WCHA E-News - May 7, 2008
Hello to everyone! We hope Spring is a welcome change of weather and scenery for all. For those of us who face the winter,
we were certainly ready! It is nice to see those new young babies out in green pastures. It makes all of us more excited
about the work we are actively engaging in to re-build our industry.
The Executive Committee (EC) and Board of Directors wanted to take time out and review with you what we have been able to
accomplish, in what we think is a very short time. Thanks to this group and a wonderful group of volunteers we have accomplished
a lot and you should be very pleased with our progress. It has only been a few months since we became a formal Association and
we already have a number of programs in place or in the works. As many of you know, it takes a long time to effect significant
change. It is as if we are starting a new business in many ways, so while we talk about all the accomplishments we have made,
please be patient and recognize that if we really want to be 'history in the making' it will take a long time and then, only with
the help of our entire membership.
Perhaps the most significant accomplishment to date is, we think, we have structured the Association to really listen to the membership.
The Executive Committee takes their direction from the Board of Directors and they are your primary voice to provide input.
We believe this sets us apart from many other associations. Of course, we are focused on providing other vehicles with which you
can provide input and volunteer as well, such as our dedicated phone line and the web site, but please reach out to your Board
of Directors or the EC to provide input, get your questions answered or volunteer.
Since the beginning the original Steering Committee which was formed coming out of the Tioga meeting, recognized the effort and
time it was going to take to build a solid foundation and that no one person could do it all and, that working as a team provided
the best opportunity to consider the diverse needs of the membership and be a success. Consequently, it was decided to share the
leadership responsibilities amongst the Executive Committee and decisions are made as a group. The By-laws reflect this, therefore,
there is no President for the first two years and the Executive Committee provides and administers direction from the Board of Directors.
Since the Executive Committee formally became the leadership body we have met weekly by conference calls to coordinate efforts,
pursue strategies, address issues, and have included the Board of Directors on a regular basis. In fact, we met in person in February
during the AQHA Convention to review committee progress against overall direction. The meeting proved to be very successful and
peaked interest and attendance by some AQHA Executive Committee members. The attendees were pleasantly surprised with our progress
and enthused that we were coming together as 'one voice'. They encouraged us to keep moving forward and consider approaching
them regarding affiliation status. As they restructure the Journal they also discussed their interest in working with us on the
Like many of you, we have heard negative rumors and criticism by some relative to lack of perceived progress and/or decisions that
have been made. Our purpose is not to dwell on rumors and criticism but to focus on forward momentum and acting in what we think
is in the best interest of the membership, industry and welfare of the horse. However, we do want to take just a minute to let you
know that all personal agendas were set aside when we assumed our positions on the EC and our pleased to say the same for the
involvement and actions of the Board of Directors and Volunteers to date. Everyone has unselfishly been committed to re-building,
or as some would say rescuing or resuscitating our industry. Everyone involved since our initiation has given willingly of their time,
including accepting the financial burden associated with attending meetings, sponsorships and paying other miscellaneous expenses,
so that we can stay within our Association’s budget. Again, in most cases, the expenses have been paid for out of personal pockets
and at no cost to the WCHA. Our projected budget for '08 is on track. More memberships would help—please contact Jerry Bauerly,
Chairman of the Membership Committee if you have ideas to recommend to increase membership or someone to recommend for membership and
Jerry or one of his Committee members will be happy to assist you. Jerry can be reached at: 320-309-4896 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. All Committee members are listed on the web site and will continue to be maintained and
Let's review the significant items that have been addressed or accomplished, all at NO cost to WCHA, just time given willingly by many.
1) Our non-profit charter was applied for and granted.
2) Our Association has been organized as a business and is staffed by an Administrator with daily customer service
capabilities and a web site, which has taken a significant amount of time and effort.
3) By-laws have been put in place and seem to be working well. That doesn't happen overnight.
4) A Code of Conduct was developed and has been acknowledged and signed by all the Executive Committee and Board of Directors.
5) Thanks to Amy and Tom Grabe’s generous offer, The Equine Chronicle has become an official sponsor. They are providing us
with free advertising and opportunities for educational articles appealing to their subscribers.
6) Many others are volunteering/sponsoring as well. Consult our web site shortly for a list of who has volunteered to sponsor
various needs and what they have sponsored. The list is pretty impressive, considering we have not really solicited sponsorships
in a formal sense.
7) Our Breeders' Program is in the process of being developed. A Committee meeting at the Committee's request and expense was
held in Dallas. Several exciting concepts are in discussion and being explored, including, WCHA support of several breed futurities
in each region to encourage more grassroots participation; a yearling all breeds halter futurity as our Premier event, structured
similarly to the old Solid Gold Futurity; a Premier Stallion Owner Get of Sire competition and a Calcutta to add some fun to the
competition, etc. to just name a few. Plans will be finalized over the next couple of months, with most of the planning and
marketing to take place in ‘08 and launching of events in '09. Look for more news on the Breeders' Program shortly.
8) The Judging and Education Committee has finalized the Judges guidelines, Judges Code of Ethics and the application
process and application. You will find all the materials on the web site. Spread the word. We need all of you, as members,
to encourage those you feel can help the WCHA Mission and Vision to come to life and apply for a WCHA Judges card. This is a critical
element of our success and we plan to be selective and card only those we feel can consistently judge against our new Conformation
Standard and will be objective in their placings.
9) The Standard Committee has finalized what we consider the ideal conformation horse through countless hours of dedication and
tweaking. That in itself, when you are trying to consolidate the opinions of several professional and respected horsemen into an
accepted and common concept, is a tremendous task. We think we are there and the visual will be available on the web site for all
to see shortly. This Committee's work is only half done, now they have the task of taking the visual and turning it into an
educational narrative explanation for the membership to use when breeding or purchasing and for the judges to understand and utilize
in developing consistent and fair placings.
10) The Existing Events Committee has been busy getting ready for participation in the AQHA Regional Events. Yes, at the membership
request, we have moved forward, ahead of our 2008 plans, and are putting on sanctioned classes at 5 Regional events and the Texas
Classic. The membership has been generous in their sponsorships of these events. Due to their sponsorships, we are holding these
events at little cost to WCHA. The Existing Events Committee has had lots to do to get ready, especially with regard to developing
the infrastructure to be able to hold the Events, things like, entry forms, announcer scripts, sponsorship banners, payout schedules,
competition guidelines, etc., they don’t just happen! And oh yes, once again, in addition to the Sponsorship Volunteers, Professional
Horsemen/women have willingly given of their time not only to assist in organizing but also judging and putting on Mentoring
Clinics at each event.
11) As mentioned previously, we had a productive and well attended meeting at the AQHA Convention with positive support and comments
from both our membership in attendance and AQHA officials who had an opportunity to attend.
12) Letters have been sent to all Western Stock Horse associations requesting alliance partnerships. Interest to date has been
very positive amongst the Paint, Palomino and Quarter Horse associations. This is typically a long process and we don't expect formal
alliance partnerships to form in the near-term, but the fact that each association has shown interest is a positive sign and we will
keep working to make it happen as there are benefits to all with these alliances.
All of these activities have been done to unify the conformation enthusiasts throughout the country. WCHA does not discriminate amongst
the Western Stock Horse breeds. We are organized to unify conformation horse enthusiasts to eventually provide 'one voice' to address
specific issues and to grow more active show participation as well as increase breeding, which hopefully will result in more fun and
sales for all.
We've heard people say they don't expect to win all the time, but want to be judged fairly. A consistent standard and objectivity are
both key to our success. Under our competition structure we believe that when our accredited judges place a class and then have to
be prepared to orally provide reasons justifying their placings against the conformation standard, it will put a whole new perspective
on judging the animal as it is and without consideration to the exhibitor. We originally talked and have supported this idea from
the beginning. The WCHA wants to be the first to demonstrate we can provide a level playing field. A conformation standard and
objectivity will be critical to this demonstration and we are committed as an organization to get there and create opportunity for all.
Our new competition eligibility criteria is aimed at providing various levels of competition for not only the exhibitor, but also
for the horse. This eligibility structure should make it much more competitive and fair for the people that want to become
involved and who are initially concerned about putting their toe in the water and competing against experienced exhibitors and horses.
Remember, contrary to what some continue to say, the WCHA is not just an Oklahoma and Texas association. It is your Association.
This Association is representative and wants to be representative of all of the Conformation enthusiasts throughout the country and
eventually worldwide. We have reached out throughout the U.S. and intend at some point to have worldwide reach, for our EC members,
Board of Directors and Committee members. Further, we have a diverse group involved from Breeders, Owners and Professionals as well
as member involvement at all competition levels. It is through this varied involvement and input that we can re-build our industry
by creating a level playing field which will increase enthusiasm, breeding, sales and allow us to put some fun back into showing,
mentorship, and develop a unified voice to address specific issues with our breed associations through proper stewardship for
both the horse and exhibitor.
We want and need your positive support. The fact is, we are working very hard to solidify the foundation of our programs.
We want 1) to become Alliance partners with the Breed associations, 2) to have a successful Breeders' Program, 3) to create a fun
atmosphere by educating participants and members, 4) to create that level playing field, 5) increase breeding and sales, and 6) to
get to the point that the breed associations want to employ our guidelines and principles because they are the best in the industry.
Ideally, we want them to look to us for advice and guidance relative to the Conformation Horse. We want to set the industry Standard
and be the Role Model for others to follow!
This is just an update of some of the things we are working on. There are many other issues that are and will be addressed as time allows. Strategically we are working on improved ways to manage the association and disseminating information to our members. We recognize we need more frequent and diverse ways of communicating and our pledge to you is to get there. There is plenty of work for all. Let us know where your interest lies and we’ll put you to work. Again, the best way to do that is to contact a Board of Director in your Region, contact an EC member or, call the WCHA office at 580-759-3959. We want your input and
Can we count on your support? Get on board and reach out to those you know and help grow our membership!
WCHA Executive Committee