The NWHA has helped wonderful, kind, athletic horses, to be taken away from inhumane treatment, and give them an opportunity to be shown in venues, where their natural talents and great dispositions can be appreciated.
It also affords riders of all abilities, and disabilities, to enjoy these great horses, whether they are ridden on the trail, in the show ring, or in their versatility events like dressage, trail obstacle, reining, jumping, etc. Thus NWHA is providing opportunities for a great breed of horses and people of all kinds of abilities to enjoy them.
Review from Guidestar
NWHA has definitely changed the overall image of the Tennessee Walking Horse for the better. Before NWHA, there were few horse shows that one could exhibit their horse and know they were on a level playing field. NWHA has changed that, and given the TWH owners a venue to show with respect, sound practices, and horses who are not in pain and who have better conformation due to more selective breeding practices to get back to that original natural "walking" horse instead of the pacey big lick horses. There is a huge youth membership in this organization, and versatility of the horses owned by these youth is amazing to watch at shows. I love taking my students to shows now, they aren't exposed to unethical training practices at NWHA events.
Review from Guidestar
A 'horse nut' since a toddler, as a young adult I riding smooth-gaited horses. I've advocated and tried to promote the Walking Horse since 1987 (24 years).
Upon entering the show world as an owner/exhibitor (about 20 years ago) I learned of the routine burning of horses' legs chemically. This was one method of several to help the 'trainer' succeed. Clearly, I was a novice!
Over time, I learned that basic cruelty was commonly accepted and expected in that show world. People were driven by the desire for public and/or professional status. I learned too much of various ways to cause pain in the animal.
The initial members of NWHA began organizing those who cared for their animals humanely, regardless of show performance. The horse was expected to move freely and naturally, With No Pain.
My best advice to NWHA is to stay true to these roots. Remember the simplicity of the natural horse. Promote That Horse. Train judges who grade by this standard. Train judges to grade Down any horse performing a gait not normally seen in a horse in the pasture.
Form a committee/s to describe the marketable assets of this horse. To describe the existing market for the horse, future hopes of expanding this market, and ways to make this breed a trustworthy business investment for trainers/breeders/ others in the industry.
Review from Guidestar
The National Walking Horse Association changed an industry. My Wife and I were months away from quitting as Professional Horse Trainers because our industry had become so corrupt. Horses were suffering and people were cheating by paying off judges to receive higher placements during the World Championships. If the national news media covered the Walking Horse, it was usually talking about the horrible abuse of horses found within our industry. NWHA stopped this abuse. They created a no tolerance industry, where if you were found to be abusing horses you were suspended from competition for life. Over the last decade, the signs of abuse are almost forgotten and the show ring has become a friendly place again because the abusers left and the membership united against them. NWHA taught us that no government agency, like the USDA or the Humane Society, can stop abuse by themselves, it takes the public or the membership of an organization like ours to unite against it. You must point a finger at the abuser and call their actions out for what they are. The National Walking Horse Association and its members chose to do this and save a breed of horse that suffered under horrible training and showing abuse. NWHA now has 8 of the 10 largest Walking Horse show under its supervision and MacGregor Stables is proud to be a part of this movement and association. Our business is doing great and we just finished representing the Walking Horse at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington Kentucky last fall, which is the largest all horse competition in the world and the first time that it was held in the USA. MacGregor Stables also became the most winning team in the Walking Horse industry because we chose to believe in a new idea, horses could win while showing sound in a protected environment. Thank you, NWHA, for all that you did to save our amazing breed of horse and congratulations for being accepted into the United States Equestrian Federation as an associate member.