represent the Breeders Association than would the usual slate of officers presented by the old board. A program was organized that would reach the membership through the VOICE of the Tennessee Walking Horse, and by direct mail. This program was designed to get the proxy votes of the membership. If this could have been done, the "opposition slate” could be duly voted into office at the Annual Meet­ ing scheduled for May 28, 1966. The final slate of officers was selected and the pro­ gram was underway,