The Walking Horse Trainers Association, Inc. was established in 1968 under the first President Mr. Vic Thompson.
The purpose of forming this non-profit organization was to promote and develop activities on behalf of and in interest of the protection of the members of their Association.
The Walking Horse Trainers Association began with approximately 200 members in their general membership. Today they have reached an astonishing 850 members.
This Association concentrates on the positive aspects of the Walking Horse Industry and offers its support to many worthwhile projects. Some of these include:
A. NATIONAL WALKING HORSE TRAINERS SHOW:
B. SUPPORTIVE PROJECTS:
In January 1992 the endorsement of the Show Horse Support Fund, Inc. became effective. The purpose of this fund is to establish an emergency legal defense fund and to promote the Tennessee Walking Horse and Racking Horse breeds and to lobby appropriate governmental agencies relating to the rules and regulations promulgated by such agencies as to such horses.
C. SCHOLARSHIP FUND:
D. WHTA YOUTH COUNCIL:
E. WHTA AUXILIARY:
In 1971 the Trainer’s Wives Auxiliary was formed with 43 members. Their first President to reign was Mrs. Mary Ruth Motes. Goals were to raise money for the Trainer’s Association with all fundraisers and projects to be approved by the WHTA. They held the First Annual Money Tree Classic in 1985 and today this show still exist with record breaking entries each year. They soon began to realize that an award for Auxiliary Member of the Year should be given. So in 1990 the first recipient to receive this award was Mrs. Dee Cantrell. Applications may be obtained from the WHTA Auxiliary Secretary.
F. RECOGNITION OF EXCELLENCE:
The Industry began in 1968 with the establishment of the Trainer of the Year Award. This selection process includes such attributes as: Positive attitude, team player, goal oriented, dedication and motivation.. In 1981 members who were eligible to vote, voted for his/her choice for Assistant Trainer of the Year. This award continues today and is kept secret until the announcement at the WHTA Annual Banquet in December. Horse of the Year Awards is the most exciting award given in honor of the beauty and grace of the Tennessee Walking Horse. This special recognition is not only for the horse, but also for the trainer and owners as well.
In 1995 a Youth Council Group was established under the direction of Mr. Benny Johnson. The first meeting was held March 25, 1995 during the National Walking Horse Trainers Show. Their goal for the future was and still is to learn responsibility for showing and exhibiting which includes versatility. They have several worthwhile projects, which include the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital Toy Drive, helping others in time of need and an annual Tack Box Giveaway. Their membership stands at approximately 100+ members. Applications and membership cards are available at no cost from the Walking Horse Trainers Association.The Young generation is very important to the Walking Horse Trainers Association. To support the educational efforts of those in need, in 1989 a yearly scholarship fund was established. This very proactive venture has proved most worthwhile in helping our future generation progress. So far there have been 23 recipients to be awarded. In 2002 - 2003 the Walking Horse Trainers will once again offer a scholarship(s). Applications may be obtained through the WHTA office and deadline is always July 1.The Walking Horse Trainers Association has been involved in several Community projects as well. Some listed below: 4-H Youth Judging Project, Co-Sponsors of the Annual Youth Celebration Dance, donations to the Bedford County Medical Center Pediatric Wing, Bemis Pencil Country Classic golf tournament which benefits children with developmental delays and the latest Silver Bullets. This annual event is held each year in March. It is the greatest funding asset to the Walking Horse Trainers Association. This event has made contributions to several different charities such as: NAHRA, Feed the Children and Healthy Families. In 2002 a class was added for Walking Horse exhibitors overcoming obstacles. This class was introduced to the Association by an organization known as Silver Bullets, which works with terminally ill individuals.